So I made this thing and I’m pretty proud of it, haha.
Anytime I see any of these stupid power points on tumblr attacking Disney, I’m going to respond. Full disclosure: I’m a white male, and if you identify as a SJW, odds are we don’t see eye to eye on much.
So, let’s start on this powerpoint. Slide number one shows an image of the ten Disney princesses. Six of them are white, four are POC. Right off the bat the powerpoint says “Let’s talk about this lack of diversity,” while showing a pretty diverse image. Only 60% of the shown princesses are white. For comparison, approximately 72% of Americans are white. So the stated “lack of diversity” in Disney films is backed up by an image which is already more diverse than the United States as a whole. Okay.
Because Disney is an American company, it makes sense that they they would produce films intended to appeal to American audiences. Chinese films generally don’t star black or white actors; they star Chinese actors. Similarly, Bollywood movies generally star Indian actors.
Now, the United States is far more racially diverse / racially tolerant than either India or China. While it’s okay for ethically homogeneous countries to reflect that homogeneity in their entertainment industry, it would be absolutely not okay for the entertainment industry in the United States to only showcase white Americans, because approximately 30% (that’s a huge percentage) of our population belong to minority racial groups. Supposing that Disney has a “social obligation” to showcase this diversity would imply that company ought to have approximately 30% of its characters belong to racial minority groups.
So, going on to the next slides in the powerpoint, we see that, in fact, approximately 30% (or more) of Disney heroes / heroines are *gasp* POC. Accurately representing the demographics of the United States (target audience) in their films? Can you believe the nerve of Disney?
Next slide, we get to this beautiful line: “If Pocahontas and Mulan appear in the back of group shots, how are children supposed to get the chance to like them like they like Ariel, Rapunzel, or Snow White?” Really? Pocahontas and Mulan are perpetually stuffed in the back to make room for Snow White and Ariel? What about the image from the very first slide of this power point? In fact, in that image, I see Pocahontas AND Mulan are both located further forward / to the center than Ariel OR Rapunzel OR Snow White. Saying that POC princesses are usually located behind white princesses is a very finicky argument, because there are dozens of different orders / lineups that Disney uses with the princess line.
(Also, EVERYBODY loves Mulan)
(Also also, who actually likes Snow White? She was the first princesses, sure, but she’s actually probably the least popular of the lot..)
Anyway, on that same slide, OP writes that “White children are going to have a much easier time finding representation..” I don’t really like saying this, but, ummm… No kidding? MOST people in the United States are white, does it not make sense that the majority of the merchandise would be tailored towards them?
Later on, my favorite quote from the powerpoint: “There comes a point when we say ‘Enough is enough. This is getting boring.’” I find it humorous that this is included as if it was a substantive argument, when, in fact, it’s just racist bullshit.
FUN FACT, until Rapunzel, there was not a single white Princess released since 1991. I’m 20 years old. You know what princesses were released during my lifetime? Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, and Rapunzel. 80% of those are POC. ONE is white. And yet, Disney is somehow boring youby that single release of a white princess? Okayyyy.
You really don’t want to get into the debate about Frozen, because trying to insist that its stars should actually be POC is a seriously weak argument. It’s based off of a Danish fairy tale, and its setting is clearly identified as ancient Norway. It would not make sense if the characters were somehow Incan or Chinese or African, just like it wouldn’t make any sense if there were random white or Hispanic people throw into the background in Mulan.
Also, just so we’re clear, since 1993 (when I was born):
- There have been six main Disney animated movies staring POC (Pocahontas, Mulan, The Emperor’s New Groove, Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear, Princess and the Frog).
- There have been eight main Disney animated movies staring white people (Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Tarzan, Atlantis, Treasure Planet, Meet the Robinsons, Wreck-It-Ralph, Tangled).
In a country which is 30% POC, having 42% of your movies star POC is somehow grounds for being called “Giant Dickbags” by random idiots on Tumblr. Okay. Guess Disney should only make movies staring minorities now, or else they risk incurring the wrath of keyboard warriors nationwide.
Disney is an amazing company and doesn’t deserve even a fraction of the vitriol that people on this website levy against against it. They do a tremendous job of being inclusive.
An interesting post and then a pretty extensive rebuttal.