Below is my first draft for the essay with some references I wanted to possibly use
My essay will discuss how my discipline, Animation, responds to issues relating to society, as ‘animation is an integral part of society, and it’s seemingly magical hold on the human mind will forever captivate and excite the imagination with new possibilities (Nkosi Anthony, wordpress.com, accessed 29th December 2015).
The lecture I found most interesting and which influenced my choice of theme was by Sharon Davies, and it covered a history and evolution of dance, and how it spread throughout the world. This lecture was centred on society, however it can also be linked to the other themes, such as movement and body, as well as technology. My interest spurs from the evolution of the Charleston to the Lindy hop, which began in Harlem, New York, however, it wasn’t until after the opening of the Savoy Ballroom that Lindy Hop got its name and a home (www.savoystyle.com, accessed 29th December 2015).
Although the savoy wasn’t segregated, it was in an African American area of New York, and so was mainly populated by people from the area. Racism was extremely common at this time, and it wasn’t excluded from the Lindy hop either. Old movie clips are great inspiration for modern day lindy hoppers, however the context of the videos and the way they are dancing is extremely important. Black people were portrayed in ways that white people were comfortable with: blacks were seen as musical, entertaining, athletic (even animalistic), outrageous (even wild), not-so-smart, and happy-go-lucky. These video clips help us to understand that what we are seeing is a manifestation of the dance infused by racism, and is a product made to confirm white people’s beliefs about black people (thesocietypages.org, accessed 29th December 2015).
I am particularly interested in animations made during the 1930’s and 40’s, which was considered the Golden Age of Animation, and how they were extremely racist (museumofuncutfunk.com, accessed 29th December 2015). The content of animations at this time is due to the influence which society had, and although it is shocking to us now to think that it was accepted, at the time it was completely normal.
My conclusion will discuss how my findings over the course of the essay will help to inform my future practice as I will have a greater understanding of this time period in animation and how racism in animation was perceived, both at the time and in today’s society.
There is a lot of issues and questions around racism, and there always will be. Warner Brothers studios make a very good point at the start of their animations from this time, this was obviously added later, but it is very important. It is important for us to see these animations as it can help us to understand so much more about the medium itself as well as society at the time, However we must remember that these animations are ‘products of their time’, and they are not representative of the views this company, or indeed myself, have of society now.
How are African Americans represented in animations during the 1930’s and 40’s, and in todays society.
How do they get away with it?
Target audience is children, and it is teaching them and showing them that racism is a good thing
One example is Fantasia, a very popular Disney film from 1940. Not many people know that when it was first released it contained a lot of gender expectations for men and women, which can be seen in all of the centaurs ending up in colour-matched heterosexual pairs (thesocietypages.org, accessed 29th December 2015) as well as racial imagery, in the character Sunflower from the Pastoral Symphony segment of the film, who is depicted as being a hybrid of a young black girl and a donkey. She is shown performing duties as a servant to the other centaurettes who are depicted in a wide variety of pastel colors (www.quora.com, accessed 29th December 2015).
The films controversy comes from the censorship and these scenes being deleted in the 1960’s, although there is much debate over whether the character should have been removed or not. Some say that she should be censored in order to move away from the attitude of depicting black people as negative stereotypes.Whereas, others say that she shouldn’t be censored because such portrayals were very common in animated films of the time, and that removing them is the same as saying that they never existed in the first place (www.quora.com, accessed 29th December 2015).
I believe that both of these statements are relevant, and that although it is a very sensitive topic to talk about, it is important for these original animations to be kept and studied, because they represent the views of society during the time, and they can help animators, as well as others, to understand the history of animation and how it affects and is effected by society.
Racism and globalisation is a hard topic to fully understand, because there is no clear answer. It is possible that globalisation in the sense of migration decreases racism, as the more people are exposed to eachother, the more they will gradually become accepting. However, at the same time, global slavery was a type of globalisation which encouraged racism. Racism in society towards African Americans influenced animation during that time period, and still does to this day, although in animations now we generally try to avoid anything that would be considered offensive to consumers.
Whether Americans like it or not, cartoons of the 30s and 40s, considered the Golden Age of Animation, were extremely racist. http://museumofuncutfunk.com/2013/02/02/racism-in-animation/
Animation has changed the way people view movies in general. No longer is the medium simply just people in front of a camera. http://hisotryofanimation.weebly.com/how-has-it-changed-society.html
The impact and influence of the animation industry as well as its principles and techniques pertaining to character portrayal and story conveyance today permeates every facet of our daily lives, at times in ways that many people least suspect.
Animation is an integral part of society, and it’s seemingly magical hold on the human mind will forever captivate and excite the imagination with new possibilities. https://nkosianthonyseniorsemanimationcapstone2014.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/the-amazing-evolution-of-animation-and-its-importance-in-modern-society/
black people were portrayed in ways that white people were comfortable with: blacks were musical, entertaining, athletic (even animalistic), outrageous (even wild), not-so-smart, happy-go-lucky, etc http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/07/05/race-appropriation-lindy-hop-how-to-honor-our-heroes/
I also need to explore parts of the essay in more detail.