The Lady and the Tramp Who Went Too Far Scene

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Midway through the film, two Siamese cats called “Si” and “Am” cause chaos in the living room, ultimately blaming Lady for their destruction. Not only are the character names offensive and reductive, but the animation design itself leans into ethnic stereotypes, displaying horse teeth and slanted eyes. During this scene, the duo also sing “The Siamese Cat song”, which is an over-the-top, racist parody that relies heavily on accented, broken English. Tellingly, “Lady and the Tramp” debuted two years after the Korean War, during which anti-Asian stereotypes and propaganda spread (via Time).

As one Mic writer explained, “Similar stereotypes were used to reinforce fear of the so-called Yellow Peril in the late 19th century. Specifically, the idea that devious East Asians represented a mortal danger to the rest of the world has led to strict savage anti-immigration policies to keep them out of the United States.”

The introduction of the two cats arguably deploys the same sort of East Asian xenophobia, emphasizing a storyline that positions the characters as villainous antagonists to the delicate and polished Lady.

In addition to receiving a warning for its offensive content, “Lady and the Tramp” also received a narrative overhaul in the 2019 adaptation. Notably, the scene with the two Siamese cats was removed (via Yahoo). Instead, singer Janelle Monáe collaborated with the production team to create a new canine character as well as a jazzy musical number (via Slate). Obviously, it was the right choice.

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