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Who Killed the Disneyland Dream? - James and Shawn — LiveJournal
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Who Killed the Disneyland Dream?

What did happen to that Disneyland Dream?

Mr. Rich covers a lot of ground in this essay; looking back at the fifties through the lens of amateur filmmaker Robbins Barstow.

Many of America’s more sweeping changes since 1956 are for the better. You can’t spot a nonwhite face among the family’s neighbors back home or at Disneyland. Indeed, according to Neal Gabler’s epic biography of Disney, civil rights activists were still pressuring the park to hire black employees as late as 1963, the same year that Martin Luther King Jr.’s march on Washington and Betty Friedan’s “Feminine Mystique” started upending the Wonder Bread homogeneity that suffuses the America of “Disneyland Dream.”

But, for all those inequities, economic equality seemed within reach in 1956, at least for the vast middle class. (Michael Harrington’s exposé of American poverty, “The Other America,” would not rock this complacency until 1962.) The sense that the American promise of social and economic mobility was attainable to anyone who sought it permeates “Disneyland Dream” from start to finish.

Is the dream still alive?

The Barstows of 1956 could not have fathomed the outrageous gap between this country’s upper class and the rest of us.

Read this article at The New York Times.

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