Netflix’s My Little Pony: A New Generation is the latest film of the popular children’s franchise, and it is quietly teaching kids about racial equality through its themes and songs. The main plot of the movie focuses on the fact that Earth Ponies, Pegasi, and Unicorns are no longer friends – in fact, they are now enemies – all because the adult ponies are passing false information onto their children.
Fans of the Friendship is Magic series know that these pony races all worked together numerous times and proved they could be the best of friends, so this is a very sad turn of events.
My Little Pony: A New Generation Quietly Teaches Kids About Racial Equality
My Little Pony: A New Generation is set in the far future from Friendship is Magic, where things are now different. It is mentioned time and time again in this film that the newest generation was raised to fear each other. They were all told lies about the other pony races from the moment they were born – Earth Ponies are dumb, Unicorns use their magic to hurt other races, and Pegasi are mean and vicious.
Thanks to a young Earth Pony named Sunny, and her father who taught her that history books are not always correct, these races come together again. As a young filly, she sent a letter off to the land of the Unicorns to let them know they have friends where she lives. Izzy Moonbow finds this letter and eventually travels to meet Sunny, when the two are in their late teens.
They instantly connect and become friends, however, the rest of the Earth Pony town is terrified of her and her magic when she shows up. Little do they know she has lost her magic, and the Pegasi have lost their ability to fly, all because they have grown to fear and hate one another.
This theme is consistent throughout the film, as it is discovered that Unicorns and Pegasi think down on Earth Ponies, claiming they have learned they are stupid and smell bad. Earth Ponies and Pegasi are scared of Unicorns and their magic because it is claimed they use it to hurt other pony races. As for the Pegasi? Well, Earth Ponies and Unicorns were raised to believe that they are vicious brutes and should not be approached at any cost.
The song Fit Right In that Izzy Moonbow performs goes into detail about this, and about how they are all just the same underneath the things that make them different.
“I thought Earth Ponies were the pony ladder's bottom rung.
I heard that Pegasi were brutes you'd hate to be among.
You smell like fishes-you're vicious! I bet you eat your young.
Meet any one of you the thing to do is run away.
But although I know we're all a bunch of different breeds,
Take away our wings and horns and we're just frightened steeds.
So let's put aside our differences 'cause what we need's a win.”
Unfortunately, this is a theme that is also present in the real world. Many children are raised to believe untrue things about other races, and to fear them. Children are young and impressionable, so of course, when their parents or other adults tell them things, they believe them. They know nothing else. But when we take away the color of our skin, aren’t we the same breed underneath?
Liza Koshy, who voices Zipp Storm completely agrees. In an interview during the My Little Pony: A New Generation press day she says she took to role to thank My Little Pony “for raising me in this world and all the evergreen timeless messages that we all accidentally learned while watching this beautiful colorful world before us as kids.”
Kimiko Glenn, who is the voice of Izzy Moonbow adds, “What really warms my heart and what’s important to me is knowing these messages exist and are out there for kids. You learn without knowing you’re learning.”
To kids, this movie is about Unicorns, and Ponies, and Pegasi – however, they will hopefully realize it could just as easily be about Whites, African Americans, Asian Americans, and the list goes on. Like mentioned earlier, children are sponges. These are very important lessons and themes for them to learn, so to be able to accept other humans, just as these ponies can accept other ponies, is something they will learn from My Little Pony: A New Generation without even knowing they are doing so.
The fact that this film is unafraid to embrace this thought and perspective and pass it on to children is beautiful. Perhaps if kids listen close enough to the lyrics of the songs, and embrace the message of the film, they will discover that no matter what some adults in their lives might teach them about other races, we are all the same, and there is no reason to be afraid.
If enough kids watch My Little Pony: A New Generation, maybe this world will be a better place. With less racism and judging people, you have never met or taken the time to get to know. One can hope so anyways.
My Little Pony: A New Generation has laid the groundwork for a brand-new series, also coming to Netflix, that will explore the world of these new ponies and their adventures after bringing Earth Ponies, Pegasi, and Unicorns together. It can be assumed the same positive messaging will be present.