Unpacking this abomination could fill a master’s thesis, so we’ll just focus on the song for now. You know it well. “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay / My, oh, my, what a wonderful day / Plenty of sunshine headin' my way / Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!”
But you might not know that it was from “Song of the South.” And that’s because Disney wants you to forget about this racist, trope-filled disaster released in 1946 and somehow re-released in the ’80s due to a major glitch in the matrix. Worse, however, is that Disney still capitalizes on parts of it.
Slate points out that the song is synonymous with Disney itself, and the characters still exist on Splash Mountain rides at its theme parks. And in his book “Disney’s Most Notorious Film,” author Jason Sperb writes that the film is “one of Hollywood’s most resiliently offensive racist texts.”
What is perhaps most astonishing about “Song of the South” is that, according to the Slate article, Disney took pains to try to make the movie less racist, even inviting NAACP President Walter White to California to oversee script revisions (though that meeting never occurred and probably should have).