It's deplorable that racism still exists. The fact that some of our politicians, who are supposed to be diplomats and follow the doctrines of our country, only to manipulate their powers to flaunt this bigotry is beyond reprehensible. Since the Syrian Civil War, terrorist attack in Paris and the rise of ISIS, a fraction of the US's opinion on Middle-East civilians hasn't been favorable (what else is new?). Some elected officials have been paranoid about allowing refugees into the country because they're afraid our national security will be compromised. In fact, PublicPolicyPolling asked Republicans and Democrats if they'd bomb the Middle Eastern region of Agrabah (yes, the fictional city from Aladdin). Astonishingly, 30% of Republicans and 19% of Democrats said they would. In the same poll, 54% of the Republicans reportedly want to keep Muslims out of America.
With all of this transpiring, it's left some speechless. How can today's "progressive" society still have these bigoted beliefs? Especially when we're supposed to celebrate diversity, and treat everyone equally. It's also important to consider children's perspectives of the entire situation, and what they could possibly take out of it. This brings me back to when 9/11 occurred. At the time I was eight years old, and I could remember some of my peers bashing Muslims and wishing them dead. Now, to know this already happening is disturbing. Now, where does Zootopia come into play? And how could it be considered important to watch (especially for children)?
Zootopia is a metropolis where former predators and prey co-exist in "peace and harmony." The city's motto is "in Zootopia, anyone can be anything". Except, this doesn't seem to be entirely true, or at least followed. After the movie's protagonist Judy Hopps graduates from the police academy, she's celebrated for being the first rabbit to join the police force. However, it's later shown that some of her colleagues and Chief Bogo disrespect her and think she can't be a real cop due to her size. Bogo reduces Hopps by putting her on parking duty, even though she's overqualified. Not only that, but when it's revealed that an animal resorted to its primal state and attacked another animal it sent everyone into panic mode. This causes some citizens' with pre-existing speciesism to discriminate other civilians for their "own safety".
This entire setup could serve as an allegory for our current state of affairs. Mr. Big's comment, "we maybe evolved, but deep down we're still animals, hits the proverbial nail on the head. We boast about how far we've come, but some of us are still rooted our old views and ways. The film is said to deal with the animals overcoming their prejudices, and learning to not underestimate or have presumptions about their fellow animals. Instead, they share reverence and civility towards each other.
This can be transferred to reality. We shouldn't generalize a group of people for a separate person or persons' horrific actions. This is especially crucial for young people to understand. If we truly want to live in a world where everyone's accepted and regarded as equals, we need to throw these preconceptions about race, religion and gender. This way we can have a brighter tomorrow. I'm not trying to imply that this movie will resolve all of these issues, but it could provide a sort of catharsis for all of this madness. Make sure to check out Zootopia on March 4!