Hello Meltingpot Readers,
I hate to beat a dead race horse (pun intended), but sometimes I can’t help it. Have your heard all of the excitement over the fact that Disney was about to introduce their first Latina princess, Princess Sofia?
I’d heard faint rumblings about it here and there, but it wasn’t until folks got a glimpse of the cartoon princess that the twitterverse blew up with cries of whitewashing. Apparently this Latina princess has milky white skin, blue eyes, and reddish-brown hair. She doesn’t speak Spanish, is voiced by a White actress and, well, doesn’t seem all that Latina. Of course, the controversy comes back to the issue we’ve all been talking about here on the Meltingpot regarding the race of Latinos. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Latino is not a race. It refers to a group of people living in the United States who come from Mexico, Central and South America (not including Brazil) and parts of the Caribbean. Latino people can be black, white, brown, and other. So, of course, some people think it’s okay that Princess Sofia looks like every other White Disney princess and pixie. Some Latinas look like that too. This is true.
But. And there is a big but in this story.
Princess Sofia, according to Disney, has a mother from a made up kingdom based on Spain. Her father is from a made-up kingdom based on Scandinavia. If a Spaniard procreates with a Swede or a Dane, for example, the resulting child is not Latina. She’s Spanish and Swedish. Racially, she’d be White. You could also call her a European. You could stretch and call her bicultural. What you could not call her, is Latina. I don’t care what she looks like.
Somebody at Disney has clearly realized their ginormous faux pas and is trying to do damage control by stating that Sofia isn’t in fact, Latina, but rather, she’s of “mixed heritage.” But they should really get a new diversity director over there because not only is ‘mixed heritage’ misleading when you’re talking about a kid with two European parents, they used the following line in their explanation of Sofia’s background.
“For example, Sofia’s mom comes from a fictitious land, Galdiz, which was inspired by Spain [...] this creates a world of diversity and inclusion that sends just the right kind of message to all children..”
I’m sorry, I love Spain, but ‘diversity and inclusion’ are not the words I would use to describe its culture or its people. To read more about the Disney backtrack on Sofia’s Latina heritage, check out this story on the Huffington Post.
great commercial success of Disney’s first Black princess, Princess Tiana, I guess Mickey and dem decided it was time for little Latina girls to have their moment in a glass slipper. Not to mention, it was time for Disney to have a product that would entice Latina mothers to spend insane amounts of money on Princess Sofia merchandise. Just in time for the holidays. Nice try Disney, but I’d call this one an epic fail.
Suddenly, I have a new appreciation for Dora the Explorer.