Zip A Dee Do Dah…

with “the princess and the frog” disney has finally given the public its first african-american princess.

joy. rapture.

im sorry, was that not enthusiastic enough for you? [shrug] im just tired of society patting ppl on the back and praising them for making sputtering attempts at humanity and being touted as making progress. especially when it has been proven that said person/entity can do better.

lets just look at “frog” for a second. why is she the only disney princess with an accent? mulan didnt have one. pocahontas didnt have one. belle is french. she didnt have one. cinderella is german. she didnt have one. jasmine is from some amorphous pseudo-middle eastern kingdom. she didnt have one. so not sure whats going on there.

also, she’s not a princess. she’s just a random girl in new orleans who marries rich.  in fact, she’s just a glorified maid. i suppose everyone now will say “no she’s a cook! and wasnt cinderella a maid? there was no problem THERE.” um no, cinderella wasnt a “maid”. one, she was from the aristocracy [her family got invited to the royal ball, remember?] two, she technically legally owned the house she was a “maid” in. she just happened to have some f*cked up relatives. neither is the case for tiana [that’s our princess’ name, btw].

really disney? thats the best you can give us? a random spunky new orleans chef girl? when everyone else has gotten a genuine princess? [with the exceptions of mulan and pocahontas, which are historical tales]. there arent any african fairy tales you couldve adapted ala aladdin? you couldnt have made up a kingdom [like you did with agrabah] or a completely new story [like you did with lion king]? nope, sorry black ppl. you get random new orleans chef girl.

also, sure, yay great, we have an african american “princess”….soooo…how long till we get an african american prince?  or do we not rank as prince material? is that what this movie is saying? that sure black women can achieve their dreams and become princesses, but black men cant?  that to succeed you need to leave your race behind? [after all tiana’s parents are both black, and sure they’re happy, but they dont seem to have “made it” or escaped their circumstances right?] also, the prince dude naveen isnt “white” or “creole” or anything [which would make sense seeing as how they’re in new orleans and all]. he’s whatever the fictional ethnicity is in the fictional country of maldonia. so forget a black prince existing for black women, real princes PERIOD dont exist for black women.

third, disney made a “mistake” here that they clearly know how to avoid since they did it in aladdin. see, in aladdin, there are no such things as “arab” stereotypes, b/c everyone is arabic. sure there’s the stock “cutthroat arab” character, but next to him is the very heroic and also very arabic aladdin. so instead of being the “cutthroat arab” the character becomes just the “cutthroat character”. in “princess” the villian is the big bad voodoo black dude. who tiana and naveen have to fight together. so listen little black girls, to save the day and accomplish ur dreams, ur gonna have to beat down black guys, most often teaming up with non-black guys to do so, b/c non-black guys are good, and black guys are evil.

i suppose now ppl will start saying “why are you projecting all these ideas of race onto the little kids that are watching this movie? little kids dont see race! theyre just watching a movie!” true. kids dont think about race. because this is the age that theyre LEARNING about it. much like the reason why you plunk these same kids in front of sesame street to learn their numbers and alphabet. they dont turn their learning switch off just b/c theyre watching a non-educational cartoon. or do you really think that issues of self-esteem and self-perception occur b/c one day someone says “ok. right now im gonna sit down and consciously absorb the concept of race and race relations.”

please stop being so disingenuous. or at the very least, if ur one of the women praising “princess” for raising the self-esteem and image of black girls and how it can do no wrong, please do not be the same women who lament and decry the lack of “good” black men.

–MaNishtana

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14 thoughts on “Zip A Dee Do Dah…

  1. Interesting post. I haven’t seen the movie, and don’t plan to, but I figured it would fail in all the ways that you mentioned here. Disney has a pretty good track record of perpetuating facile and offensive stereotypes about various groups (women in particular). I would point out, though, that at the time of its release, various Arab American groups raised a fuss about lyrics in the songs of the movie “Aladdin.” In particular, they objected to Robin Williams’ lines “where they cut off your nose if they don’t like your face, it’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home!” At the time, nobody really cared because anti-Arab sentiment was alive and well in conjunction with the Gulf War (first edition, TM). It’s amazing the sort of knee-jerk idiocy people can propagate without really thinking about it. I imagine the folks at Disney didn’t really analyze their own preconceptions before developing this “oeuvre.”

