Walt Disney: the Quintessential American

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Disney: The
Becky Tashkulova
Mr. Brown
American History
25 May 2011
Walt Disney: The Quintessential American

You’re riding a rollercoaster in a Disney theme park in Orlando, Florida. You look around at the incredible architecture and imagination that is flowing throughout the park. You start wondering if your childhood would be the same without the man behind all this greatness. Walt Disney was a man full of charisma, joyfulness, and positivity. He never backed down or felt discouraged after failing. He was a man who knew what he wanted and ended up getting it; he was a go-getter. His legacy is celebrated every year by the making of new Disney movies and he is appreciated throughout the world.

If you ask an average person who is the quintessential American, his or her response would be someone like George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, or Abraham Lincoln. Although those are great examples, they don’t portray the same traits as America would. This paper will show how Walt Disney is the quintessential American. Just like America, Walt Disney is prejudiced, catalytic, and persistent. Many people use “racist” in a wrong form. To be racist is to keep one race from doing something; while Walt Disney never did that. He was prejudiced against other races, which means unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group. Although there is no hard proof to show that Walt Disney was prejudiced, he did show it in his creations, or so we think (Gabler). "The Three Little Pigs" featured the wolf dressed as a Jewish peddler. The American Jewish Congress protested that the characterization was so "vile, revolting and unnecessary as to constitute a direct affront to the Jews." According to Walt Disney Archives, Walt referred to Italians as "garlic eaters" and used a variety of crude terms for blacks. To this day, many critics assume that the crows in Dumbo are shown as stereotypes. But Walt was no closet racist. At home he always preached racial, religious and ethnic tolerance to his two daughters. Under his supervision, Disney studios was inhospitable to many minorities, few of whom said to worked there, said that they were virtually verboten on the screen (Gabler). Everyone sees America as this “welcoming” and “interracial” country, but no one remembers all the terrible and hypocritical things that America has done in its history. Some would say America is paradoxal, or hypocritical, or contradictory, and while all those words do describe America, no one seems to describe America as prejudiced.

The Chinese Exclusion Act was brought up in Congress due to the overflowing population of Chinese in the United States. The US needed workers to build the Transcontinental Railroad, so they brought in the Chinese to build it. After it was all done, no one knew what to do with the Chinese that were left in the country and the incoming ones. So Congress decided to pass the Chinese Exclusion Act, which permitted the Chinese entering the US starting from 1882.

Congress passed the National Origins Act in 1924 because of the crazy amount of immigrants moving to the US. It excluded any Eastern and Southern Europeans and almost all Asians and other nonwhites from entering the US. This act instituted admission quotas by using the 1890 census to determine the population of a particular nationality group; the government then only allowed 2 percent of that population into the nation.

After the Japanese hit Pearl Harbor in 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt had issued an order to “punish” all the Japanese living in the United States. The order gave the military broad powers to ban any Japanese citizen from a fifty to sixty mile wide coastal area stretching from Washington state to California and extending into southern Arizona. The order also authorized transporting these citizens to assembly centers, or concentration camps, hastily set up and governed by...
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