Speed Reads

thanks disney

St. Paul police once used Disney's Zootopia as part of annual anti-bias training

Disney's story of a rabbit and a fox recognizing and overcoming police bias was apparently used to educate human police officers.

More specifically, St. Paul, Minnesota's police force — which has been pulled into the protests in neighboring Minneapolis — watched Zootopia a few years ago as part of its annual anti-bias training. The animated movie specifically covers discrimination against a young police officer and suspects based on their species, but many officers "never saw the parallels with real life" until they watched it in training, Sgt. Amanda Heu told local station Fox 9 back in 2017.

Zootopia tells the story of the first rabbit to join the animal-run city of Zootopia's police department. She's placed on parking duty and doubted because of her species, but also discriminates against a fox con artist because of his, with nods to human race relations — the fox plays with a sheep's "hair," for instance — along the way.

"When you see the story, it has bias and prejudice woven throughout," Hua said at the time. She specifically pointed to a moment where the fox notes "if the world is only going to see a fox as shifty and untrustworthy, there's no point in trying to be anything else," saying "it boiled down the psychological construct that perpetuates discrimination and prejudice in America." But because the movie used animals instead of humans, officers "could learn from it without being judged," Hua said.

At the time, St. Paul was considering passing the Zootopia training idea on to other departments. Read more at how the Zootopia training went down at Fox 9.