Zootopia Roars Powerful Message on Inclusion

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Officer Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde talk to Flash the Sloth at the Zootopia DMV.

Disney, you have proved once again that the storytelling in your animated films can worm their way into an Aspie girl’s heart and mind, especially with your recent story Zootopia.

Zootopia (or Zootropolis for most of Europe) tells the story of Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin), a small-town rabbit who dreams of becoming the first rabbit police officer in the big titular city where prey and predator animals of every breed and species live together in peace and harmony. Judy trains very hard to achieve this goal, and thanks to the Mammal Inclusion Initiative, she is awarded her badge and enlisted in the police force. Unfortunately, Judy’s small-minded boss, the cape buffalo Chief Bogo (Idris Elba), assigns her the task of writing up parking tickets as he does not believe that the small rabbit could catch up with the big guys in the missing animals case. During her first time out on the job, Judy encounters con artist fox Nick Wilde (the lovable and incomparable Jason Bateman), and they find themselves on a wild goose chase to crack a missing animals case and, in the process, uncover a conspiracy that could upset the social balance of Zootopia.

Just as Frozen promoted feminism in the most unorthodox way possible, Zootopia promotes, through the allegorical use of the new anthropomorphic animal characters they have created, the acceptance of diversity and the avoidance of prejudice–a topical message that the entire world needs to hear and take to heart right now, especially in the United States. We all need to learn that the minority groups we’ve been taught to fear from early on mean absolutely no harm to anyone and that they deserve just as much human rights as everyone else.

Especially people in the autism community.

Even before the word “autism” was coined by psychiatrists in the early 20th century, people were afraid of us, our neurology, and our way of viewing the world. I mean, just because we autistic people have a little bit of trouble with verbal communication doesn’t mean we don’t have a voice at all. While some of us on the spectrum are verbal, such as myself, there are others who find other ways to get their messages across to people. We may use an iPad, a computer, or even sign language to communicate our wants and needs to others, and that shouldn’t prevent us from getting the jobs of our interests.

Just because we see and think about the world–or some aspects of it–differently, don’t punish us for sharing such views with you. While you may say that a college degree is the key to lifelong success on the financial front, I may say that there are people in this world who are successful even without a college degree, proving that there are others to make achievements that doesn’t have to include college because it’s not for everybody anyway. Should I be punished in any way, shape or form for saying that? No. I will respect your opinion and way of life as long as you respect mine.

Just because we’re exhibit obsessive interests in areas of art, literature, science and technology, don’t punish us for that either. I have a great taste for anime and video games, and would like to write about my experiences in the anime/video game community someday. I also wear shirts that display my favorite anime/video game characters sometimes. Should I be punished in any way, shape or form for exhibiting my inner child and my interests in those art fields by wearing such attire? Absolutely not. If I want to wear a T-shirt with Sonic or Hello Kitty printed on it, don’t tell me that I’m a woman-child for doing so.

And just because we’re introverts doesn’t mean we’re incapable of making friends and maintaining friendships. We may like to spend time by ourselves or with our families, but we still have the desire to spend time with people we played and went to school with. I know I do, and I’m trying my best to be with them every chance I get. [Thanks to Facebook,] I recently made four new friends from my high school, two of whom I went to see Zootopia with last Friday night. They’re all really nice, and I’m happy to be a part of their group.

Zootopia has done a fantastic job advocating for diversity and the inclusion of people from different walks of life, and I applaud them for shining a spotlight on the issue. I hope this movie put Autism Speaks in their place.

And may I just say that Shakira’s new song “Try Everything” is sublime? It’s my new anthem.

 

P.S. You may have noticed that there were no birds flying or walking around the city of Zootopia. The producers did talk about placing avian species in the movie, but cut them out completely due to time constraints.

 

 

 

 

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An Overdose of Racism and Pride in the Police Force

An Overdose of Racism and Pride in the Police Force

Two of the most deadly sins in this world are Pride and Prejudice.

I had just finished watching the 007 film The World Is Not Enough when I flipped my DVR back to CNN and saw a YouTube video of a police officer pinning an African-American teenage girl to the ground while arresting her. The girl in question was attending an end-of-the-school-year pool party with her friends, some of whom got arrested as well, at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in McKinney, Texas, when her group was put out by the security guard. A woman at the pool made racist remarks at the kids, such as “Get used to the bars outside this pool, because that’s all you’re going to see,” and “Go back to Section 8 [public] housing.” One of the white teens, apparently the daughter of that same woman, talked back to her about her attitude towards the group, and the fight between the two broke out. The other adults called the police to report a disturbance “involving multiple juveniles at the location, who do not live in the area or have permission to be there, refusing to leave,” referring to the black teens who committed no crime whatsoever. As soon as the police arrived, one cop, Cpl. Eric Casebolt, began yelling to the kids, “GET YOUR ASS ON THE GROUND!” While the other officers were detaining the other teens who were pleading that they just arrived for a friend’s birthday party, Casebolt pinned down the 14-year-old girl and pulled out his gun on her as she cried out for her mother and begged for release.  Some kids rushed to her aid and shouted, “That’s my cousin! Why are you doing this to her?! She didn’t even do nothin’!”

Neither did the other kids who came to the party.

The video, shot by one of the kids who posted it on YouTube the next day, proves there are still some law enforcement officers who are just too damn overzealous with their jobs–not to mention the racist views they hold against African-Americans of any age. It’s as if decades of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s noble work towards equality has gone down the drain. As a matter of fact, some police officers have been defacing King, Jr.’s work for the past three years, if not longer. I’m extremely disgusted at how prejudiced the justice system has become towards the people who are just the same as us despite their skin tones. Cpl. Eric Casebolt and other prejudicial and overzealous police officers are the ones who have committed a crime, NOT the innocent teenagers.