Essay on Culture, Ethnicity and Race in Animations

Published: 2021/11/08
Number of words: 2904

The basis of the essay is to show how cartoons portray race, ethnicity and gender to children when they watch them through the Television, and other video streaming platforms. Through watching of cartoons , they present and provide the platform for children to consciously and unconsciously absorb what they see, directly in their own terms and language as they acquire the aspects in a concision and unconscious manner, the cartoons children watch them for the sole basis of entertainment or the cartoon characters have drawn their attention and they want to emulate the characters behavior and skills, but through this process of watching the cartoons they acquire certain sets of knowledge and aspects of life that help in shaping their behavioral and psychological aspects that in actual reality. Cartoons have a huge impact in the development of children’s life, this in that when children see certain events and actions in the television they try an mimic what they have seen and also through the various cultures portrayed in the cartoons the children know on how to act on certain occasions and they are able to pick up certain cultural and ethnic traits from the protagonists example if a child watches the cartoon Soul where they see the main protagonist Joe Gardner an African American man who is a pianist play the piano when the kid goes near a piano their mind will reflect on the memory of them seeing Joe play and they will also try and play the piano the same way pressing the keys as they saw in the animation this is an example of how the children acquire knowledge from cartoons, therefore the cartoon has an impact on the kids lives a good cartoon can teach a child good behavior and perceptions of the world negative films can make a child act in bad ways as portrayed by the film they saw, as the child does not have the conscience to decide what is good or bad they mimic what they see. The different characters in the cartoons were key to the main idea of the play as through the various main protagonist we get to see the aspects at first hand and they help to develop the story line of the cartoons and also through their movement, actions and interactions we get to see certain aspects that are nonparallel to the story line this include cultural traits, geographical features and race.

Need an essay assistance?
Our professional writers are here to help you.
Place an order

Thesis Statement

Culture, ethnicity and race are portrayed in the cartoons through which I’ve selected and personally watched a list of cartoons based on human characters that have been watched by millions all over the world as indicated by to show and support my essay and show how through the main protagonist and other characters in thee movie how race, ethnicity and gender are portrayed in the cartoons and through the various scenes, societies and actions in the cartoons that were carried out to show how they were shaped and influenced by their cultures and gender, and how these shape and present the picture about race, ethnicity and culture to the children. and from the cartoons some of the protagonist portrayed were given priorities or belonged to certain activities and affairs basing on their race, culture and ethnicity. The cartoons I’ve watched and will use to put forth and support my essay are Aladdin, Mulan, Balerina, CocoSoul which help put forth and show the idea of gender, race and ethnicity in children’s cartoons. .

How Ethnicity is portrayed in cartoons

Espinosa et al. (2019).Described ethnicity as the cultural and national commonality that makes one or a group belong to one social group.

Cartoons portray an array of ethnicity which when children keep on watching the various cartoons they grow with multiple ideas on different technical aspects which are gained consciously or unconsciously from the cartoons as portrayed. For the cartoon Coco, the plot is based in Santa Cecilia, Mexico South America, through the cartoon we see various cultural aspects in the characters that make them belong to the particular ethnic group, example of a common cultural traits of the characters includes in the main protagonist house the young boy Miguel they have a family ofrenda which is a home altar that has pictures of the deceased persons in the family which are placed for display and in remembrance of the dead and they have a celebration the Dia De Muertos where they celebrate the person who have died by going to the grave and arranging flowers and then proceeding to dance and they decorate the event using a calaca which is a skeleton which is used during the festival, during the festival we see the whole community and many of the characters in the film attending the event carrying similar cultural symbols making it evident they all belong to the same ethnicity and other instances that show all of them belonging to the similar group is through language as in the cartoon the use of Mexican names example Miguel and clothes the Poncho sweater. When a child watches the movie subconsciously the pick up some cultural aspects of the Mexicans which they will be able to denote and identify a person and group them in their ethnicity, as in actual reality them will see some traits and categorize them basing on their ethnicity

