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In the movie “The Princess and The Frog”, the main character that plays a role of the princess is portrayed by a Black girl called Tiana. This is also the first time that Disney has made a movie using a Black person as the main character, even though already existing characters like Mulan and Pocahontas were also non-white. By looking at this only, one can come to the conclusion that the Disney movie is trying to get rid of any character decisions based on races or skin colors. However, through the detailed descriptions and in-depth analysis of the movie, we can tell that there are some racical controversies going around in Disney movies.

First of all, the main character Tiana and her white friend Charlotte’s lives are completely different. Since their childhoods, Charlotte lived in a fancy house along with her father who was very popular among people. Compared to this, Tiana’s family was actually very ordinary; and Tiana’s father had a dream to open up his own restaurant. Before he gets to do that, Tiana finds that her father has passed away. Instead of her father, Tiana works really hard to fulfill the dream for her father, by sacrificing her own free time for working double shift as a waitress. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s father is nominated as a king in the upcoming Mardi Gras Parade and Charlotte gets to have Prince Naveen as her guest in he r house. In here is given the first reason to why the racial identity here is controversial; Disney makes it seem that Black people are always in a low status job than the White people, so that the White people can always receive services provided by Black people.

Second, there is the racial controversy of setting the characters’ racial identity. If the princess of the movie is set as a Black girl, then it would be very natural to also have a Black Prince Naveen. However, the prince here is shown as a White man. This gives us some assumptions that Disney still feels uncomfortable of having a Black prince, and still has some conceptions that royalties always need to be White. Also, setting the Shadow Man as the Black person also relates to the perception of African Americans as weird people that rely on the voodoo magic. Even though the Disney hadn’t intentionally planned these out to cause discrimination against certain ethnic people, it can be sadly known that these people draw and formulate movies’ characters based on their stereotypes. This shows how stereotypes and prejudice result in a strong concept or a belief of a certain group or an individual.

Furthermore, it is important to know the settings of this movie, in which it is set in New Orleans. The region of New Orleans is very famous for being the birthplace of Black jazz, dancing and many other musical developments. I assume that Disney has purposely picked New Orleans to intensify the realistic aspects of jazz culture by the Black people. However, New Orleans is also the place in which most of the Black population was devastated after Hurricane Katrina swept over it. Therefore, using the place where the Black population was affected in a negative way could be quite controversial.

After all, this movie is just another fairy story designed to grab little children’s mind. Therefore it could be a little bit too much for us to criticize this racial identity shown in the Disney movies. However it is also very important to realize that even if Disney is trying to make a revolution of fairy stories’ main characters’ race, they can’t help using the perceptions that they hold onto the common things (e.g. Prince should be white). Until all these stereotypes are no longer present, we need to constantly remind ourselves that we need to look at things from different perspectives, and try to include everything from others’ view to make sure that it makes sense for everyone.



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