I just picked up the Disney Treasures: More Silly Symphonies, and I thought I'd share some thoughts from Leonard Maltin as he presented them:
He then went on to site specific actors, gags, and characters that would have been commonly caricatured. He concluded with:Originally Posted by Maltin
I thought this was interesting for a few reasons. First off, regardless of your stance on Song of the South you cannot deny that the Disney company HAS swept it under the rug and tried to pretend that it does not exist outside their pocketbook. It's interesting then, that they would take a stance like stated above on certain cartoons, but then take the opposite stance on Song of the South.These gags certainly make us feel uncomfortable today, as they should, we’ve come a long way since the 1930s. But, rather than sweep these cartoons under the rug and pretend they didn’t exist, I think it’s healthier to show them intact and discuss they way things were and the way people were perceived in years gone by.”
It's also important to note that this was commonplace. SotS is not the only movie that can be racially offensive. Gone With the Wind for example has often fallen under similar criticism, yet more often then not it is viewed as a masterpiece.
As for the other Disney cartoons that has atrociously faced censorship (Aladdin, Pocahontas), Pocahontas itself hold some interesting bonus features on the DVD. For instance, one interview with Russell Means (a Sioux himself, who voice Powhatan...Pocahontas’s Father) states that Pocahontas is one of the most accurate depictions of a Native American culture in film up to that time (1995). Side note:
Basically, my point is there is great work being done in these films, if people educated themselves on the issues, culture, time period (both of the movie and of when the movie was made). More often than not when people take offense to something in the media, it is based on a misunderstanding or NO understanding at all.Originally Posted by imdb
All that being said, I think Song of the South should be released, preferably under the Disney Treasures line with an in depth look at the film as history. Rather than ignoring the issues, it would be better the embrace them and move PAST them to acknowledge how far we've come as a culture, and how far we still have to go.