Controversy over Disney’s interracial film

Posted by Ria, 30 Mar 09

Disney has its first African American princess, Tiana, in the new interracial film set in New Orleans - “The princess and the frog” - which is to be released in December this year. However, like everything tagged interracial, controversy hasn’t escaped this one either. And it all revolves around the Black princess’ love interest Prince Naveen of Maldonia, a white man.

"It seems to cause some controversy that the princess falls in love with a white prince in the movie”, says Brown, Bang Media. Apparently people are questioning the racist nature of Disney and feel they should have let a Black man be Prince too.

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Who said Disney’s first Black princess must have a matching Black prince? I thought people would applaud interracial love since its breaking down segregation. In my opinion, the demand for Disney’s leading couple to be Black is what’s racist.

Do you think there is any real substance to this controversy?

101 responses to "Controversy over Disney’s interracial film"

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  1. Posted: 30 May 10

    Mike, what you should have said was "I bet these is not one person on here ignorant enough to agree with me". I don't think you're a bad person, but living in a backwater racist rebel state has brainwashed you. First of all, anthropologists learned over a century ago that no one on earth is of a pure race. Not only is it incorrect to classify by racew by skin color, it is absurd to classify races by nationality as you do. Secondly, scientists are now beginning to acknowledge that defining a race by skin color is barking up the worng tree, and that there is actually no such thing as biological races. It is a scientific fact there there is only one race of humans on earth, and that's the human race. For further clarification, read "The Race Myth" by Joseph Graves who is one of the world's leading evolutionary biologists. Race does exist as a social construct, but the more mixing there is, the closer we'll get back to the way we were originally...and that's a good thing! Besides, I'm proud to be an American, and one of the things America stands for is freedom of choice. I love my Afro girls and you are infringing upon my right to love anyone who appeals to me. In summary, you respect people and their differences but fail to see that there are no significant differences...and I will agree that we should produce after our own kind of race when you see that we are all of the human race.

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  2. Posted: 28 May 10

    What is wrong with people? Why is there such a movement to mix the races? Where is racial pride? If you are black be proud of it. If you are white (if this is allowed) be proud of it. If you are Japanese or Spanish be proud of it. Be so proud of it you only want to pass on your genes to as pure a person of the same race as possible. Hollywood is brainwashing our children and,from the appearance of the posts here, many adults. Look at movies like Lakeview Terrance. It doesn't take a scientist to figure out that they are making people who believe in racial pride and dating people of same race out to be bad people. While I respect other people and their differences, I believe we should produce after our own kind or race. (I bet there is not one person on here brave enough to agree with me). I'm not kissing anyone's butt.

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  3.   dolly48 says:
    Posted: 13 Apr 10

    Well I finally got to see the film and I enjoyed it! I was so glad to finally have our "girl" portrayed. When my 3 year old granddaughter saw the film, she said the film was about her, because she is a princess too! And yes, "Miss" (what my grandchildren call me) bought so many "tiana" products! I have the dolls, the toys, the bags, etc!! We love Tiana!

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  4.   kristent says:
    Posted: 11 Apr 10

    After finally watching Princess and the Frog the part that stood out for me had nothing to do with the color of the prince's or the "princess's" skin. Why would Disney make a film in this day in age that so overtly sends the message that a woman's dreams and aspirations are not enough or "not what you really need" and that her life would be incomplete without a man? I really wanted to like that film but it just disturbed me so much that this is the kind of message the wise old voodoo woman would hand down to Tiana and her viewing audience.

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  5.   Wonka says:
    Posted: 09 Mar 10

    That's Pathetic!!.

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  6. Posted: 09 Jan 10

    Where did you learn math? Only 5 out of 9 Disney princesses are white, and that's if you count the mermaid as white (seems like "mermaid" wouldn't even be part of the human race, much less the white race.) For that matter, are cartoons part of the human race, and how do you determine their ethnicity? Read the original "Roger Rabbit" for insight into this question. But no matter how you slice it, you cannot say that 99% of the Disney princesses are white.

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  7.   Bellara says:
    Posted: 18 Dec 09

    areyouready: the concern is the fact that all 99% of disney princess are white with 100% of the prince white as well, so some people thought it would have been fair if this movie featured 100% black stars. at the end of the day, i think people outta calm down and realize that this is a cartoon. parents and guardians should play a bigger role in their kids lives instead of living it up to the media because the media is here to make money off people not inspire them.

