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A new view on Dumbo- a tool for inclusion and social skills
I saw Dumbo as a child, and like,I think all kids, identified with Dumbo....as who does not feel left out at times? Dumbo is only marginally different from the other elephants, yet is ostracized by them.
Today I am the mother of a disabled child, and I see the movie through the eyes of Mrs. Jumbo (Dumbo's mother). I cried deeply at her pain and at her helplessness to protect her child from those in society who belittle those who are different. This movie is the perfect example of the "special needs" child, and societies reaction to them . It could be easily used in the classroom, or by parents, to spark discussions on how to treat others.
Anyone upset with the 'fantasia" scene (where Dumbo and his friend get drunk by mistake), can leave it out. It is not an integral part of the story, but is indeed a work of art.
Some crows help Dumbo, and apparently some see them as a stereotype on afro Americans. Frankly, both as a child and as an adult, I didn't realize the connotations...(if any are there); I just noted the Southern accent. The crows scene is more problematic to leave out, as it is really an integral part of the story. And if one minority group helps another discover that self-belief is a powerful tool, I don't see it as being bad, frankly. The crows are not negative, in my opinion. A teacher worried about this can discuss the first part of the movie without the ending. After all, as well as our children with special needs do today, very few will realistically reach the success of a Dumbo. So society still will need to accept those who do not overcome their disabilities .