About this sample
About this sample
2 pages /
2 pages /
The Disney film Aladdin is a classic. There is no doubt that it is a film the vast majority of the population has seen. No matter what age you are, you have encountered something to do with this film at one point of your life. For those who have not, the movie is a tale about a poor Arab beggar, named Aladdin, who has resorted to robbing merchants to get by. After being captured, he is forced to enter a dangerous tomb filled with gold and riches to obtain a lamp for an evil man. Aladdin gets his hands on a genie lamp and is granted the opportunity to make 3 wishes. He uses the 3 wishes to earn the princess’ hand in marriage. In the beginning of the film, Aladdin could not afford to eat as he is seen stealing an apple from a merchant. He is dressed in rags and does not wear shoes, this shows the audience that he is of the lower class. When he is dressed this way, his complexion appears tan and on the darker side. Considering he is of Arabic descent and lives in the desertlike conditions of Agrabah, this makes sense.
After he wishes the genie to turn him into a prince, many things about Aladdin changes. For instance, his name changes to Ali and he is now known as prince Ali. He is now wearing extravagant clothing and shoes that clearly identifies his social class as upper class He brings with him bags of gold, throwing it down on the people from on top of the elephant he’s riding on. Along with him, he brings servants, exotic animals and golden camels, things only those of the upper class would be exposed to. However, Disney also happens to change something else about him. In the scene where he makes the grand entrance to the palace, his complexion is undeniably paler. It is no coincidence that once his social class changed, his complexion changed as well.
Although it is a subtle change, it is still shocking and an example of subtle racism. This change and encouragement of a lighter complexion gives off the impression that dark and tan skin tones are a characteristic of a lower class, whereas, having a lighter skin tone associates you with the upper class. Aladdin himself is not the only character in this film to be displayed as lighter toned upper classman. The sultan is also seen noticeably paler than the rest of the characters in Aladdin. This leads me to believe that Disney is secretly introducing the idea that a characteristic like your skin tone has a role in your social class. To think that this subtle racism is in a classic Disney movie intended for children sickens me. Of course, not many children watching the movie would pick up on the change in skin tone, however, it is striking that it was no accident.
The only explanation for why Aladdin’s skin tone shifted would be because the writers believe that fair skin is what differentiates a person's social class from lower to upper. White supremacists would argue that white and fair skin has always been associated with upper class, since the majority of the 1% has white skin, and they work harder for their money. The rest of the population would disagree and in fact protest the idea. It is important to realize that wealth and those of upper class come in all different shapes, sizes and colours. It is not necessary that Disney had to alter Aladdin’s complexion for him to be associated as a prince. In conclusion, Disney displayed subtle racism in their movie Aladdin. They did so by lightening Aladdin’s skin tone after Aladdin became a part of the upper class.
In the end of the movie, Aladdin returns to his previous form and is dressed in rags after losing the genie. To no surprise, his skin tone returns to its previous form. It is truly shocking and I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it for myself. I have attached a few photos below. The first photo shows the princess in disguise walking along the market. The second photo shows Aladdin in the beginning of the movie. The third photo shows Aladdin as a prince. The fourth is the Sultan. The final photo is Aladdin at the end of the movie when the genie’s spell wears off.
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