The Princess and the Frog is not (entirely) racist.


Kiss this little slimy (it's really mucous) bugger at your own risk.

When I learned that the Princess and the Frog was being done by Disney, I had misgivings.

I mean, c’mon. Walt Disney was an out-and-out racist (for all of you who are appalled at this statement, Disney biographers chronicle how he wouldn’t hire African Americans to work at his theme parks because ‘they would spoil the illusion’).

And I was legitimately concerned that the first movie by Disney featuring an African American Princess would be a less-than-flattering portrayal.

My misgivings were not without ammunition. What did we know?

1. The princess gets turned into a frog. Which previous Disney princess movie had the princess meet so ignominious a fate?

2. The princess falls for a non-African American prince. Why can’t we see Black-on-Black love on the big animated screen?

3. The main characters in the promo were characteristically shuckin n’ jivin’. What’s up with the unintelligible firefly and the feeble alligator?

Anyway, I was not going to let my misgivings deprive my daughters of seeing a Black animated heroine and the attendant vicarious experience glory that accompanied it.

So with gentle prodding from wifey, (critical eye) and three kids in tow, I went to critique Disney’s offering enjoy a movie with the children.

And you know what? I loved it!

I came home gushing to the wife about this movie, as if I were a member of the adolescent audience for whom the movie was intended (and from whom this response was anticipated).

No. The princess does not get with a Black prince (he’s brown, and in this instance, that’s good enough). But aside from that, the movie was executed extremely well.

The Princess is not the trifling, neck swinging, tongue-clucking, cliche-slinging characiture of Black women we typically see in animated tales.

She was not hateful towards men and never sought to emasculate the prince.

She was strong, but compassionate. She comes from a good family, with hardworking parents, who instilled in her, character and work ethic.

Aside from the bad guy, Dr. Faciler, the balance of the characters in the movie were wholesome and endearing. The mush-mouthed firefly from the previews was a character of incredible depth (especially for a children’s movie) and not at all off-putting.

In the final analysis, while I still think they should have had the princess marry a BLACK man proper, that is the movie’s singular (and forgivable) fault.

If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

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7 Comments

Filed under Parenting

7 responses to “The Princess and the Frog is not (entirely) racist.

  1. Craig Robinson

    No problem with Mammy, I mean, “Mama Odie” or the big lipped, dark skinned Voodoo witch doctor?

    Like

  2. Pingback: Folks, Disney is not less racist than before because it tacked on a Black princess Pt. II | Elia's Diamonds

  3. GRIECO

    Loved the movie myself. Being the proud mama of 4 children, all ranging in shades of browness, I thought it was kind of cool that the prince was brown. I actually thought that he was white prior to seeing the movie…silly me… and was pleasantly surprsied to see he wasn’t because I knew the flack from that would be neverending. Plus, let’s face it…I’m partial to brown/black men…LOL But, I think it added a different dimension to the flim by mixing the pot so to speak…loved it!

    Like

  4. Rachael Quinn-Egan

    I love your post on this movie, and am in total agreement. I had the same fears, and the same response to this movie. I am white woman (turning in to a warrior mama) from Ireland, with two little girls (princess crazed) from NYC, one Brown, and one Black. For the past 4 years I have been on an adventure of discovery when it comes to race. I thought I knew what I was talking about, before I became part of a multiracial family. Now I am only beginning to REALLY get it. It’s a minefield out there.

    Like

    • @Rachael, kudos to you for being racially aware. It’s definitely difficult raising Black or Brown children in a predominantly white society, especially if you’re not Black or Brown (and even if you are!!) Please make every effort to expose your children to cultural things that help them know themselves, so that they are armed with a great sense of identity when they go into society without you. The ‘minefield’ is ignorance, and the best way to combat it is with knowledge.

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  5. Thanks for the review. I will check it out with boys.

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