When I watched Zootopia for the first time, something that stood out to me was the predator/prey relationship. Judy’s dad makes s big deal about it when she goes off to join Precinct 1 after graduation by giving her several fox repellents. She declines all but one to placate her father who is worried about her. This initially seems fairly innocuous, until later on in the film. The whole time Judy tries to be open and trusting and at a critical point in the story Nick feels like she has not been trusting of him because he is a fox. There is some misunderstandings with predator animals and Nick takes things personally when Judy flubs a press conference.
Her prejudice about foxes comes out and it hurts Nick’s feelings and he gets pretty upset! What I really liked about this film is that it handles prejudice very well and our main characters learn to look past their hurt feelings and work together to solve the case presented in the movie. For the sake of clarity here is the definition of prejudice.
- a. The act or state of holding unreasonable preconceived judgments or convictions b. An adverse judgment or opinion formed unfairly or without knowledge of the facts
- Irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular social group, such as a race or the adherents of a religion.
- a. Detriment or harm caused to a person, especially in a legal case b. Preclusionary effect, preventing further pursuit of one’s interests
The awesome thing about this film is how the characters move past their prejudice and become friends! Because we are human, we are subject to prejudice based on our upbringing and life experiences. Sometimes we have them because a kid in our neighborhood beat us up or because grandpa got robbed long before your were born. The benefit of learning to be open about other people is that we can overcome those misgivings and misconceptions. One of the many benefits of growing up Army Brat is you learn about other cultures and societies and even other prejudices and hate.
One that I was very aware of growing up was that Turkish refugees in Germany had a problem with Americans. GI’s were often attacked during fests and other events if the American’s weren’t careful. At the time, I was angry with these young Turkish men that would attack our soldiers and airmen … for reasons I don’t remember anymore. I know that as a young teen, I worried about being on the receiving end of one of those attacks. As I grew older and travel more on my own around the cities we lived in, I grew less worried and less concerned about being attacked. For a long time, I hated Turkish refugees. I moved back to the US, and forgot about this problem our men and women faced. I eventually learned to let it go and not harbor resentment for what happened.
I had a prejudice towards a specific group of people in a specific place. We all have some pejudice, I hope that we can learn to be more open, trusting, and willing to change.