On one hand I think people need to chill out a bit.
On the other hand, I'd be upset if a children's movie was released with highly offensive asian material, like a character named "slant-eye chink", or "long duk dong"... oh wait.....
It, and rascism, IS a part of our (U.S.) past and pretending it never happened is not the answer - ya gotta know your history or you're doomed to repeat it, yadda yadda yadda.
On a side note, to pretend rascism no longer exist in America Today is foolish and dangerous as well. What's next of our past? No movies that involve witch hunts, horrible child labor, fight against women's right to vote, civil rights? What, we can't have movies that involve us dropping 2 atomic bombs on 2 major cities filled with innocent men, women & children civilians? Please. This is America and we are perfect without a single tarnish on our past. "America" is latin for "Utopia". Well, that's what FOX News says atleast.
Anyway, this is a part of Disney's past. If its so horrible, then why do they still play the lead song "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" at Splash Mountain? Which is it? - Erase it from existance or keep it as part of your history? You can't cherry pick history for your own agenda (even though that's what "history" is, really). I think if this was a NEW film, then yeah, I'd be upset and outraged by it.
Its a touchy subject with merits on both sides, I think. I don't have the answer, but I find it interesting and await the media circus and angry ranters from both sides. The super liberals will say its offensive and scream until their heads turn blue. The super conservatives will say get over it, stop being so sensitive and scream until their heads turn blue. As with most things in life, its not black or white (oooooh, poor choice of words for example)... its shades of gray.
I say fuck it and release it. This isn't just a piece of Disney's Past - its a part of OUR Past as well. Put a disclaimer at the beginning acknowledging the rascist elements of the film and our country's past. Bring attention to it, why it was wrong, how we've changed since and how we as a society still have more work to do in the Civil Rights movement (and remember, "civil rights" is not a black and white issue... it goes beyond race, beyond sex, beyond religion... its everything and everyone... its ALL of our Civil Rights). I say use this release to address the issue. Use it to educate both adults and children. Half my family is from the deep south and as a child, this movie presented a wonderful opportunity for my parents to open a dialogue with me about slavery and rascism. I was able to learn through means outside of angry arguments. Unfortunately you cannot shelter people from reality, pretend all is right in the world and hope the world will somehow form to your fantasy. To simply burying the past out of existence is not the answer and is extremely dangerous. Remember: "Never forget" - I'm sure you've seen the bumper stickers.
I also wish I had more time to better put down my thoughts on this matter. But hey, this is JimSmash, not CNN.
UDPATE: Sorry, the function for comments was accidently deactivated. Flood away!!