Disney's Whitewashing of Pocahontas

In 1995, Disney produced a romanticized version of relationships between early Native

Americans and Europeans in the film, Pocahontas. It is controversial whether this movie was

intended to enlighten children about the beginning of America in a story-like manner, or a way to

conceal a dark past and brainwash future generations with this illusion of a happy beginning to

the United States of America. In order to make the Pocahontas and John Smith love myth

suitable for children, it is understandable that Disney needed to alter the story. However,

Disney's version of the Pocahontas myth is not only altered for the sake of violence, racial

content, and ethnic content, it is also altered to be more appealing to Americans and to agree with

their beliefs and culture. The film's purpose is controversial because there is a strong support for

the European settlers and a lack of Native American culture shown. In addition, the little Native

American culture that is shown, is not shown accurately. As a result, children across the nation

are learning a distorted early American history through Pocahontas and sugar-coated songs

taught in grammar school that share the same message.

The most significant factor that a historical movie for children should have as opposed to

an entertaining movie, is historical accuracy. This way, the film will be educational and will not

give the audience false information to soak in. If the purpose of Pocahontas is in fact to educate,

the film can be misconstrued as a brainwashing mechanism to hide the violence between two

cultures because it gives a false interpretation of the Europeans and Native Americans's

relationship. The reason for leaving the physical violence out of the...

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... whether European and Native

American, went through in order to gain a civil interaction with one another. By preparing

American youth with the United States history that does not have gaps, they will be better

prepared to comprehend when these topics are discussed more thoroughly in their higher levels

of education.

Works Cited

Borthaiser, Nóra (2008). A Whole New World [Electronic Version]. Americana: E-journal of

American Studies in Hungary, 4, 5-5.

Dundes, Lauren (2001). Disney's Modern Heroine Pocahontas: Revealing Age-Old Gender

Stereotypes and Role Discontinuity Under a Facade of Liberation [Electronic Version].

Giamo, Michael. Pocahontas. Disney, 1995. Film.

Smith, John. From The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles. The

Bedford Anthology of American Literature. Bedford: Boston, 2008: P. 110-119.
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