brotherpeacemaker

It's about our community and our spirituality!

Carlton Sheds Light On The Butterfly Effect

”Once again, I can’t define what is right or wrong for other people. We each make our choices and we live with them. And if some of us are going to hold that Disney is racist because they don’t care how their movies effect black people, then we can’t fault white people who try to actively destroy everything black, either. Because by your own definition, if a black producer makes a ‘black’ movie to uplift black children, he is actively seeking to destroy the minds of white children.
You’re right, everything we do matters. The flutter of a butterfly’s wing can win or lose a decades long war. But why do we need to get out insecticide and seek to destroy ‘the butterfly variable’ when we don’t even know what effect that action may have in the great scheme of things? We assume it can only make things better-tain’t necessarilly so. Just ask Australia about the cane toad or those of us here in the South about kudzu.
It reminds me of a story. A guy accosted a Buddhist monk he saw with a copy of Playboy; accusing him of being a hypocrite and no kind of holy man. The monk informed him: ‘When looking through this magazine at pictures of beautiful, naked women I can choose carnal lust or revered appreciation of the aesthetic beauty and engineering excellence of the nude female form as was intended by our Creator. I choose the latter.’ Attitude colors everything, including our relationship as black people with Disney. Black people have lined up for and against this little children’s story. Judging by the wide disparity of opinions I’ve read, it would have been close to darn impossible for Disney to make this movie in such a manner as to please all Black folks (because we are not a monolith). So they did what they do best-they made it in such a way as to make themselves some serious grip, ‘black opinion’ be damned. It’s one reason I don’t own a company of my own-too much compromise involved and you eventually have to balance what is right with what will keep you in business. Should Disney even try to cater to 13% of the population that can’t by it’s very nature even decide what is ‘black’ or should it write something millions of people will show up for? They made their choice and now we must make ours. I don’t care what side someone comes down on; what personal decision they make. But why does my decision have to be seen as being made in complete ignorance? Almost all of us are rational beings, (it’s a hallmark of being human) including murderers and child rapists. What differentiates us from criminals is just that their conclusion comes from a different set of experiences than ours.
For example, that white lady who hugs her purse when I get into the elavator with her may or may not be a racist. Maybe she had a bad experience with a black mugger or maybe her parents taught her all her life that every black man is looking to take something he didn’t earn. If I have any chance of reaching that lady’s rational chain of thought and breaking it or changing it, is it best served by me yelling five inches from her face, ‘WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR PROBLEM, YOU DAMNED WHITE DEVIL!!!’ or might she most be convinced to rethink her training by a succession of two thousand black men who refuse to cut their eyes or give the cold silence, or refuse to acknowledge her existence? What if instead we said ‘Hi’ warmly and stood as far away as to keep her as comfortable as she could be in this situation? I can’t say if doing the latter will help that little old lady change her preconceived notions any but it does MY soul good and what I would expect a white gentleman to do if my grandmother was uncomfortable in his presence.”
Carlton

Carlton,

Once again, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what is right or wrong, what is racist and what is not. Nobody said we have to make choices for each other. That argument is just plain stupid and adds no value to this conversation. Your insistence on returning to this refrain time and time again is rather annoying. The fact that so many black people choose to support Disney’s lame attempt at a movie intended for the black community is proof that people make their own choices. And just like a black person has the right to choose to support this movie, other black people have the right to say something about black people who make the choice to support this movie.

Again, Disney isn’t racist because they don’t care how their movie may impact the black community. The Disney Corporation has never cared one smidgeon about their impact on black people. What appears to be racist is the fact that their movie developed with the black community in mind depicts a black woman who has to go outside the black community to develop a meaningful relationship. Why is their movie intended for black audiences depicting a black girl who makes the choice to abandon all hopes for a relationship with someone in the black community for a relationship with someone from Maldonia?

And I’m sorry, but I don’t see how the criticism of Disney here means that nobody can “fault white people who try to actively destroy everything black”. That is one serious leap that defies every definition of intellectual logic. What definition have I given that says a black movie that uplifts black children is trying to destroy white people? Better yet, show me a black movie that destroys white people. I really would like to see where you believe this is happening.

