Disney Says Their Newest Princess is Latina, But is She Really?
Hola, Disney Princess fans! We've had plenty of white princesses, a Native American one (kind of?), an Asian one, an African-American one, and... What's missing on the racial color wheel of friendliness and equality? A Latina Princess! And Disney has announced that yes, their newest princess is Latina. Well, sort of.
Back in 2011 Disney announced the coming of a new princess -- a younger one, aimed at kids two to seven, who will get her own movie and television show. Her name is Sofia and she's a miniaturized version of a Disney Princess with all the hallmarks we've come to recognize: bouncy hair, big eyes, and a princess crown, obviously.
According to Gawker, during a press tour of the Princess Sofia production offices (every princess gets her own production office, duh), a blogger noticed that Sofia's mom seemed to have darker skin, to which executive producer Jamie Mitchell responded, "She's Latina." But vice president of Disney Junior's original programming was quick to clarify, "We never actually call it out." So she's Latina, but only because we say so. Let's just enjoy that she's vaguely ethnic and move on. (Actually, Entertainment Weekly reports her heritage as some made-up thing called, "half-Enchancian and half-Galdizian." Whatever that means.)
UPDATE: Now Disney claims Sofia isn't Latina, despite earlier claiming she is. In a statement on their Facebook page they say, "All our characters come from fantasy lands that may reflect elements of various cultures and ethnicities but none are meant to specifically represent those real world cultures.”
The important thing to remember here is that Princess Sofia's race does not define her as a princess -- no, she is defined by the privilege into which she was born and the way we'll see her interact with cute talking animals. In addition, the promotional image above credits her as "Sofia the First," but what is she the "first" of? The first maybe-sort-of Latina in the Disney Princess family, or the first in that obnoxious internet comment board way where she shows up everywhere early and is all, "FIRST!" but no one cares because it's like, "Yeah, well, now what?"