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  8. Posted: 27 Sep 09

    This Disney movie is long overdue. The only portrayal of Africa/Afro/black characters/voices was Lion King about animals. Disney never had the courage until now to portray a black female/princess. BTW animation on this began before the Obamas entered the White House. Disney is a merchandising giant and they know that "black" dollars deliver huge profits. Quick History: Originally, the character was named Maddie, a chambermaid, and the movie was entitled The Frog Princess. Not good. Takes Disney a while to get it right. This animated interracial relationship is the latest practice by the marketing industry to represent everyone possible in a multimedia product to make the audience emotionally connect. Recent commercials show a homemaker that looks black, but actually Latina, but then again could be Asian and heck maybe just a dark-haired white woman. That's their game. And in this case, they're trying to give us a little of everyone to connect with. Plus, all little girls fall in love with whoever the princess is, so no matter what race the little girl is, she'll be falling in love, dressing up as, buying the products of and wanting to be Princess Tiana.

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  9.   Enigma64 says:
    Posted: 26 Aug 09

    I think that pretty much everything that can be said on this has been said, and I can't believe there is a controversy over this. It's so trivial. I would like to respond to dolly48 however. Why is it that sistas who want to go 'natural' are always puttin' down sistas who don't? Why do the 'natural' lovers hate on those who want to look different? Why do 'natural' lovers feel that only nappy hair or such styles as dreds identifies one as black? Is it a hidden insecurity that says that only those who wear their hair natural qualify as black, or identify as black? Personally, I have no need to wear extensions or add-ons. My hair is naturally curly, and I can choose to wear it that way, or blow it out straight and wear it like that. Despite being able to do either types of styles with my hair, still, I choose to occasionally wear either a wig, extensions, or weave. My purpose has nothing to do with trying to assimilate into the white race. It has more to do with fashion sense and the fact that I like to change it up, and look different, which includes changing my hair color or cutting my hair if I get bored with it. I also tend to sport hats, headbands, a variety of jewelry and other accessories, per whatever outfit and look I'm trying to capture. I see it as a means of creative expression, and there's nothing wrong with that. I find it odd that most of the time, whenever I hear sistas talking down about those who regularly wear weave etc; and making claims that they are trying to identify themselves more with white people than black; they claim it is an insecurity in the weave wearer. However, I see a pattern in the fact that these "naturalists" seem to be so angry at non-naturalists, in the fact that their complaint is always a claim of weave wearers being self-loathing for their blackness. It strikes me as a distinctive statement of insecurity of the "naturalists" because if they were truly so happy with their natural look and preference, they'd have no reason to dis those who don't chose that same style and fashion. So basically, I guess I'm asking you why some black women's preference to wear weave is such a bug up your butt that it needed to be mentioned in this discussion. It just stood out to me as a non-related issue that it seemed you used to justify your position against what you seem to see as too much racial integration. I could be wrong, but that is what I saw. Peace and blessings.

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  10.   jsjm says:
    Posted: 27 Jul 09

    I agree with bikerdude.. All black girls are princesses and we grow up to become black queens who cares if her knight and shining armor is white...coddles to the princess in this disney movie lol

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  11.   bikerdude says:
    Posted: 24 Jul 09

    here is my take... who care if your black or white about time disney had a blk princess, all blk women are a princess in my book, if you dont like it then just beat it

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  12.   bikerdude says:
    Posted: 24 Jul 09

    O.K. here is my take on this.... who cares if your black or white,i think these clows should just beat it. we are all in this togater , i am down with a black princess

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  13.   Miri2008 says:
    Posted: 17 Jun 09

    I remember when the Lion King came out, and I was wondering why Disney decided to portray the story set in Africa with animals rather than African people. I was glad to see Pocahontas, because she was at least brown. Now, I'm thrilled to see that an actual black princess is coming up! I tried to get a sneak a peak to see the prince, but the disney page barely flashes him - so can't tell if he looks white or Spanish or Arabic or what. It will be nice to see a continuation of movies portaying freedom for a black female to have an 'other' ethnic partner. Recent examples that come to mind: Cinderella (1997 - TV): Brandy as Cinderella, Paolo Montalban (Phillipino) as the prince Guess Who (2005): Zoe Saldana, love interest Ashton Kutcher Haven (2006): Zoe Saldana, love interest Orlando Bloom Star Trek (2009): Zoe Saldana (Lt. Uhura), love interest Zachary Quinto (Mr. Spock) Something New (2006): Sanai Latham, love interest Simon Baker Things We Lost in the Fire (2007): Halle Berry, husband David Duchovny The Rich Man's Wife (1996): Halle Berry, husband Christopher McDonald

