“I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.” So said Walt Disney in a 1954 television special, referring to Mickey Mouse, which brought his eponymous company enduring success. Nearly seven decades later, executives at The Walt Disney Company apparently think everything stems from race. Disney’s embrace of critical race theory has turned a company created by its namesake to provide wholesome entertainment for the entire family into a hotbed of division.
Christopher Rufo of the Manhattan Institute recently obtained a presentation given by Disney to its employees regarding its “Reimagine Tomorrow” diversity initiative. The presentation instructs Disney cast members to “challenge colorblind ideologies and rhetoric,” and “avoid conflating the black experience with other communities of color,” because of “a unique history that has led to anti-black racism.”
The presentation does not merely attempt to define employees by race and gender, or reference concepts of critical race theory like “white fragility,” intersectionality, and microaggressions. It goes further, actively indoctrinating cast members by telling them to “examine and work through feelings of guilt, shame, and defensiveness to understand…what needs to [be] healed.” And it pits workers against each other, encouraging cast members to “be accountable” by flagging “problematic posts” on company message boards.
The presentation’s obsessive focus on race, racial and cultural divisions, and America’s flaws directly contradicts the image of a company firmly rooted in Americana. One cannot easily reconcile the images of “Main Street, U.S.A.” — fashioned to resemble Disney’s boyhood home of Marceline, Missouri — with language instructing employees to “reflect” on the country’s “racist infrastructure.” Does CEO Bob Chapek consider America a racist country, and if so, why does the company promote nostalgia for a nation with “a long history of systemic racism and transphobia?”