Now, would you like for me to demonstrate a product of Hollywood that destroys the self esteem of black children? Friends, Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, all of these shows have a common theme that can be described as the virtual absence of any noteworthy minority involvement. When it comes to Disney, we’ve already seen their productions of Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, Song of the South, Alice In Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Sword In The Stone, Mary Poppins, Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, Pete’s Dragon, The Black Cauldron, The Shaggy D.A., James and the Giant Peach, The Hunch Back of Notre Dame, Hercules, Tarzan, Recess: School’s Out, Return to Neverland, The Chronicles of Narnia, A Christmas Carol, and many, many, many others.  None of these shows have any black people in any meaningful, respectable role.

All of these productions individually are bad enough for their exclusion of black people or for the menial roles black people play in their depiction. Collectively, the subtle message that is being reinforced time and time again is that black people don’t matter. Combine these films with the constant development of so many productions from other sources and the impact to the black community cannot be denied. When black children and impressionable black people are subjected to this repetitive programming, constantly seeing images of white people combined with the virtually total lack of black people, the damage to the black child’s self esteem is measurable. Even if you had your doubts, you should know that this is a possibility if you were truly a student of psychology with concern for the black community.

And just because there is a wide range of opinions doesn’t mean anything. There is a wide range of opinions on any subject. When do people do anything as a collective monolith? In most social circles, it’s never necessary for everyone to have buy-in before anything gets done. It is unfortunate that black people like you think the fact that there is a difference in opinion in the black community is an excuse not to do anything to try and change things for the better.

Your talk about monks reading Playboy and white ladies in elevators and your grandma might be entertaining, but such talk really isn’t pertinent to this conversation. The subject here is Disney’s lame attempt to pacify the black community with this film. Unless your story about the monk somehow conveys his opinion about this film and its relationship to the black community, we’ll just have to save the topic of the monk for another day.

As a black person, I refuse to give this film a pass and laud Disney as an entity that has truly made an effort to reach the black community because I’m too afraid to make change or because there are so many opinions out there that I’m afraid to say anything that might be interpreted as a true concern for the black community. Other black people feel differently. That really is a shame. For as long as we settle for crumbs, there is no incentive to give anything more.

If you truly believed that you’re not trying to change anyone, why do you continue to come here and voice your opinion? You won’t say anything to the white woman in the elevator clutching her purse. But you want to keep coming back here to tell us that we need to give these people a break. Why the disparity? Are you not trying to make change?

But instead of trying anything to change anyone in the dominant community who might be racist for whatever reason, you want to change black people, convince black people that it is in the black community’s best interest to tolerate white people’s racism. Don’t black people have their own reasons for the way black people think? But instead of giving us the luxury of riding the elevators and clutching our collective purse and looking at racism with a glaring eye, you’re more than ready to stand there and say something like, what the fuck is your problem you black devils.

Peace

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Carlton, Life, Racism, Thoughts

15 Comments »

  1. Great post! Carlton really has a lot of interesting views. This is another case of giving a pass to a group in this case Disney who said while attempting to make this film, we’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas.

    And somehow we should just be thankful that they managed to haphazardly throw a black girl into the movie about Maldonia. Ha! I think not! I don’t need Disney to indoctrinate my kids on finding love as long as he or she isn’t black. And to think that this is pleasing so many.

    It obviously doesn’t take much like you said. We get a crumb and beg for less the next time. It is a step in the wrong direction. We hear Carlton talking about Disney trying to make a movie for all races of kids. Yet, somehow they don’t care about that when the characters are white.

    And in fact, Disney has never gone out of their way to be all inclusive at any other time, so why now. Why with the black girl? Hey, if that is their excuse, fine. But that doesn’t mean that I have to like it, settle for it, nor patronize it. Will their next movie with Rapunzel involve another interracial relationship? If not, why aren’t they interested in being all inclusive anymore?