Aladin based on the life of the main protagonist Aladin we see his journey through the city of Indian there are cites of ethnicity in that one can identifies this through the dressing of the people where all women in the cartoon wear a sari and pavada which are cultural clothes for women and the way their house are shaped with a pointed top also and in the culture of Indian there are snake charmers who use a musical tune to charm snakes, in the cartoon we see characters in the background also use the tunes to charm the snakes also in the culture women have a red dot in between their brows known as a bindi which indicates that a woman is married. In the cartoon we seen several characters wearing the bindi even during jasmine and Aladin’s marriage, jasmine starts wearing the bindi after their marriage, through watching Aladin the children gain the cultural aspect of Indians which a child can be able to identify when in the real life, they can see a person and from the dressing and certain aspects gained from the movie they can note ones ethnicity tho at a shallow perspective and categorize them in their social group or nationality.

How race is portrayed in cartoons

According to McGee. (2018) race is the Physical and social qualities that categorize and group people and provides a distinct view in the society.

In the cartoons we see the different characters being from the different races in the world this through the main protagonists, characters involved and some certain comments and stereotypes in Soul we see the main protagonist Joe being an African American portrayed by his physical attributes his skin color and hair which is more of kinky, dark in color and rough compared to the other American characters whose hair are lush and they are in a variety of colors. The build of the character sin the cartoons is based on real life aspects as every detail is incorporated in the cartoons which places out the different races of people in the world to children.

Mulan where the main character Fa Mulan is a Chinese evident by the way her physical attributes are portrayed example her eyes are slanted based on the actual reality also all the other characters in the cartoons they eyes are slanted portraying them of belonging to a similar race. In the cartoons they portray a diverse world where there are people of different races, the cartoons are not limited to only specific races and in the cartoons there are no use of racial discriminating words and minorities, also there are certain activities and actions that have been used in the cartoons that might be based and used to describe the different races example for Mulan we see the use of swords and martial arts which has been characterized to belonging to the Chinese and in Soul Joe Gardener is in a Jazz band which in actual reality Jazz has been stereotyped as music for African American people which is evident in that in the cartoon members of Joe’s Band are all African Americans..

How gender is portrayed in cartoons

These are the social and cultural differences that are accorded to one based on the biological aspects (male and female) that defines one as being either man or woman and basing on the roles they are to do ( Bertrand, 2020).

In Mulan, when the Huns invade imperial china, the emperor calls for every family to produce a man to join the Chinese army but Mulan’s family her dads is the only man and wants to join but he is too old and has an injured leg making him unfit to join the army, we see Fa Mulan disguising as a man to join the army to protect his father. Women were not allowed in battle or to join the army, this action brought shame to one and the family, and it was punishable by one not being able to get a suitor to marry them. Through this we see the gender aspect in the cartoon Mulan and how roles were set out for men example as men being warriors and women not being allowed to partake in war, also we see the community having a match maker that made matches for girls to marry they underwent certain test including making tea, and them dressing up to see the match maker, in Mulan there are evident gender roles established and we see how men and women were portrayed in the society, as certain roles were divided on the basis of gender.

In Balerina, we see the girls are practicing and doing barley which the film orients that its a female oriented activity as all persons undertaking the activity are female characters who are partaking in barley dances and in the film there are two male protagonist Victor who is an inventor. The difference in activities presents how the different genders are presented basing on their difference in activities.

Also the modes of dressing of characters in the cartoons differentiates their gender as the men wear more men oriented clothes such as trousers, boots, jackets, hats and the women wear more women oriented clothes example girls are in dresses, tights, doll shoes, tight pants that set them apart from the men and their physical attributes and physique are different in that men are more masculine as compared to the women, and the women have longer hair compared to the men and the women have a wider lower body hypertrophy than the men.

