Sample Paper on Racial Stereotyping in Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs

Sample Paper on Racial Stereotyping in Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs

Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs animated film attracted as much recognition as it did criticism. The Warner Brothers cartoon is a parody on a 1937 Walt Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The short story is one of the most offensive animated films as it reinforces racial stereotyping and promotes a negative image of black people.

Despite being a seemingly harmless satire on the fairy tale, the film resorts to racial prejudice about people of color. Its characters are all black, including So White who, however, appears to feel white inside. Therefore, the film conveys the idea that in reality, black people wish to be white. Another racial imagery example is the way the characters speak and behave. They are shown as illiterate and poorly educated since they mispronounce words and talk funny all the time. So White is depicted as vulgar and careless, dressed in a miniskirt, kissing each dwarf, and wiggling her hips in a seductive manner (Clampett). The dwarfs, at the same time, appear lazy and inert soldiers (Lehman 78-79). In addition, the cartoon contains inappropriate slavery jokes. One can see a bottle of gin on the queen’s table with a label reading “Eli Whitney Cotton Gin,” which serves as a reference to the decades of cotton picking by slaves. Although it is evident that the film was created with no ill intent and did not mean to stereotype black people negatively, it did and continues doing it effectively. In my opinion, the film director showed people of color as he wanted them to be seen, based on all of his personal beliefs and a trite cliché.

Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs is an upsetting 7 minute cartoon directed to celebrate ironically another animated film. It offers the audience a range of stereotypical characteristics pertaining to black people. Even though the director might not have planned to focus on controversial racial imagery, the film had become notorious and criticized.


Works Cited

Clampett, Bob, director. Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs. Warner Brothers, 1943.

Lehman, Christopher P. The Colored Cartoon: Black Representation in American Animated Short Films, 1907-1954. University of Massachusetts Press, 2009.