    Thanks.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

    • I do have a problem with Disney and the way they construct stories. I just think it unfair to attack black parents who are willing to take their children and have a conversation. If some people want to financially destroy Disney for their money hunt (because I truly think that’s what it is instead of out and out racism) I don’t have a problem with that either. I’m just sick of seeing black people attacking each other and declaring that OUR personal, particular way of handling the problem is the only way. Black people have to figure out how to do for themselves instead of spending so much time trying to fix white folks. It’s impossible and not worth the time. Disney will never get it right, because they don’t care to. And we as black people will always see their blatant mistakes because we are black and the mistakes are obvious. Disney doesn’t care to be inclusive. There I said it. They just want black butts in seats. “But hey, while I’m at it, let’s get some white butts in those seats too.” That’s not racist, it’s just greedy. They don’t have the same attitude for pictures with a majority of white characters because they don’t need to. Even if every black person who wanted to see the future Rapunzel refused to go because there were no black characters, their profits might drop at most 5%. So instead of wasting precious back resources trying to destroy Disney, I say we build something we can be proud of as a race.That’s not supporting racism-that’s supporting black positivity.

      Comment by Carlton | Thursday, January 14, 2010 | Reply

      • Carlton,

        Greed and racism don’t have to be mutually exclusive; they can go hand and hand. Maybe the company is greedy AND racist. Disney has no problem being inclusive when they want to be. They have made movies with races other than white who aren’t interracial. So, it isn’t necessarily about getting butts in seats. They made the movie interracial because that is what they wanted to do for their own reasons. Whether you feel those reasons are racist or not.

        I don’t think that it is unfair to feel that I shouldn’t have to take my child to a Disney movie and have to explain it. Since Disney make so many movies that don’t need explanation why should this one. What is it about the blackness that you or anyone else feels that we should NOT have the same expectations. I don’t understand why as a people we have become so accustomed to substandard treatment that we then have the nerve to defend it and call for people to ignore it.

        I think that the problem is not so much Disney’s racism but our complacency with it. Where you say that we should build something we can be proud of. And I say that if there is a company out there that has taken on the task of providing whatever it is to the people of this country, then they need to operate free of racism.

        No one is trying to destroy Disney. We couldn’t do that even if we tried. But, by accepting this crumb and slopping it up at every turn, what message is that sending. They aren’t only worried about movie sales; they are worried about pedaling their dolls, clothes, hair products, videos and trips to see these movie characters at their park. The money is in that tripe. And we don’t need to partake.

        And if you feel that by them making a movie with black characters it is going to keep the white people from buying the merchandise then it really wouldn’t have mattered if the prince were black as well, white people still wouldn’t buy the crap. So if this sells to everyone, then it would sell no matter what. I don’t think that white people are only snatching up the racially ambiguous prince from Maldonia.

        And Rapunzel isn’t going to be made with black people in mind, the way that this movie wasn’t made with black people in mind. Disney doesn’t do anything with black people in mind. So why continue to support this? Why give them our money if they don’t care about us? We spend over 200 billion dollars a year as consumers. I think we have a bit of pull. I was looking for information on this and found that we are the most sought after demographic at this time.

        It seems that people have realized that African Americans spend their money and extremely loyal. So it would seem to me that Disney would like to take advantage of this fact. Not to mention when companies who were actively spending to woo us, Disney was like 3rd on the list. They are spending billions to do so. So it would seem that they wouldn’t blatantly screw us. But they understand that there will always be those amongst us who will defend the screwing and bend over for more.

        Thanks.

        Comment by theblacksentinel | Thursday, January 14, 2010

  2. Thanks for the feedback theblacksentinel,

    But if Disney was truly trying to be inclusive with this film, why didn’t they include a black prince?

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

  3. A good point and funny. Also, as I thought about it. How WAS Disney being inclusive? The only race besides white they added was Maldonian. Was that who they were trying to make feel included? Too bad the Maldonians don’t exist because if they did they could be here feeling all that warm Disney inclusion. The reality is that Disney wasn’t hardly inclusive. In fact they made a blatant decision to be exclusionary by exclude the black man from the movie in lieu of a non existent race of man.

