Anti-Progress: White Princesses in Blackface are Still White Princesses

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Black Snow WhiteOn her Tumblr page, a young woman named Lauren decided to re-imagine some of society’s most beloved Disney princesses, “Just for funzies :D, so [she] made a bunch of white Disney characters into WOC.”

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While the collective response has been mostly positive, with Huffington Post calling it a “progressive step,” I see it as anything but progress. Thin lips, straight hair, ball gowns and White princes does not a Black girl’s experience make. While I think it’s a cute gesture and not one meant to change the world, nor be a social indictment on racism and colorism in society, it is not progress.

Not only is it not empowerment for little Black girls who have been indoctrinated from the time they could interpret dreams that a fairy tale ending is something that should be sought, it is not empowering to believe that assimilation into a dominant culture will make those dreams come true.

We shouldn’t be teaching any young girls that the ultimate goal in life is perfectly coiffed hair, waiting in full make-up for their princes to come and rescue them. To instruct them in such a patriarchal and sexist world view is to leave them scrambling for equal footing in both perception and reality their entire lives. Specific to our Black girls, even if the White princesses are wearing blackface, their world is still very much White.

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Once upon a time, I dreamed of being Scarlett O’Hara. There was nothing sinister about it, it was just the fairy tale we were taught to romanticize. It wasn’t until I was much older and sought consciousness on my own, that I realized that my experience would be less “Gone With the Wind” and more “The Wind Done Gone.”

While Lauren’s Disney interpretations were a cute way to pass the time, it would be the height of ignorance to call it anything remotely resembling an empowering statement. Hopefully, we are raising a generation of young girls who won’t need White princesses in blackface for validation of their own femininity and power.

When that day comes, it will be progress.

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