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  14.   Girlstar7 says:
    Posted: 07 Jun 09

    I meant to say that after the film does well, then present the next one with a black woman and white male.

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  15.   Girlstar7 says:
    Posted: 07 Jun 09

    For the first black disney princess film, I as a proud black woman and newbie to the total interrace thing. I feel that they should present a black man with the black princess. Then if it does well then introduce a black woman with a black man or black man with a white princess.But? for the first film, black on black is more setting. I still will date whiite males though...lol

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  16.   milla01 says:
    Posted: 28 May 09

    This article itself is one big comic show. So what if the prince is white and the princess is black? Instead of this film being a controversy, it should be a symbol of tolerance for black/white relationships; especially white men/black women, since it's usually always the other way around. I think it's about time that we see some change and in this case on the big screen. If we want to kill racism we should start by teaching children our tolerance; that way they grow up to accept and tolerate people and their differences. People are just upset that the prince isn't with a white girl as he is "supposed to" my gosh!!! It's 2009, not the 1920's.

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  17.   Jabali says:
    Posted: 02 May 09

    I am naive, this I know. But tell me again WHAT is the big deal about a black woman loving a white guy. Happens all the time in the real world and now the cartoons have joined reality!

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  18.   homesteader says:
    Posted: 17 Apr 09

    Enjoy the day soon night fall

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  19. Posted: 16 Apr 09

    Yay a black princess!! Screw the prince..

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  20.   Bopfoows says:
    Posted: 16 Apr 09

    terrific site this is... excellent to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor :)

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  21.   homesteader says:
    Posted: 15 Apr 09

    Y 'all got me stumped as I didn't Realize that Cartoon Characters had any Nationality

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  22.   NOPLAYER says:
    Posted: 15 Apr 09

    Comment for Atlast and PrettyGurl I did a little reserch and found out that Queen Charlotte Sophia was not only the wife of Gorge III and the grandmother of Queen Victiria but she was a German princess. The painting I'm looking at clearly shows that she was a woman of African ancestry. I'll add more as i find it.

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  23.   dolly48 says:
    Posted: 13 Apr 09

    Ditzydame (you got that right). Thanks for the clarification. "Coal Black" was a Warner Bros. "Cartoon". Strange how you commented on that and not the facts of this racist "cartoon". I guess that did not offend you as much as getting a name wrong. My Bad. From my understanding about "The Princess and the Frog", the original Prince was white until there was MUCHO feedback from the public. Now, of course, he is not Black but something else. God forbid a black person falls in love with another black person. Geez, what was I thinking?

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  24.   ditzydame says:
    Posted: 13 Apr 09

    FYI Coal Black was not from Disney Studios it was a Bob Clampett cartoon (Beanie and Cecil.) Prince Naveen in the "Princess and the Frog" is not white, nor Creole and native American. He's an indeterminate race from from a made up country outside the united states played voice wise by an actor who's from Brazil.

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  25.   NY_WM says:
    Posted: 13 Apr 09

    Comment by PrettyGurl on 2 April 2009: "It seems that noone wants to acknowledge that Queen Charlotte was black, which is kind of sad.. You can even tell in photos whether by white or black photographers she had African ancestry (which doesnt surprise me alot of people do)." Hi PrettyGurl, There seems to be some controversy over Queen Charlotte. There are portrait paintings of her, but not actual (film) photographs. She died in 1818 and that technology was not available yet. Looking at her portraits myself, it seems inconclusive to me, although I think it is possible.

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  26. Posted: 13 Apr 09

    Cocoa Cutie, Thanks for discrediting the ONLY authority cited here to assert Obama's black ancestry.

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  27.   homesteader says:
    Posted: 13 Apr 09

    According to the context of Black used on this site Webster states refering to people - Having dark skin , hair and eyes ; pertaining to a race characterizedby dark pigmentation as opposed to white .

