In my first post, I said I would occasionally write blogs of a political or cultural nature. Well, I read an article last week that made me...

The Case for King Louie: Racism in The Jungle Book?

In my first post, I said I would occasionally write blogs of a political or cultural nature. Well, I read an article last week that made me think it was high time I post one.

The article discussed Disney’s plans to remake The Jungle Book... and warned them to be careful so no one felt the movie  particularly the part with King Louie  was racist. My response was something along the lines of, “...What?” I’ve seen The Jungle Book several times since I was a kid, enjoyed it, and never thought it was racist in the least.

The article went on to describe how some believe King Louie should be removed entirely because he's a discriminatory character. Apparently, the king of the monkeys represents all the black people crying we want to be like Mowgli  who represents the white folk.

Wow, I thought. You’ve gotta be kidding me. As I said above, I love the movie, and as a black person, I’ve never felt insulted. Heck, I was more offended by being equated to an orangutan, than by listening to a song about wanting the secret of man’s red fire.

Plus, Mowgli’s not even white. He’s Indian. Like Indian from India.

Another argument stated that bigotry permeates the Disney movie because Rudyard Kipling, author of the original Jungle Book, was an Englishman during a time of colonization and shortly after slavery. Ergo, he was totally racist. Honestly, I don’t know whether that last part is true, though it would make sense considering the time period. But even if it is, that doesn’t make the story racist for several reasons. One, King Louie isn’t in the original Jungle Book. He’s a character created by Disney for their film adaption. And two, the author believing black people were below him hardly means that every character and every conflict is going to reflect those views.

People of America, you really have to stop looking for race issues in everything. One, it’s silly. Two, it’s annoying. And three, it undermines the times when there really is a race issue.

I think part of the problem is that, these days, many movie producers and other entertainers are so desperate to be politically correct, because the media is always looking for a good story. If reporters can concoct some sort of controversy and ruin a good reputation, it’s even better. So people are always looking over their shoulders, paging through every teeny-tiny detail for racist undertones, overtones, lefttones, and righttones to ensure no one is offended. They want to make sure that EVERYONE knows that EVERYBODY in America is above all that now. They want to sweep the bad times under the rug and pretend the racism never happened – or at the very least that it’s certainly not happening anymore. So anything that could in the most far-out, near-impossible way resemble racism must be removed; that way, we can all pretend those days never occurred.

But they did, and that’s no reason to go tiptoeing around with a magnifying glass searching for racism around every corner. Instead, we as a nation should examine the real race mistakes of the past and present  not just what was done to black people, but to Native Americans, European immigrants, and everyone else. As a people, we should attempt to learn from the mistakes and then move on, resolving to do better and to truly erase racism from current America.

As for King Louie, I like the song “I Wanna Be Like You,” and I sincerely hope Disney keeps him in the new movie.

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  1. Well said my dear. .well said. ..

  2. I really like this post.
    It would be neat if you could do some more post on racism, and writing about things like that. It would be nice to get some opinion on these issues from someone who doesn't get upset about silly things like king Louie. (Most of the resources I've found about writing and racism come from a very liberal mindset.)

    1. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! If I have any ideas, I certainly will do more. :)


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