A little departure from the ordinary, but it all ties in, I promise.
I went to see the movie The Lorax this past Friday. It’s a heartwarming cartoon about the environment – based on the book of the same name by Dr. Seuss.
Great story, great message, great animation. Whether or not you have kids it’s a worthwhile way to spend $13 and a couple of hours.
But that’s not what I want to write about.
A few things struck me, diversity-wise (see, it ties in).
Firstly. All the black people had Afros! A welcome change from the straight flowing hair we sometimes see on people of colour in the movies. It’s a cartoon, but still.
Secondly, and what bothered me enough to blog about it: Why is it necessary to have a character we laugh at, just because of who they are? A character whose sole purpose is entertainment at their own expense. This time it was a large character. A bear, to be exact. But he fit the damaging and hurtful stereotypes of people who are of larger size: he ate the most marshmallows, he was the slowest, and he could never keep up. It made me sad that in a movie with such a great theme (and meant for kids), “the fat kid” had to be the one to add some laughs – for all the wrong reasons.
And just like that, someone gets put aside for who they are – and the rest of us have one more opportunity to reinforce the stereotypes.
copyright 2012 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion