Is Disney’s First Latina Princess ‘Latina Enough’?

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Syndicated from Bicultural Mom

Today I was wandering around on Facebook as usual and I came across a post about Disney’s first Latina princess.  If you haven’t heard yet, here’s a quick video preview of the show, Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess:

Disney’s First Latina Princess – Is She ‘Latina Enough’?

So the big huff shared on Mashable this morning, is that Sofia might not look quite ‘Latina enough’.  Put simply, she looks ‘white’.  Fair enough…she is lighter skinned, but does that make her any less Latina?  Not really.

I was actually wondering…is she biracial?  In the video above, she seems to have a brown-skinned Latina mom and a very light-skinned step-father, but there is no mention of her birth father.  Either way, she could be biracial or not, but the mix of her mother and step-father is definitely an interesting one.  Is this Disney’s attempt to hit two marketing targets? Interracial families and bicultural Latinos?  Could be.

I honestly think that the upset on social media platforms like Twitter is due to Disney’s lack of diversity in their programming…especially their programming for younger children.  The past year has been a big one for Disney Junior though.  They’ve added a variety of characters to their network and brought some color on screen without their usual stereotypes or overtly ‘ethnic’ flare.

Finally, a Latina is on the scene though and of course, she’s ‘white’.  Is this another ‘white-washed’ fairy tale?

As another Facebook commenter mentioned, “This probably wouldn’t be an issue if MORE Latinas with varying complexions were represented and not just this ONE girl in a Disney movie. The issue for me isn’t Sofia’s skin color. It’s merely the LACK of REPRESENTATION.”


Doc McStuffins has been their first real success at inclusive diversity.  Doc is a fabulous character, a strong, intelligent young girl…who just happens to be Black.  And the presence of her family on Disney has been praised widely.  Then they added Jack and the Neverland Pirates, another show where bicultural kids aren’t overtly ‘different’ from their white counterparts.  Sofia, Disney Junior’s latest character and a Latina princess to boot, just seems like a natural evolution in Disney’s growing roster of bicultural characters.

It’s interesting to watch this shift in Disney’s characters and I know many are watching and wondering when the other shoe is going to drop.  For all our sake, I hope it doesn’t.  I hope that Disney will continue to show alternatives to the stereotypes of Latinos and bicultural Americans in general.

I get the point that Disney is notorious for avoiding characters of color and also for type-casting them into ‘ethnic’ roles, but I think this show could be another positive step for bicultural families.  It could be another chance to show just how diverse our families really are and how alike we are to everyone else in the world.  The differences are not so extreme as Hollywood would like us all to believe.

On the other hand, I’ll definitely be watching to see if there are any covert messages in this cartoon and I’m already wondering about the fact that Sofia is from a poor, single parent home and learning how to ‘become a proper princess’ in a new wealthy, ‘white’ community.  What do you think?  Are they just trying to mimic reality or promoting another stereotype of Latinos?

Let’s continue this conversation!  I would love to hear your thoughts!  What do you think of ‘Disney’s first Latina princess’?


And Disney, just know we’re watching!  We acknowledge your efforts and we’re keeping our eyes and ears open and giving you feedback.  Please be open to the concerns you hear voiced online.  Bicultural families want to see more color, we want you to take the lead and make brown positive…because you’re the industry leader and the messages you send can move children’s programming toward positive change.


Images via Disney Junior

Is Disney’s First Latina Princess ‘Latina Enough’? appeared first on Bicultural Mom

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