Disney Channel The Proud Family Analysis

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Research Problem Disney Channel’s The Proud Family (or TPF for the duration of this paper), is an animated show about a middle class African American family that focuses mainly on fourteen-year old Penny Proud. Her family includes her father Oscar, mother Trudy, grandmother Suga Mama and baby siblings BeBe and CeCe. These characters all live under the same roof. Other main characters include Penny’s friends Dijonay, LaCienega, Zoey and Sticky. The show circulates heavily around Penny navigating life as a teenager and dealing with problems with family and friends. The show is a sitcom, therefore the storyline of every episode is focused on the presentation and resolution of the typical problems that arise for Penny. Social cognitive theory,…show more content…
In his analysis of Disney’s movie The Princess and the Frog (which coincidentally Bruce Smith also contributed to the animation of) Richard M. Breaux claims that Disney used this movie to cash in on it’s racist past (p 1). He claims that Disney uses this movie to address complaints about their lack of representation in the past, and that even this representation makes the African American past in the US seem nostalgic, as opposed to the vast inequality of the time the movie is placed in (Breaux). TPF came before The Princess and the Frog, so it can be assumed that Disney’s smaller screen is a little more successful with their racial…show more content…
The episode is then placed in the past, 1955 to be exact, after Penny falls and hits her head. When she goes to school, everything has changed, the white man who used to be the janitor is now the teacher, and her black teacher is now the janitor. Her teacher tells her that there is no such thing as black history month, and that there really isn’t any reason for one. Penny retorts that “black people have made many contributions to this country, as well as the world” (S1 E15). She then goes on to list multiple achievements of various black people. Penny also sees one of her best friends, Zoey, who now says she is not friends with any colored people. At the end of the episode, Penny gives a speech, which is actually an excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr’s famous “I Had A Dream” speech. After Penny wakes up and realizes that it was a dream, she tells her teacher that he was right, the key to having a better future is to understand the past. Not only does this episode bring attention to many influential African Americans, it provides a lens for a younger audience to see and understand the racism in the past. Using Martin Luther King Jr’s actual words was very
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