This can shape and influence a kids life as from the cartoons they behave and desire things they saw and try to imitate it in actual reality, this is in that a girl can try and do barley as she saw the female protagonists do and the boys can try sword fighting as they saw in Mulan and when they are asked to partake activities vice versa they can be a decline in that they feel the activity is not suited for them. The cartoon Mulan can help a child over come a societal expectation impounded on them as when Mulan went contrary to the normal to join the army this can influence the behavior of girls to break the chains of societal limitations and barriers, and also influence the decisions of children in the activities they partake as they will consider some activities are oriented basing on gender.


Rushton, Bettinson (2010). a director can create a play and film to put forth an idea or explanation of how things work at first hand through demonstrating the ideas through the main protagonists. Through this certain information can be included in a film to help put out a certain piece of information or content out that can be beneficial to the viewers in a positive way.

Worry about your grades?
See how we can help you with our essay writing service.

Through actual observation through watching of the cartoons in a deeper manner, paying concern and taking notes on the race, ethnicity and gender attributes and roles indicated on the film that one can directly or indirectly see. One sees and can show how the cartoons portray the diverse areas of the world to children and the various cultures that are done in the areas. Example in the Movie coco we see how the Mexican culture they honor their dead through celebrating them with music and their love for dance showing their famous hat dances and also in the movie we see the cultural aspect in terms of the clothes they wear, and various cultural practices, this can impact a child as when in the society they can be able to see a Mexican and from the movie they can get to reflect and relate on a few of the things about the person basing from what they saw in the movie.

Cartoons are and can be a useful tool to teach the children on the ethnic, race and gender aspects and concerns of people in the world and as a way show how to respect and uphold each one in a just manner not discriminating one based on their gender, race or ethnicity and it also can teach the kids about their origins. This by creating cartoons and using the main characters in the cartoons to pass down the information in a language that communicates with the children.However the cartoons can also have negative impacts as they are based on some fiction and the each one, the children have different ways of interpreting information by which one can get the wrong idea from a cartoon that would be hard for them over come once they grow with it and some children don’t have the mental capacity to process the images they see t draw any meaning to what they see.


Bertrand, M. (2020, May). Gender in the twenty-first century. In AEA Papers and proceedings (Vol. 110, pp. 1-24). Retrieved from

Espinosa, L. L., Turk, J. M., Taylor, M., & Chessman, H. M. (2019). Race and ethnicity in higher education: A status report. Retrieved from

McGee, K. (2018). The influence of gender, and race/ethnicity on advancement in information technology (IT). Information and Organization, 28(1), 1-36. Retrieved from

Rai, S., Waskel, B., Sakalle, S., Dixit, S., & Mahore, R. (2017). Effects of cartoon programs on behavioural, habitual and communicative changes in children. International Journal of Community Medicine and Public Health, 3(6), 1375-1378. Retrieved from,5

Rushton, R., & Bettinson, G. (2010). What Is Film Theory?. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).


  • In the cartoons Soul, Aladin, Mulan, Coco it shows the different race and ethnicity that exist in the world as each of the characters are drawn for different areas of the world, Soul is based in America, Aladin in India, Mulan in China and Coco in Mexico to show the diverse cultures and races in the world.
  • The main events in the cartoons rotates around the main protagonists by which we get to see some of the aspects necessary in the essay, and get to receive the information first hand from the main characters story line and cartoon plot.
  • The cartoons though they are fictional the aspects in play are based on real life events, customs and cultures that are added in the fiction to pass down a certain lesson to the children, the use of cartoons is a way to draw their attention and ensure they are focused on it and enabling the to consciously and unconsciously gain the intended information.
  • The cartoons in use portray a positive aspect in that there are no racial minorities in place, though there are some traits of class struggle this does not however impact any of the ethnicity, race and gender points of concern required in the study.

Cite this page

Choose cite format:
Online Chat Messenger Email
+44 800 520 0055