Though it may have been written off by most as anything from shameless activism to outright propaganda, the recent call for slavery reparations made by Disney’s The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder has been answered by at least one individual: voice actor Steve Blum.
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The moment in question occurs at the climax of the thirteenth episode of the Disney Plus revival’s second season, Curved.
Therein, seeking to solidify a win for their school Debate Team, Penny and her team perform a slam poetry number in support of their position: black people should receive reparations from the United States government in order to apologize for once engaging in the practice of slavery.
“This country was built on slavery,” begins the group. “Which means slaves built this country. Tilled this land from sea to sea to sea.”
“First there was rice, tobacco, sugar cane then [Eli] Whitney did his thing and cotton became king,” they add. “And we were its soldiers, four million strong. Fighting for America’s freedoms even though we remained America’s slaves.”
“Slaves built this country,” the team proclaims. “The descendants of slaves continue to build it, and we the descendants of slaves in America have earned reparations for their suffering and continue to earn reparations every moment we spend submerged in a systemic prejudice, racism, and white supremacy that America was founded with and still has not atoned for.”
“Slaves built this country”, they repeat. “Not only field hands, but carpenters, masons, blacksmiths, musicians. Inventors built cities from Jamestown to New Orleans to Banneker’s Washington.”
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“40 acres and a mule,” they then question, referring to General William Tecumseh Sherman’s 1865 proclamation allotting free slaves plots of lands no bigger than the referenced size and a loaned mule with which to till it. “We’ll take the 40 acres, keep the mule.
Asserting “We made your family rich,” the team then bellows, “From the southern plantation heirs, to the northern bankers, to the New England ship owners, former presidents, current senators, the Illuminati, the new world order,” – the last two being played off as a joke – “slaves built this country”.
“We had Tubman, Turner, Frederick D[ouglas],” their argument continues.
“Then they say Lincoln freed the slaves [an incorrect assertion, as slaves were actually freed within the United States by the 13th Amendment], but slaves were men and women, and only we can free ourselves,” add the team. “Jim Crow, segregation, redlining public schools, feeding private prisons, where we become slaves again.”
Drawing their performance to a close, the team recaps, “As we celebrate Juneteenth for the umpteenth time, our account is still outstanding cause this country was built on slavery which means slaves built this country, and we demand our 40 acres and a mule.”
“You can keep the mule,” they conclude. “You can keep the forty. We’re taking our freedom.”
Unsurprisingly, after being shared to social media, the ‘Slaves Built This Country’ segment drew mixed (to say the least) reactions.
Planting themselves firmly on the ‘critical’ side of the argument was Twitter user @EndWokeness, who in sharing the clip described its contents as “blatant anti-white propaganda”.
Conversely, the aforementioned voice actor, who found himself in support of Disney’s efforts.
Best known for providing the voices to an innumerable amount of memorable characters including Cowboy Bebop’s Spike Spiegel, Final Fantasy VII’s Vincent Valentine, and numerous incarnations of Marvel’s Wolverine (perhaps most notably that of his animated X-Men: Evolution counterpart), Blum replied to @EndWokeness’ tweet with the declaration, “I’m white. And a voice actor who will probably never work on this show – for the most excellent of reasons. Your tweet is blatantly racist.”
“Your ‘anti-woke’ rhetoric is dangerous & divisive,” he added, ultimately affirming, “I full throatedly support Disney+, @theproudfamily & all of my colleagues for doing this.”
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