Stereotypes in Disney’s Jessie and Bunk’d

The Disney show Jessie and its spin-off Bunk’d were extremely harmful to many of its viewers. Since the shows were aired in 2011 and 2015, people were either too young or too naive to notice anything wrong with it. The shows portrayed many stereotypes for almost all of the characters. For example, Zuri was portrayed as a sassy black girl, Ravi was the Indian nerd stereotype with the typical Indian accent, and Tiffany was the smart Asian who wants to go to Harvard. These are just a few of the stereotypes from the shows, but the list goes on. Because of this, some of the younger audience will be forced to believe that’s how all people who resemble them act and that can cause many more problems. With a fairly young audience, Disney should know that having the characters act this way is not appropriate. Even if it was all for fun or to experiment with new character types, it should have been approached in a different way. 

The shows have already aired and ended so there’s not much we can do about it but bring light to the problems and prevent this from happening on future shows. I have seen a few people say that bringing this up after the shows have ended is unnecessary, but they still air the reruns on TV, so people still see these stereotypes and spread them to others. It’s important to call out things like this because even if they are not necessarily racist, it’s still not something that should be normalized especially on such a popular channel like Disney. No matter when the show was aired, it was problematic then and it’s problematic now. Just because it hadn’t been noticed doesn’t mean it wasn’t offensive.

The actors portraying these characters had to force these stereotypes to fit the character. Karan Brar, who plays Ravi, had to learn how to do a realistic Indian accent for his role which was unnecessary and did not add to the plot or his character. These character portrayals are unacceptable from not only Disney but from all TV channels. No matter how long ago they were aired, racial stereotypes and insensitivity needs to be brought up and discussed to prevent it from being more normalized than it already is.

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