    Thanks.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

  4. “The reality is that Disney wasn’t hardly inclusive. In fact they made a blatant decision to be exclusionary by exclude the black man from the movie ….”

    Of course, this statement assumes that the default relationship (or the proper relationship) is two people of the same race. Otherwise, there’s no black man to be excluded.

    Now, I certainly realize that the dominant sentiment on this blog (and on yours, Black Sentinel) tilts in favor of same-race relationships (without necessarily condemning mixed-race couples).

    Given the dramatic upsurge in the number of children being raised by mixed-race couples, however, I wonder if it’s really fair to criticize Disney for depicting a mixed-race couple, rather than defaulting to the assumption that a white princess has a white prince, a black princess has a black prince, and so on? I know I never want my children to learn to think in those terms.

    None of this is to say that Disney doesn’t deserve criticism for plenty of things, including failing to depict a racially-balanced world. But I wouldn’t want a Disney film about a white princess to automatically show her with white friends and a white prince, either.

    Comment by James | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

  5. Thanks for the feedback James,

    “[Is it] really fair to criticize Disney for depicting a mixed-race couple, rather than defaulting to the assumption that a white princess has a white prince, a black princess has a black prince, and so on? I know I never want my children to learn to think in those terms.”

    I think more damaging to the black community is the idea that our black children grow without feeling a strong connection with the black community.

    What evidence do we have that there has been a “dramatic” upsurge in the number of children being raised by mixed race couple? I know there is plenty of images painted in the media that this is the case. That is why it is so important to point out the fact that we don’t see very many images of loving black couples on the screen. It might be that we only “feel” that there is a dramatic upsurge because of the lack of loving black people.

    Besides, even if it was true that there is a dramatic upsurge, white couples still get their full representation. The black community is still waiting. No, I don’t want to see a Disney film where a white princess is automatically matched to other white people. But how many times has it already been done? The black community is still waiting for theirs.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

    • Actually, Disney opted to do their Native American story about Pocahontas, the Indian princess who ended up choosing John Smith (how much whiter can you get than that name). So it is in their history to try to put put white characters in to boost relevance to the majority population. It’s great that some black people are staying away to tell Disney that they need to be more cognizant of how their movies affect black children who don’t have parents to help them with self esteem and life lessons issues. However I can’t be critical of black parents who take their children and talk to them about issues of concern, either. Both are doing our community and youth some good.

      Comment by Carlton | Thursday, January 14, 2010 | Reply

  6. I can certainly respect that many people believe it’s important to raise children with a strong connection to their race.

    My bias on this issue is probably already clear. It stems in part from my conviction that race is merely a social construct (albeit one with powerful consequences which mean we must take very seriously the significance of race in our society), and in part from the fact that relatively few of the people I’ve grown up with, or spend time with now, see their identity primarily in terms of race (even if they are as powerfully committed to racial justice as anyone else).

    As for your question about what evidence there is for a “dramatic” upsurge in mixed-race families, this has been an established fact among demographers for a long time, so there’s ample evidence.

    A few quick facts: the number of interracial couples in the U.S. quadrupled between 1970 (just after Loving v. Virginia struck down laws against interracial marriage) and 1995. The number of multiracial children in the U.S. is now more than double the number of adults, clearly showing that the nation is producing far more such children than we were a generation ago. Separate statistics show that there are five times as many multiracial children being born today as there were thirty years ago, and in some states, there are ten times as many. Most dramatically, the number of interracial marriages continues to climb, suggesting that the number of multiracial children will continue to grow higher and higher.

    Your point about not having anywhere near enough images of loving black couples in the media is, of course, quite true and very, very important.

    It’s also true that “white couples” already “get their full representation.” No one is suggesting that what we need is *more* whites in Disney movies, for instance. But that doesn’t mean that we should show only black couples, or couples where both people are non-white. That, itself, would send children a powerful message about who is supposed to be romantically involved with whom.

