Sofia the First: Disney’s first princess with Spanish influence. (Courtesy Disney)

Urban baby blog: I refuse to defend the Latinaness of Disney’s new princess

In the past 24 hours I have gotten no fewer than 10 articles sent to me by non-Hispanic white people about the Disney Princess that may or may not be Latina. Some were even posted to my Facebook wall.

Dear all the gringos who are sending me links to articles about the Latina Disney princess not being Latina enough.

Stop it. Stop telling me you’re surprised that I haven’t “weighed in.” Stop telling me this is “up my alley.”

This is not up my alley. I’m not going to write about it. Aside from the fact that posting links about the racial identity of the Disney princess to my Facebook wall is super patronizing, it’s racist.

Yep. Racist.

It’s racist to assume that the only reason I didn’t weigh in on it is because I didn’t know about it. Thanks whitey. I don’t read or spend any significant amount of  time consuming media or on the Internet. So it’s a good thing you sent me that article about the pale-face princess.

It’s racist to assume that because of my light complexion, that I’m going to come out and defend the Latinaness of Princess What’s-Her-Name-Probably-Something-Ethnic-Like-Milagros. It’s racist to want me to write about color and the Hispanic community (a conversation Latinos have all the time) as a white person so you can eavesdrop on it and use my article as evidence that you aren’t racist when you defend the Princess Disney’s whiteness to your darker skinned and/or liberal friends.

You don’t care what color the princess is. You just want to see a fight. A fight between the light-skinned Hispanics and the dark ones. You want the light-skinned Hispanics to say, “She looks like me!” or “We come in all different colors. Even white!” so you can get that warm, fuzzy “just voted for Obama” feeling without having to buy a brown doll for your daughter, or even more awkward, a brown girl Halloween costume. Is bronzer racist? What about the stuff Mitt Romney uses?

I take back the Obama joke from the last paragraph. I heard he isn’t black enough.

You want me to weigh in on it? Fine.

Yes. Latinos come in all shades. But that isn’t the point. Giving the princess blonde hair and blue eyes and then slapping a Latina label on her might be a cop-out. Might not. It isn’t about labels. It’s about little girls watching a movie about a princess that looks like them. Blah blah blah but Rachel, your daughter is blonde! Yes, and she has Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and that girl from Tangled. She doesn’t need to see herself in another unrealistic love story about a vaguely European monarchy and witchcraft.

But Jasmine! Pocahontas! That effeminate Incan llama!  The creepy Mexican boat ride at Epcot! Clearly the brown quota has already been reached.

It’s worth mentioning that Disney took back the Latina label. Apparently affirmative action was overturned in Fantasy Land. Why do we even still have affirmative action? Didn’t you know? Some of us are white. Racism is over!

I’m not saying that Disney was right or wrong to call  a blonde cartoon girl Latina. It doesn’t matter. Are other aspects of  Hispanic culture in the movie? Any Spanish? A wise-cracking stereotypically ethnic animal sidekick? A mango? Because if not, calling her Hispanic would be a cop-out, no matter what color she is.

Urban baby blog: I refuse to defend the Latinaness of Disneys new princess rachel levin figueroa nbc parenting family NBC Latino News

Rachel Figueroa-Levin is a soapmaker, cofounder and educator at Urban Babywearing, a hyperlocal Inwood blogger and organizer, a political/life/religion/parenting satirist, and all around trouble maker.  She is also the creator New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Spanish-speaking alter ego @elbloombito.  You can reach her via twitter @Jewyorican. 

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