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  28.   Member says:
    Posted: 13 Apr 09

    fearlesscrus, It is true that black is the absence of color of light. However, color in light and color in matter are actually two different concepts relying on different theories and forms of measurement. Additionally, for those who are interested, Wikipedia can be a great tool, but it is not a reliable source. It is not accepted as a valid reference tool at most universities, colleges, high schools and even some middle schools.

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  29.   dolly48 says:
    Posted: 13 Apr 09

    Dear AlicenD8land: Thanks for the clarification; it was not necessary as I understood what you meant. However I do appreciate your taking the time to write. Thank you everyone for your views.

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  30. Posted: 12 Apr 09

    Cocoa Cutie: According to Wikipedia, "black is the lack of all colors of light" and "white is a balanced combination of all the colors of the visible light spectrum..." And why should I believe you know any more about Obama's father's bloodlines than you know about colors?

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  31.   Ichibod says:
    Posted: 12 Apr 09

    Good point, CutieHoney. The same thing happened when Spawn came to theaters. Comic book fans were outraged when Todd Mcfarlane changed one of the character's race to get more funding. Part of the fuss with this Disney issue is that romance has never been a staple or at least considered a major point of interest amongst blacks in film. We desire to see it more than we have in the past or in recent years. At times, all we see represented is some pseudo-ghetto love, love and crime, love and basketball. Our love songs were on point once, then they fell off an got extremely vulgar with no hint of romance. Some blacks see this and wonder why a large company like Disney, MGM, Fox or Viacom can't present an example of a black man and a black woman sharing the same kinda of love that, in reality, anyone couple can share. The problem with this is Disney is a part of the media. Looking to the media, whether it provides positive images when you want them or negative images when you don't, is dangerous. I can understand and somewhat agree with the controversy, but I see it more the way CutieHoney does, because I've seen that marketing tactic before.

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  32.   Amanda says:
    Posted: 12 Apr 09

    actually LatinoLova it's nothing new. It's just most don't realize that the double standard exists. But many black women know its there

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  33.   Member says:
    Posted: 12 Apr 09

    Obama's father doesn't have one ounce of Arabic blood in him. He has an Arabic name, because the people in Kenya and nearby regions took on those names just like many African-Americans took on names such as Muhammad Ali, Jamal and Abdul. Black is the combination of all colors and White is the absence of color. Even if you were taught that in science, most people would have had the common sense to figure out that their teacher was completely incompetent.

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  34. Posted: 12 Apr 09

    BrownGirl, I've enjoyed your posts. To answer your challenge to me: It's my understanding that the Kenyan father's ancestry was mostly Arabic (I'll forward documentation if I can find it again). Now this gets a little tricky, because black" is considered a race more than "Arabic" is, but even if you assume Obama is 50% black, it does not obviate my point that people are called either "black" or "white" on someone's whim, without regard to their exact mix. How many times has Obama been called the first black president, even though at least 4 previous presidents were descended from blacks?

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  35. Posted: 12 Apr 09

    Fearlesscrus, Are you referring to Barack Obama when you talk about the man in the white house? The man that has a black father? The man whose father is from Kenya? The man whose father is a black man that would make him (by your description) 50% black? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama,_Sr. Where are you getting Arabic from? I'm going by the above of course and by me not being American, maybe I've missed something but dude, seriously, what are you talking about? Are you privvy to some special information about his ethnic background that the rest of us aren't? If so, please enlighten us. ??

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  36. Posted: 12 Apr 09

    AlicenD8Land, in science class I was taught that white is made up of all colors, and black is the complete absence of all color. Layla32, you need to realize that that Disney the corporation and Disney the man are not exactly the same. One is alive and well; the other is dead. Also, I disagree with everyone saying that this cartoon is only for children. Disney cartoons are skillfullly and wonderfully made to appeal to, and teach moral lessons to, all ages. I enjoy them immensely. And finally, how is it that a man who is 50% white, 45% Arabic, and only 5% black is BLACK when he's in the White House; but a man who is predominately Creole and Native American is WHITE when he's in a cartoon???

