Disney Jr. Show Criticized for ‘Woke’ Song About ‘Micro-aggressions’

Rise Up Sing Out
Credit: Disney

Disney Jr.’s new show Rise Up, Sing Out is facing blunt scrutiny about a recent episode that debuted a scene and song that teaches preschoolers to identify “micro-aggressions,” arguably vilifying curious and innocently-founded conversations preschoolers have always had.

The scene begins with a white kid telling a black kid, “Hey, Gabriel, I didn’t know that was your mom. Your skin is so much darker than hers.”

The black kid, Gabriel, looks uncomfortable by the question, and a little girl jumps.

“Hold it, did that comment make you feel uncomfortable? That’s a micro-aggression,” she said.

“What’s a micro-aggression,” both boys ask.

The girl said, “A micro-aggression is when someone says or does something that makes you feel bad, sometimes just because of your race. But you know what? He’s wrong. You should be proud of your skin. It’s what makes you, you!”

Rise Up Sing Out

Credit: Disney

They then break into a song that rather than teaching kids how to have a conversation about how everyone looks different–which seems to be the real crux of what a less-than-eloquent preschool kid would be trying to figure out–equates the exchange to a little black girl getting her hair touched without content by a strange adult, and the song focuses around a chorus that tells kids to “speak up” and “walk away.”

You can watch the full scene here:

Executive producers Ahmir” Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter of the Roots explained in a statement, according to Variety:

“The ‘Rise Up, Sing Out’ shorts touch on a lot of real-world issues, especially for young Black kids, that just weren’t talked about when we were growing up. The beautiful thing about these shorts is that not only are they going to provide young kids the proper language to talk to their friends and family about some of the things that might be bothering them, but it’s also going to give parents the tools on how to respond… We feel this is the perfect moment and the perfect time for us to put this project out into the world to plant a seed about kindness that will hopefully have a lasting impact for generations to come.”

The show reportedly also addresses mature themes like racial violence.

However, it appears that some parents are not happy with Disney promoting a kids’ show with such adult themes and controversial topics like what is recognized as “micro-aggressions.” Parents are accusing the show of being woke and perpetuating racism rather than working to end it.

One person tweeted:

THIS is how racism is continued. This is how it’s introduced to young kids who wouldnt even realize it without it being shown to them. And you know what? We dont need another generation of woke kids corrupted w/sins of previous generations. That’s not how this organically ends.

Another defends childlike innocence, saying:

So that white kid didn’t understand why they were sightly different and still related, asked a question like a child… And that is bad?

Another parent outright rejects this song and the show, proclaiming:

I will teach my children to be kind and honor differences. I will never teach my children not to “micro-aggress” someone. That divisive term is implemented to police/shame our children into approved cultural conformity, not to raise the standard for everyone.

And another parent calls out the situation the showrunners set up for this song, saying,

“Ironic that two friends were fine, but a third party burst in stomping and shouting, deciding she would dictate to everyone else what they should be feeling, what behaviour is, what their motivations must be. Disturbing art imitating current life.”

Disney describes its new show as “an animated show featuring music-based shorts that showcase an inspiring, empowering, and optimistic message about race, culture, community, and celebrating differences.”

All episodes of Rise Up, Sing Out can be viewed on Disney Plus as well as Disney Channel and Disney Junior.

About T.K. Bosacki

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, TK Bosacki is a professional writer, amateur adventurer, and lifelong Disney Fanatic. His Disney Park days include Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Nomad Lounge. He believes in starting at the Canada pavilion (IYKYK), and the Monorail is superior to all Ferry Boats.

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