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  2. Loved the Chrismukkah blog. I’ve always wondered how one can align two religions who have diametrically opposed takes on arrival of the Messiah. Chrism’s believe He’s come and will again and the kkah contingent steadfastly believing Moshiach is yet to arrive. Ne’er the twin shall meet. Except on Hallmark greeting cards, I suppose.

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  3. I guess this is very good news if you are white male and single like me. All you African American girls out there, guys with your skin color, like MaNishtana for example, are evil. You deserve a heroic white dude. You know like Izgad. :p

    When do we get more such tolerant movies?

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  4. I didn’t really care about the movie until some Twitter pals started tweeting about it. I began to see the merchandise at stores and I really looked at it.

    Why could not Tiana have been a “princess”? Aren’t Black girls/women princess material? All other races are. I am thinking of the Japanese woman who married a Norwegian Prince, I believe. America is very race-oriented and it’ll never change. Forget Obama. He proves nothing to me about the issue of race in this country. I grew up during the era of the “one drop” rule. One drop of Black blood and that made you Black. Really was a thing in the South especially. Many mixed-race people with a Black parent in the deal were actually ruled Black. Regardless of how light in color you were. So much for feeling special. We are sopposed to jump up and down because of Tiana. Hmmm. Nah. The Prince sounds Brazilian or some such. No good Black men examples out here? For me, Avery Brooks would have done it or you, MaNishtana but we need you out there pulling the sheets off the suckers. Keep it up! Love ya!

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    1. I think Black Women should be with white men. And Black Men should be with white women. Especially as far as black jews go. How else are Black Jews going to be accepted. It isn’t self hate. Why? Because mixed babies are cute. Duh!!!

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  5. You give Disney far too much credit. They dumb down everything they touch, including when they co-opted the tale of the real-life “Lion King” Sundiata Keita. http://is.gd/5xl55

    My daughter isn’t into Disney princesses and has expressed zero interest in this movie. We’ll prolly go see it Xmas Day just ’cause, but I’m not expecting much (that way I won’t be let down.) LOL

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  6. Oh wow…what kind of ‘accent’ does Tiana have? Now I an intrigued. But I don’t want to pay money for a movie ticket to go see this. I’ll catch it on bootleg or wait for it to come out on DVD I guess.

    Does not surprise me though; Disney is notorious for its cultural insensitivity.

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  7. Several years ago, I got all excited, reading that Disney was going to do Sundiata…
    what we actually got was Lion King.

    It’s Disney, they’ve gotten up to about 1960 now… *sigh*

    Mulan by the way, sort of missed the original point of the original story, and that made me horribly horribly sad… (at the same time I loved Mulan) It’s not about individuality, it’s about her devotion/loyalty to her family… joining the army so that elderly/ill dad wouldn’t be called up. (Disney co doesn’t quite get how other cultures work, or if they DO, someone presumes the general public WON’T and buffs it out.)

    So at on the one hand, I’m tickled fuschia to have a dark skinned heroine in a frilly dress to get for my god-daughter/ersatz grandchild, I wish she could have been an actual princess.
    (hmmm, I think my fabric stash has some bits of African style prints…)

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  8. I personally enjoyed the movie. It depicted a black woman who didn’t grow up rich but had to work hard to get everything she wanted in life. She had a dream and she approached getting that dream by saving money, working hard and never giving up. She taught her “prince” friend, who she didn’t even like in the beginning, that people, like him, born with a sliver spoon in their mouths, don’t appreciate or even understand what it is to work for a living. The messages to me were quite the contrary to what some of you are saying. The prince taught her to live a little and not get so bogged down and depressed so as to not enjoy yourself a bit. Remember, in the film all she does is work work work. She never goes out and has fun with her friends. I think many of the critics here MUST not have even SEEN the film. I don’t understand how you can judge something without even seeing it.

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    1. I am glad to hear it. I mean, every time they make a non white princess they marry them off with people of their own culture. That is so gross. I am so glad that they made it an interracial situation. Hopefully more young black girls will grow up for a distaste for black man as much as disney and white america has. This way we can all find peace. 🙂

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