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  37. Posted: 12 Apr 09

    Dolly48 Thank you for your response. In your orginial message your meaning was unclear. I think you meant that most interracial relationships portrayed in Hollywood only show a "perfect" relationship between the two people involved. Most of the conflict is with people outside their relationship, ie; family, friends, strangers reaction to them. In this I agree. I wanted to understand what you meant. Everyone is entittled to their opinion. Unfounded opinions or opinions in direct conflict with our actions are dangerous. I wanted to make sure my message was also clear. I did not write my opinion. According to science we are all black. Also, the definition of black I gave is from art. In mixing pigments the abstance of color is white. The combination of all colors is black. This is stated in any art text. What I meant when I said "raised" was taught. Childern learn by observation. Only one person in my family dated outside of their race and I did not not interact with him or his wife often. This way of thinking was taught by the silent "rule". No one told me no but they didn't say ok either. If someone is secure and satistfied with themselves they won't lose their identity. What they "pick- up" will only enhance their gifts. Maybe that person already liked rock or the blond hair but was afraid to persue those things because they weren't sure they would be accepted. I don't know. Hope I am clear. Thanks and have a nice day!

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  38.   homesteader says:
    Posted: 12 Apr 09

    dolly48 , I am glad you do not work for " Disney " as it might be your job that is threaten by Meager Attendance at the Theatre . Happy Easter to all .

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  39.   420soulja says:
    Posted: 12 Apr 09

    wow its a movie for little kids like when we got a black man in offcies the true haters came right out just wait and see this is not the end of rasicem but this is a step it the right diriction when the world changes the media is the first thing to jump on the wagon this is just another starting point for the world

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  40.   homesteader says:
    Posted: 12 Apr 09

    I sure like to repeat when confusion seems evident in others : " Disney " is employment for many people , If Disney does not make a profit . Employees will be layed-off , soon enough hungry and with homes repossessed / families living on the street - because racial hatred does not allow children to go watch a Cartoon and spend money . Those that will stop their children from seeing this Movie are Hypocrites / with a chance of putting hard working people out of work by doing such and so . How ignorant can we be as hard as it is to find a job / to be the ones who desire to endanger another persons employment . I am not Senile , I see actions speak louder than words . But I do know Hunger from being out of work .

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  41.   dolly48 says:
    Posted: 12 Apr 09

    Homesteader: I just hope Disney does not have The Last Laugh.

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  42.   Kanzan says:
    Posted: 11 Apr 09

    The only people getting upset about this CARTOON are Black Men and White Women. Think about it.....

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  43.   homesteader says:
    Posted: 11 Apr 09

    Is not " Disney " an entertainment corporation with a board of directors ? Do not they have a staff of thousands of different people employed by them ? Who eat on a regular basis because of their paychecks . In the end this will be a Cartoon movie made for the entertainment of children . How can anyone " misinterpret " what is not even due to be released until December as of the present unseen . I Personally hope the children Enjoy and Laugh throughout the whole showing of " The princess and the frog . "

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  44.   dolly48 says:
    Posted: 11 Apr 09

    BrownGirlLDN The End? Let's hope it is. First, I thank you for your views. Second, I stand by my comments on "Black?" Blondes and those that glue or stitch fake "hair" to their heads to appear "Less Black". I agree that Black people are all different shades, but we ALL can look gorgeous being that way, instead of another shade of "blonde". (I must admit that maybe someday I will wear a blonde wig on Halloween, or some scary, silly event. I havent done so yet, Thank God.) I agree that we can wear LOCS (like me) or braids, or a mohawk, etc. I just prefer my OWN NATURAL hair that grew from the scalp, not something cut from another woman in another country, from animals, or maybe even from the end of a horse's Ass. God knows where that fake crap came from; I'd rather my hair was a gift that GOD gave me personally. Of course, others are free to buy their hair from the supermarket, Dollar store, thrift store, or wherever. I dont feel that Disney is to blame for children growning up with "issues", but they certainly can add to it by not promoting positive images. Did you know Disney had a "coal black and the sebben drawfs" cartoon years ago? one of their songs had the line: "Black people got no reason to live". The same man who wrote that music is the same man who wrote music for "The Princess and the Frog". I agree with you that Parents are responsible for teaching their children positive images, or life lessons.That is what my mother did! Shout out to my mom: "Thank you for teaching me BLACK is beautiful!!!" I taught my daughter that and am teaching my grandchildren the same thing! Happily Ever after? Indeed we are! Finally, I have not "misinterpreted" Disney's message. They came through loud and clear. The End.

