This New York Times article about Disney’s first African American princess is just loaded with ignorant, unsupported beliefs about race and the usual dose of idiotic remarks and viewpoints. (As usual, ten bucks says that the writer is a white male.) It’s a prime example of somebody who thinks he is discussing race intelligently but is really exposing the depths of ignorance.
First off, note the writer takes pains to include two opinions of African Americans who support Disney. One is the voice of the princess and the other is an ex-employee, because obviously they are the voice of fair and impartial reason. He also notes that the “final word” should come from an African American, and gives us this gem of a quote:
“Overly sensitive people see racial or ethnic slights in every image,” wrote Floyd Norman, whose credits span from “Sleeping Beauty” to “Mulan,” in a 2007 essay on the Web site Jim Hill Media. “And in their zeal to sanitize and pasteurize everything, they’ve taken all the fun out of cartoon making.”
Oversensitivity. Desire to sanitize everything. And taking all the fun out of racism. Because you can’t have fun without racism, you know. Where’s your sense of humor? And hey! A black guy said it!
And everybody knows that “cartoons by their nature trade in caricatures.” Racist caricatures, no doubt. And “Mainstream producers have largely avoided characters of color for fear of offending minority groups, although black producers have been creating cartoons featuring stereotyped characters since the days of ‘Fat Albert.'”
So cartoons are by their nature racist stereotypes and additionally it’s no fair that black people get to use black stereotypes but mainstream (white) producers don’t! Because the lack of characters of color has nothing to do with underrepresentation in the studio, but everything to do with the white fear of offending!
Poor old Disney! They’ve worked so hard to promote this black princess and “carefully” think through the film, but do they get thanks? No!
Disney often gets criticized no matter how carefully it strives to put together its television shows, theme-park attractions, and movies. For years, Disney has been lambasted by parents for not having a black princess. Now, some of those same voices are taking aim at the company without seeing the finished product.
Ingrates, all of you! Ingrates!
I’m just cynical enough to believe that Disney did “carefully” craft this movie, with an eye towards increasing its market share in the African American community and the dominance of the Disney Princess line.
By the way, can you name those princesses? Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Belle … Geez, I know there are a couple more. But for some reason only the white ones seem to have left an impression. Can you get cake toppers and party favor bags with Mulan on them? Or how about Pocahontas? (And does anybody other than me think it’s really symbolic that Disney still celebrates a princess named “Snow White”?)
The writer goes on to state that “in the last 20 years, Disney has made huge strides in depicting race.” No support for this other than the mention of the 1997 Brandy Cinderella and 1998’s Mulan. My math is unstereotypically lousy, but 1997 was just 12 years ago.
In any event, what about Mulan is “celebrated”?
In 1998, “Mulan” was celebrated as a rare animated feature that depicted Chinese characters with realistic-looking slanted eyes; most animated films (even those from Japan) had Westernized versions of Asian people until that time.
“Realistic-looking slanted eyes”? Because white people could realistically represent Chinese characters while even Japanese people were incapable of doing so.
Here’s the “final word” from a person of color who has long hated Disney for its skillful insinuation of racism and sexism into the American (world?) subconscious:
Oh. Hell. No.