Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Cancel Culture: "Mickey Mouse"

'Cancel culture' vultures are now circling Disney cartoon character 'Mickey Mouse', that according to the book "Birth of an Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation" by Nicholas Sammond, was created to be the most popular ‘Jim Crow’ minstrel of all time:

"Commercial animation in the United States didn’t borrow from blackface minstrelsy, nor was it simply influenced by it, " writes Sammond.

"American animation is actually in many of its most enduring incarnations an integral part of the ongoing iconographic and performative traditions of 'blackface'. 

"'Mickey Mouse' isn't like a minstrel; he is a minstrel."

Sammond insists the cartoon short "Steamboat Willie", the debut of Mickey Mouse in 1928... a classic example of the popular singing 'black minstrel' of the time.

In another cartoon short, "Mickey’s Mellerdrammer" (1933), 'Mickey' and girlfriend 'Minnie', wear the white gloves worn by black servants, performing their version of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" with a cast of cartoon animals in blackface. 

Rather than burnt cork, Mickey uses an exploded firework to apply his blackface, topped off with an Al Jolson impression of "Mammy".

Click the images to enlarge...