Monday, March 13, 2017

Teaching the Next Generation about Race

The movie Zootopia brilliantly addresses issues of race and prejudice. Part of the movie’s effectiveness is due to it being recent and coming out in 2016, and it being a movie for children. Making a movie for kids is an effective form of speaking to the next generation. Zootopia is a movie about animals and a society that seems perfect but is actually riddled with segregation between species and prejudice against types of animals. The film then shows how the prejudices and “speciesism” is detrimental to society and hurts the city. This movies works to promote breaking stereotypes by showing how the society is dysfunctional and is held back by its racial discrimination. The movie promotes open mindsets and mentalities that see past race.  

To make a strong argument Zootopia separates animals into groups that are treated certain ways. The main Character, Judy Hops, is a rabbit that dreams of being a police officer. Others laugh and some try to pull her away from that dream because there has never been a rabbit police officer, while there also being no law against it. This conflict shows how prejudice can hold people back. The message that the movie is trying to break is “because society thinks you cannot do something you can’t”. Another character, Nick Wilde, was bullied growing up and discriminated against because he was a fox. Nick said ‘If the whole world is only going to see a fox as untrustworthy there is no point in trying to be anything else"  Zootopia uses the backstories of many characters to show how hard it is for people (or animals) to break out of the group or away from the stereotype they were born into. The movie elaborates further on this by resolving the conflict in the movie through acceptance and progressiveness. The movie speaks to its younger audience. Zootopia shows how treating others fairly and judging people on the content of their character is the best way to create positive outcomes in dysfunctional societies and to progress towards justice and equality.

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