Disney and Whitewashing

(Still kind of unclear on what I should be blogging about, but the Daybook said “Post as response to something” so I’m posting a response/commentary on some social justice BS I’ve been seeing around Tumblr.)

Earlier this morning I reblogged this post on Tumblr concerning the uproar over how Disney had once again “whitewashed” their movie. It’s been popular among the “social justice bloggers” to rip Disney a new one over the fact that Rapunzel, Merida, and now Anna and Elsa, are all White. Often they say something along the lines of “Hey, Cinderella, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, etc. are all White! There aren’t enough Princesses of Color! THEY’RE WHITEWASHING!”

Whitewashing (in this sense) would be if Disney had taken the movie Aladdin, made Jasmine blonde and White, and renamed her Jessica. That’s not what Disney has done. Most of the princesses were from Germany, England, and France. In those time periods, those countries were predominantly White. Where there probably PoC living there? Yes, but not many. Could Disney have included PoC as background characters? Sure, but you have to keep in mind that at the time the first Disney movies came out EVERYONE WAS RACIST. Racism was a highly internalized concept. That’s not the case now, so don’t blame the current movie-makers for what their predecessors did.

Should Disney do more movies featuring non-european cultures? Absolutely. They could probably solve all their perceived racial issues by doing movies based off of The Royal Diaries.

On the other hand, social justice bloggers need to calm the *bleep* down, and maybe try to learn something about the involved cultures before you speak on their behalf (or else you’ll get totally pwned).

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4 thoughts on “Disney and Whitewashing

  1. I was just thinking about this earlier, except in literature not with Disney movies. I was thinking about how some people say that Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain was a racist, evidenced by his racist Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn stories. On the other hand, others say that the novel was actually making an anti-racism statement. …

    People will always find something to be offended by or to complain about, especially when they don’t understand something like context.

  2. Thank you! Finally, someone who knows that what they’re talking about!

    Perhaps not everyone realizes that most of these stories were written long before Disney welcomed them into its family. Then they make accusations against Disney without realizing that there is an original history and context for the stories (and the times Disney was working). Either way, I’m so glad you addressed it. Hopefully it will help clean some things up.

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