The Brotherhood of Man (1946)
The Brotherhood of Man
Animation / Documentary
Directed by Robert Cannon
The Brotherhood of Man is an animated short produced by United Productions of America, a studio created by former Walt Disney animators, for the United Automobile Workers’ 1946 interracial organizing drive.
The film opens up talking about how the world is shrinking, and how eventually all of mankind will be living together. Next you see a man waking up and getting out of bed. He looks over to his window and discovers all different types of houses, huts, teepees, igloos, and other homes from various cultures. He excitedly gets dressed and walks outside. A voice in his head tells him that he can’t get along with all of the different types of people living around him, but he tries to quell the negative voice, claiming that “the future of civilization depends on brotherhood!” When all of the different types of people move to shake hands and become acquainted with one another, a voice in their head pulls them away, keeping them segregated. They then all begin to fight each other, until the narrator reminds them of brotherhood.
A visual is presented, showing the first two people on earth: a man and a woman . They reproduced, and people started spreading across the globe. Little differences began arising, and changes in skin color brought three types of people: the Caucasians, Negroids, and Mongoloids. More than skin color though, the people developed variances in their hair, eyes, noses, and size. However, all three people are equal in strength and brain capacity, and have the same internal features. There are variances in blood types though, and anyone of any race can be a blood match to someone else, as long as they have the same blood type (A, B, AB, or O).
The man suddenly begins to feel unified with everyone else, remarking that they are not that different after all. Immediately though, the voice in his head points out the differences in living conditions between cultures. The narrator reminds him that the Caucasians had previously been far behind in technological advancements, and that every culture has contributed to various ideas. They have all worked off of the ideas of other cultures, in order to create new innovations.
As well, there are unifying ideas in all branches of the human race: the belief in a supreme being, in the home, and in family. Additionally, how civilized people are depends on the environment in which they grow up, and this cultural experience that comes from the surroundings dictates how a person behaves. If you were to switch two babies from opposing cultures, they would grow up acting how the culture they were raised in acts, not how their parents’ culture acts.
The man then realizes that in living so close together people can learn the ways of other people around them and live in peaceful unity. He shakes the hands of others, and when the voice in his head tries to sway his acceptance of other cultures it is not successful. In fact, everyone’s negative voice goes away, and all live in brotherhood together. In order for a perfect brotherhood to exist forever, all must be given equal opportunity from the beginning for everything from health care to education to job availability.
In the end, people from varying races and cultures are seen marching side by side in equality.