I’ve been thinking about this for a while and being at Disneyland this past weekend really drove the point home. Frankly, I adore Disney, especially the classic “hand drawn” animations – with music. It just doesn’t get better than that. Since I was little, I’ve been disappointed with the under- representation of my favorite princesses: Pocahontas and Esmeralda. Yes, they are princesses, and no, they are almost never included. What’s up with that? So with the addition of the new Princess Tiana, and her prominence – I just love it.
Why we should be celebrating “The Princess and the Frog” is not merely because Princess Tiana is African-American, but because of the second part of that title. She is American. Just as young black girls now have a princess who “looks” like them, all young American girls of any race , ethnicity, or creed have a Princess who represents them. She is not of France, England, the Ocean, the Americas during British Colonialism, or a fantasy world where Princesses really exist.
Am I supposed to identitfy with Belle because we both have frighteningly pale skin and auburn-brown hair? I hope not. Maybe I like that she reads, or that she’s quirky, or I don’t know, because she has a really great peasant dress. In our search for a colorblind society, how much good are we doing ourselves when we refuse to be just that: colorblind?
Princess Tiana is our own – for everyone to believe in, look up to and love. She embodies American values, American tradition, and perhaps most importantly, American dreams. She is the epitome of hard work, perseverance, and triumphing through adversity. Instead of bringing another racial divide to our culture, of “who” has “what” Princess, why don’t we all love Princess Tiana’s charm, wit, determination, and beauty, together…as Americans.