When The Princess and the Frog was released in 2009, folks feared that the first Disney film to feature a black princess would be riddled with racist images and stereotypes. Disney offered plenty of fuel for that fire, with critics taking issue with Princess Tiana's portrayal as a maid, the Haitian medicine man who wears an African mask and dabbles in Voodoo and the mammylike fairy godmother. Oh, and there is, of course, the fact that Princess Tiana spends most of her time on-screen not as a black princess but as a frog.
And to keep the tradition of racial insensitivity going, the Society Pages reports that Disney recently used Princess Tiana's image to promote its watermelon-flavored, Valentine's Day-themed candy, Dig n' Dips. What's worse, white Sleeping Beauty appears alongside Tiana promoting the vanilla-flavored version.
Did no one at Disney stop to think that this might be a bad idea? It's hard to imagine that a multimillion-dollar empire and an American cultural institution could so foolishly play right into one of the most pervasive black stereotypes. It's also hard to imagine what Disney will say in its defense, but "it wasn't intentional" probably won't cut it. We don't know what's worse: a purposeful nod to the "black folks love watermelon" cliché or the complete cluelessness that such a stereotype exists.
Read more at the Society Pages.