Coal Black and the Seven Lil' Dudes ©
Do you really want Disney to include you?
You know things are bad when you have to petition the folks at Walt Disney to create representations of your people.
You already know how I feel about asinine emails but I had to comment on this one. I had an email forwarded to me that was, apparently, written by an African-American mother who, during a trip to Disney World, had to explain to her daughter why there weren’t any princesses who looked like her. She responded by saying, “Unfortunately, Disney has not created fairytales for children like you. In other words, there are no Princesses' of African-American descent." Imagine that. Anyway, this conclusion led Mom to contact Disney to find out why there aren’t any black princesses. According to the email, she managed to get a Disney representative on the phone who, if I can paraphrase, explained to her that the Chinese got Mulan, Native Americans got Pocahontas, folks from the
Initially, I hoped that this was one of those routinely circulated fictitious emails meant to jolt the “black community” out of our perceived state of apathy. Not that I’m a fan of those, but I imagine that they’re created and disseminated based on some misguided attempt to create black solidarity. If this email is authentic, it begs the question: Have we failed our children so miserably that we need to ask Disney to help build their self-esteem by inventing black versions of their soulless, racist, and sexist cartoon characters? Do we really want our daughters to grow up emulating Princess Jasmine, whose only concern in Aladdin was choosing her own husband? Do we want to encourage our daughters to accept the insulting, whitewashed history of Disney’s Pocahontas? Do we want our daughters to reject their own culture and exalt another, like the Little Mermaid? Do we want our daughters to be empowered only to the degree that they can disobey their fathers and pursue unsanctioned romances like (take your pick)?
More to the point, it’s pretty goddamned sad that, after all we’ve done and been put through in this country we have to beg any corporation to create an African-American anything. At this late date, if I’m not already at the party, I don’t want an invitation.
Labels: Cultural Criticism