Article first published as Happy Feet and Diversity on Technorati.
I am a big fan of animated movies, and Happy Feet is an all-time favorite of mine, so I’m pleased to know that a sequel will be released in November of 2011.
The original movie is about a tribe of Penguins that possesses great singing voices they use to attract mates. Mumble is a very different Penguin that can’t sing, but has a unique talent for tap dancing. Because of Mumble’s diversity, the Elder leader of Emperor Land casts him out of the community.
Away from home, Mumble meets a different tribe of penguins, the Adelie Amigos, who instantly embrace Mumble’s cool dance moves and take him in. Mumble helps his adopted tribe finding a way to survive. Using courage and bravery, Mumble begins to teach everyone his unique dance, and they save the day using his distinctive capabilities.
The movie emphasizes racial diversity, leadership and team skills; where the Adelie Amigos are clearly Hispanics, the rappers are African Americans, the Skua birds spoke with Italian accents and the elephant seals spoke with a Scottish or Irish accents.
In this beautiful mosaic of diversity, inclusion and acceptance, Mumble is not only accepted, but praised and recognized for who he is. Using his diversity and his different way in finding creative solutions and handling crises, he saves the day. Through the movie we begin to learn that uniqueness isn’t a burden, but a gift to be treasured, and that being true to yourself can make all the difference in the world.
Diversity is not only about a difference of race, religion, gender, color, age or nationality; is a lot more than that. It encompasses sexual preferences, socio-economic factors, education, unique abilities and skills, disabilities, even being an extrovert or introvert.
Diversity is helping people realize that it takes a wide variety of people to become the best, and that they need to have the ability to rely on everyone on their team, no matter how different they might be. It is about empowering and embracing people, and capitalizing on the strengths of each individual.
Mumble’s family represents the challenges diversity faces when our biases and prejudices are deeply rooted within us. From the moment we are born, we learn about ourselves, beliefs, and values through our surroundings. Our experiences give us our subjective points of view, known as biases, which serve as filters to make sense of any new information. Mumble’s father rejected him because he didn’t fit the criteria of what they are used to or perceive as being penguin.
Diversity occurs when we see all the individual unique characteristics, and realize that people are more valuable because of their differences.
All of which is why I can’t wait ’til Happy Feet 2 is in the theaters, as it will satisfy two of my passions in life: animated movies and diversity. Mumble is a great example of why to embrace diversity; to integrate and not assimilate
Diversity starts at home.