Disney is RAAAAAAACIST!! now too
Disney is RAAAAAAACIST!! now too
The RAAAAAAACIST!! brigade is at it again, this time with Disney’s upcoming animated feature, The Princess and the Frog. Controversy is swirling, with Disney being called racist for its depiction of their first black princess. The “princess” franchise is a lucrative one for Disney, and includes the princesses Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Mulan. Princess Tiana will be not only the first black princess, but also the first American princess.
There have been a number of accusations of racism against Disney with this film, from the fact that the prince appears to be white, to the heroine’s original name and occupation, and where the film takes place.
WALT Disney’s first black princess is steeped in controversy, with the studio changing her name and job, but still facing claims of racial insensitivity.
Following claims of racial insensitivity, the studio — known for its wholesome and predominantly white family values — has made several changes to its first African-American princess, Tiana.
Voiced by Anika Noni Rose, Tiana is the star of a new animated film to be released this Christmas, titled The Princess and the Frog. Tiana’s mother will be played by talk-show host Oprah Winfrey.
Disney has changed the profession of the princess to an aspiring restaurant entrepreneur, instead of being a chambermaid.
It has also changed her name — Tiana, instead of Maddy. Critics thought Maddy was too similar to Mammy — a once-common term for black female slaves in white households.
The controversy has intensified after it was revealed the film would be set in New Orleans and Tiana would find love with an almost-white prince.
His skin has been described as olive-toned and he will be voiced by Brazilian actor Bruno Campos.
“What? No black prince? What’s up with this?” blogged James Collier on Acting White, an anti-racism website.
“Perhaps Disney doesn’t want the future mothers of dwindling white America being imprinted so early in their lives with the notion of a black suitor.”
Another blogger, Angela Helm, complained to the Black Voices website that even though there was a real-life black man in the highest office in the land, Disney seemed to think a black man was not “worthy of the title of prince”.
… Executives at the company have tried to play down the controversy. During the development of any movie, it was common to change titles, character names and story points, a source told the London Times.
“The name Tiana evolved with the character. She’s a strong role model for everyone. She pursues the American dream of starting her own business and she does that with a strong work ethic,” a source said.
As for the claim the New Orleans setting and voodoo themes play on black stereotypes, the source said: “New Orleans is an ideal setting for an American fairytale set in the jazz age — it’s all part of the fabric of the story.”
So, Disney is racist for all of these ridiculous reasons. I’m sure it will be said that I couldn’t possibly understand (because I’m white), but I don’t care. This is one of the most ridiculous accusations of racism I have ever read.
Apparently, the biggest issue is that the prince is “white”. Well, here is the white prince:
Maybe it’s just my take, but he doesn’t seem outright “white” to me. He definitely is olive-toned, as Disney has said, and you could arguably say that he could be a light-skinned black man, a hispanic man, a dark-skinned white man, or even a biracial man. And in any case, does it really matter? Aren’t we supposed to be living in a post-racial world now, where skin color no longer matters? I would think that, even if the prince is supposed to be white, that it wouldn’t be a bad thing. Wouldn’t it be a positive to show that a couple can fall in love and live happily without the barriers of race?
The answer is no, it’s apparently not a positive for the race-baiting crowd. I would actually hazard a guess that Disney would’ve been criticized regardless of the skin color they’d chosen for the prince.
What really floors me are the accusations of racism over her original name and occupation. The character was originally named Maddy, which is supposedly RAAAAACIST!! because it’s similar to the slave name “Mammy”. Nevermind that Maddy was short for Madeleine, a French name. When you think about the French roots in New Orleans, doesn’t that make sense? And considering that her original job, a maid, is exactly the same as two white princesses, Snow White and Cinderella, can you really claim there’s racism there as well? The maid-to-princess story is classic. It’s not like Disney threw only Tiana into a job as a maid, while the rest of the (white) princesses led charmed lives. Only four of the princesses even started out as princesses (and only two of them were white!): Aurora, Ariel, Jasmine, and Pocahontas. Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, and Mulan all came from humble upbringings, and all of the princesses had to overcome adversity to win the heart of their respective princes.
Lastly, considering this movie has been in the works since 2006, I highly doubt it came about in an effort to cash in on the Obama presidency.
I personally think that all of the yammering from the RAAAAAACIST!! crowd is actually more racist in this situation. To automatically assume that race is a factor in everything is racist in and of itself, yes? It is not racist for a black woman to be a maid, nor is it racist for a white woman to be a maid. It’s a job. The name Maddy is not racist. Hell, a (WHITE) friend of mine has a daughter with that name. And if skin color is just that and nothing more, then why does it matter if the black princess ends up with a black man or a white man? Two Disney princesses went inter-species, for crying out loud. If Ariel and Belle could fall in love with someone of a different species and find ways to overcome that, then what is really so bad about dating someone of a different skin color?
These race-baiters need to grow up and move on. Racism is not lurking on every street corner, in every movie, and in every white person you see. I can guarantee, though, that if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re bound to find it every time.