Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Mexican Mice and A Wise Black Jack Ass
I just took my five-year old son yesterday to see the new film, Barnyard. I think my husband and I laughed more than he did. I'm not saying it was that funny, it's just that much of the humor went way over my baby's head. And what's more... SPOILER ALERT...The death of a certain pivotal bovine in the cast, I thought was way unnecessary for a kiddie flick.
But that's not why we're here, to discuss dead cows. Really, I just want to ask the question, why in this movie does the mouse, yes the clever little rodent, have to be Mexican? And why is the wise old donkey played by a wise old Black man( Danny Glover)? And you wanna know what other colored folk/barnyard animals make the cast? Wanda Sykes gets to play the wise-talking, best-friend, supporting-role cow to Courtney Cox's bovine beauty. And then there's one rotund, rapping, Jamaican...Wait for it... RAT!
Is it true, even in the cartoon world, that colored people have to play supporting roles? Even when they are disguised as cute and furry little creatures, are they destined to play rodents and mules? Why? Does a Mexican voice just sound mouse like? Did somebody hear Danny Glover speak and think, 'Yes! He's a Jack Ass! Why not a Horse? A Horse commands respect and walks with pride, a donkey is basically the slave of the barnyard. Maybe Speedy Gonzalez and Donkey from Shrek (AKA Eddie Murphy) are to blame. Perhaps all casting directors think a cartoon mouse must have that Spanish accent or he won't be believable? And any animated donkey on the big screen must be able to speak Ebonics or else it just won't feel right. I don't know, I'm just guessing here.
I'm not a psychologist or even a sociologist, so maybe none of this matters. Most kids probably won't even realize what's going on here. They might just take it as a lesson in diversity --Even animals have different accents or something like that. And at least they allowed people of color to be in the film right? So this is a positive thing right? Keep hope alive.
And that's today's Meltingpot Moment