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  45.   lovely2see says:
    Posted: 11 Apr 09

    It's a love story, pure and simple.

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  46. Posted: 10 Apr 09

    Dolly48, thanks for your views but I take umbrage with some of the points you raise. I agree with your views on keeping your identity regardless of who you are in love with. This is admirable and should be encouraged and practised by more people. What I do take particular offence to is your stance that by wearing weave or dying your hair you are somehow "less black". I honestly think there are more than enough shades of black for facilitate all the different kinds of black people. Some like dreads, some like braids, others like mohawks and damn, some even shave their heads. If I choose to dye my hair peroxide blonde, that doesn't make me any less black than the day before I dyed my hair. Also, your point that Disney are somehow to blame for little black kids growing up with issues just doesn't ring true to me. Parents should be responsible for teaching their children life lessons. Teaching their kids to be happy with what they have and to work hard for the things that they would like. I guess my final bit is that you state that Disney are making a statement by having a non black male as the princess's knight. Maybe you've misinterpreted their message? Perhaps it really isn't important what colour her prince is? Maybe the message is simply, the little black princess gets to live happily ever after... The End?

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  47.   dolly48 says:
    Posted: 10 Apr 09

    Thank you for your responses. First, I do not believe interracial dating is "wrong". Based on the context of our subject, the Disney film, I believe it is wrong and inapproiate to portray this "romance". "Prettygurl??", you are right that some Black children grow up with a victim mentality; it is because films such as Disney's try to invoke the theory that everyone is white or wish they were. Or, rather, that we need a white partner to "save" or rescue us. Thanks for proving my point. (Knodding my head in agreement) AlicenD8Land, I agree that all are entitled to their opinions, yet when I posted mine, you seemed disappointed. Talk about "practicing what you preach!" Things that make me go "Hmmmmmm". I can't agree with your definiton of "Black". As far as the "one drop" law goes, that would make EVERYONE on EARTH black (according to the opinion you say I am entitled to) The fact that (according to your statement) you were raised not to date interracially says a lot. WE (my loving sisters and I) were raised to love and respect all, but to still LOVE our BLACKNESS and EMBRACE it. I have dated outside my cultural background. I enjoyed myself. Had fun. But I was black before I went on the date, during the date, and after the date. It seems to me that as soon as SOME people start dating opposite their cultural background (what some may call "race")They become that "race". They lose their own idenity. BELIEVE me, that is not me! Personally, I am tired of seeing "sistas" wearing weaves or "blond" hair? Hello? Then they have the nerve to say they are "proud 'Black' women"?????? (hello, Tyra, Mary J, Beyonce, are you listening??) What the helm? BTW, God Bless Erik LaSalle. some of you may remember when he was on "ER" that he refused to have a relationship with a white female on the show. He did so because that medium had him in a relationship with a black female, and they were always in conflict. When the white woman came along, the writers had her be his "great white hope". The relationship was loving and kind. Erik said: "no way!" and stopped it. What courage! Do we want to tell black children the only way they can get love is through the arms of those outside our cultural backgrounds?

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  48.   homesteader says:
    Posted: 10 Apr 09

    No We haven't watched it , We shall look for it in the DVD section , Thank you .

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  49.   CUTIEPIE43 says:
    Posted: 10 Apr 09

    QUESTION: HAS ANYONE WATCHED THE MOVIE "SPEED RACER"? I HAVE AND I DON'T HEAR ANYONE MAKING A BIG DEAL OUT OF SPEED RACERS BROTHER HAVING A BLACK WOMAN AS GIRLFRIEND/COUNTERPART ALTHOUGH IT'S NOT SPECIFIED WHAT THE TWO ARE BUT IT'S CLEAR THAT THEY ARE A COUPLE. SO WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? YOU LIKE/LOVE WHO YOU LIKE AND KIDS WILL TO. PRETTY SIMPLE TO ME.

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  50. Posted: 09 Apr 09

    That's what I wanted to know. Why are you on here if you think interracial dating is wrong? People should date according to compatibility in addition to attraction. Evolved people have the advantage of realizing that many times, race has nothing to do with compatibility.

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