Disney World criticized over ‘racist’ efficiency by Texas college students

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Disney World is coming underneath hearth for internet hosting what activists referred to as a racist depiction of Native American tradition throughout a efficiency by Texas highschool college students on the Magic Kingdom this week.

The criticism comes as Disney continues to take care of backlash over its early silence on Florida’s so-called “don’t say gay” invoice authorised by the Legislature.

Disney Marching Band

Officials at Walt Disney World say a efficiency by a visiting Texas drill crew that used American Indian stereotypes, together with chants of “scalp ’em,” doesn’t mirror the resort’s values. A Disney spokeswoman stated Friday that the corporate regretted the Tuesday present by the Indianettes from Port Neches-Grove High School. John Raoux/Associated Press, file

Performing in a marching band showcase Tuesday, members of the Indianettes drill crew from Port Neches-Groves High School in Port Neches, Texas, wore fringed outfits and yelled “scalp ’em, Indians, scalp ’em” close to the doorway to the Magic Kingdom, a second captured on video. The phrase is a part of the college’s “Cherokee” combat music.

Tara Houska, an Ojibwe tribal lawyer and founding father of the Giniw Collective, a Native American advocacy group, posted the footage to Twitter on Thursday night time, calling out the college and Disney.

“Any Natives who attend (Port Neches-Groves High School) should probably just accept their classmates dehumanizing them cuz ‘tradition’, right?” She wrote. “Shame on (Disney) hosting this. Nostalgic racism is RACISM.”

Photos and movies of the efficiency have been publicly posted on social media accounts affiliated with Port Neches-Groves High School, and video of one other a part of the parade was streamed stay by its journalism membership Tuesday.

By Friday afternoon, the membership’s social media pages had been deleted or made personal. Representatives for Port Neches-Groves High School didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Houska stated others who’ve emailed the college have obtained a response that it was “terribly disheartened by the disrespect with which they were treated at Walt Disney World in Florida.”

Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler launched a press release saying that Disney regretted the efficiency.

“The live performance in our park did not reflect our core values, and we regret it took place,” it learn. ”It was not in step with the audition tape the college supplied and we now have instantly put measures in place so this isn’t repeated.”

Though particular measures weren’t talked about, Disney is reviewing its processes and the opposite teams scheduled to carry out to make sure an identical incident doesn’t occur once more, Wahler stated.

A Disney worker requested the group to take away headdresses previous to their efficiency, and the chants heard within the parade weren’t a part of the college’s rehearsal both, she stated. Photos and movies of the Port Neches-Groves High School drill crew present them carrying headdresses in previous performances.

In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Houska stated Tuesday’s efficiency included dancers performing gestures used to stereotype Native American communities and that no person stepped in.

“You see not only this really obviously racist chant being said and a bunch of presumably non-Native people wearing fringe and putting their hands over their mouths and doing ‘war whoops’ or whatever. There’s that, and then there’s all the people that are cheering them on … who are tacitly saying, ‘This is okay,’ ” she stated.

In current years, Disney has more and more denounced insensitive and inaccurate depictions of different cultures in its content material and launched a brand new range and inclusion initiative.

Just 0.3 p.c of Disney’s complete workforce is Native American or Alaskan Native, and these employees make up 0.2 p.c of Disney’s govt crew, information from the corporate present.

Some older motion pictures on its streaming service, Disney+, now embrace disclaimers that the movies characteristic “negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures.”

For instance, the corporate warns that 1953′s Peter Pan exhibits Indigenous folks “in a stereotypical manner” and refers to them utilizing a racial slur.

In 2021, the Jungle Cruise journey on the Magic Kingdom was up to date to take away colonialist misrepresentations of African cultures and embrace extra numerous characters. Construction on the anticipated re-theme of Splash Mountain, impressed by the 1946 film “Song of the South,” has not began within the park because it was introduced in June 2020, however officers have stated it’s nonetheless going ahead.

Houska stated she believes the corporate gave “overt racism” a platform in permitting the efficiency to occur and didn’t explicitly denounce it of their assertion afterward.

“(It) doesn’t actually get at the root of the issue, which is you have a team called the ‘Indianettes,’ who you knew normally wear headdresses and who were not allowed to wear their fake headdresses but were allowed to use their chant,” she stated. “So that seems really disingenuous on Disney’s part.”

Houska, who co-founded Not Your Mascots, a company combating towards the usage of stereotypical Native American mascots in sports activities, needs Disney to take additional motion.

“It would be a lot more believable that they are willing to carry out these values if they unequivocally condemn this behavior, acknowledge their mistake and continue to try to not only increase representation, but prevent something like this from happening again,” she stated.

The National Congress of American Indians, a nonprofit representing tribal governments and communities, just lately counted 1,929 Ok-12 colleges that use “Native ‘themed’ school mascots” throughout the United States. A consultant for the nonprofit was not out there for an interview Friday.

Such stereotypes and depictions are dangerous to Native American folks, particularly youngsters, they usually additional dishonor communities which were traditionally marginalized, Houska stated.

“People just have no understanding of living Native people,” she stated. “They assume that we’re nonetheless these sort of ‘savage’ characters from the previous or the remnants of these folks, like that we’re not residing and respiratory communities that exist at present.

“And to call Native people overly sensitive, given our resilience and survival of multiple attempts at genocidal acts to wipe us out, that’s simply not the case,” she added. “We’re saying we deserve to be at least treated like humans. We’re not mascots.”

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