Friday, December 6, 2013


Political Correctness




Some folks, I suspect mostly white liberals, forced Walt Disney's company to shelve Song of the South, otherwise known as Uncle Remus Tales.

According to one source I found online, Joel Chandler Harris, the "author" of the Uncle Remus stories simply recorded morality tales told by slaves and ex-slaves, black Aesops if you will. According to Snopes (

Harris grew up in Georgia during the Civil War, spent a lifetime compiling and publishing the tales told to him by former slaves. These stories — many of which Harris learned from an old black man he called "Uncle George" — were first published as columns in The Atlanta Constitution and were later syndicated nationwide and published in book form. Harris's Uncle Remus was a fictitious old slave and philosopher who told entertaining fables about Br'er Rabbit and other woodland creatures in a Southern Black dialect.

Like Aesop, the Uncle Remus tales use animals to deliver the message.

The 1946 movies Song of the South included a series of "firsts," including the first combination of human actors and animated characters. The humans included James Baskett as Uncle Remus, Disney's first live actor ever hired by Disney. (See for a list of all the characters in the movie.)

I saw Song of the South as a child and thought it wonderful; like most kids, I went around singing Zippidy do dah ; I still sing it many years later.

TO THE POINT, while the movie is available only overseas, you might be able to find a CD with four Uncle Remus tales. (The CD, if anyone is interested, is called Brer Rabbit and the Wonderful Tar Baby. There also are a number of books with Uncle Remus tales; check your local library Reference Desk.)

My Local Lending Library, hereafter LLL, had access to the CD and several Uncle Remus books. "Access" since the books were found in other libraries and shipped, albeit indirectly, to my LLL. I've been getting books this way for years.

The interesting thing about the CD is not the stores but the person telling the tales and the person providing the "mood" music.

Two gentlemen of - ahh - color are Danny Glover who reads the takes and Taj Mahal who provides the background music. (The "weasel words" are used since, in my lifetime, they have been called negro, colored, Afro-American, and black; I'm not sure what the term-du-jour will be when this is read; hopefully, "just folk.")

If, then, Song of the South and the Uncle Remus tales are so offensive to people of color, why are these two famous people involved with the CD?

Granted, "different strokes for different folks"; when the replica of the slave ship La Amistad was offered to Tampa FL, the locals rejected it; the folks of New Haven CN gladly accepted the chance to host the ship. (Read about the boat at - among other sites -

Mr. Glover, who voices all of the characters on the CD, does does not use " Southern Black dialect" - no "dis 'n dat" but the story comes through just fine.

Still, I think maybe some folks are a little too sensitive to dialects; they are too quick to assume they are a "put down" yet those accents are very much a part of Americana. I have an accent, my wife has an accent, my neighbors all have accents; those accents make life interesting, colorful, and as long as they are mimiced in a kind way, no one is offended.

I think Disney's capitulating to a few, most likely Caucasian, liberals is a pity. Kids today need the morality lessons of Uncle Remus as much, if not more, than I did when I was a youngster.

Maybe I'll ask some of my acquaintenance overseas if they can get a DVD copy of the movie. My grand-daughter deserves to see it with her grandfather.

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