    I agree that we’re still waiting, largely in vain, to see the proper representation of the black community on screen. I’m just suggesting that the answer isn’t to show only couples where both people are black, any more than showing exclusively films where all the main characters, and their friends, neighbors and colleagues are black, would be a good answer to the media’s terribly inadequate portrayals of black Americans.

    Comment by James | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

  7. James,

    I guess my problem is not necessarily that there is a mixed race couple. The problem IS that there is a mixed race couple where one race doesn’t even exist! And the fact of the matter is, Disney has a long standing history of making the prince and princess the same race. What is the problem now?

    Do we really think that Disney is going to give their newest princess Rapunzel a minority beau? Hell no! I don’t believe that they would, until I see it with my own eyes. And the other problem I am having is exactly what BrotherP was alluding to. Why don’t we see more loving black couples?

    Also, this was supposed to be a princess movie based on the black community. Black people in the black community are black, not mixed race couples. Of course the black community people are made up of a lot of mixture since we understand how slavery was. But, again black community, black couples.

    If they wanted to do a mixed race couple, that is fine. Do a mixed race couple. But don’t then try and sell it to the black community as a movie encompassing our collective story. Our story isn’t about black girls finding love with Maldonian men. Our story in the black community is and should be black girls find love with their black boys.

    This is how it was for every race except the Native American and now the blacks. I find it interesting that we want to think that a black girl just can’t have everything she needs in the black community. Not only could the black girl NOT have a loving black man, she couldn’t even have a man rooted in reality. Disney is really saying something with that one.

    I don’t recall ANY Disney movies where the race of the character was even a fairy tale. No matter what race they have done so far, white, Asian, Native American and Middle Eastern, they have all been a reality. But not the black girl. Nope she had to have some phony baloney man because lord knows a black woman can’t find true love. At least not according to Disney.

    The least they could do was to go ahead and make the freaking guy Spanish or otherwise Latino. IF they were going with the whole interracial love thing. But, that isn’t what they were going for according to the character developer. He said they just couldn’t find any good stories involving two black characters. So decided to make this character racially ambiguous to fit the whole melting pot theme of New Orleans. Not cool at all to me.

    I just felt that if this was going to be a first for them. Then do it the way they usually pair their princesses. And if they wish to come back and start getting all multicultural love, then so be it. I don’t have a problem with interracial love per se. I have a problem when they don’t show an alternative. And we know that there was an alternative for others.

    Thanks.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

  8. James,

    Race is a social construct in a similar category as family. People who refuse to see their identity in terms of race would never dismiss their identity in terms of age or gender. Race has become an invalid exception as a means to identify who we are as if race has nothing to do with the social equation here in racist America. But in an attempt to try and transcend racism, we’ll just pretend that racism is merely a social construct.

    A four fold increase in mixed families can hardly be considered by itself as a “dramatic” upsurge. What was the original percentage of mixed race couples? Was it five percent? If that’s the case, a twenty percent rating now would be very dramatic. Or was it originally one hundredth of one percent, resulting in less than in a one twenty-fifth result? That could hardly be considered dramatic.

    I think the number of identifiably black couples still outranks the number of mixed couples. And if that’s the case, why skip over the black couple demographic and go straight to the mixed race couple and reinforce the perception that something “dramatic” is happening in this segment of our population?

    And I’m sorry, an animated feature of a black couple falling in love, especially after all the feature films depicting white only couples in love, is hardly sending a powerful message.

    However, the continued exclusion of an all black loving couple on the screen does send a powerful message. Seeing the importance of putting a mixed race couple on the screen before putting up a black couple sends a powerful message as well. The message is that the social construct people refer to as the black community still isn’t worth noting.

    No one is saying that black couples on the screen is the answer. That would be foolishly simplistic. But it would be a step in the right direction. That way, eventually we’ll learn that there’s nothing wrong with the black social construct.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

  9. Well, I guess I don’t agree that one race in the film is fictional. “Maldonian” is a fictional country, not a fictitious race. I thought the point was that this prince is clearly non-white, yet doesn’t appear to be black (or if he’s black, then of mixed race). That describes an awful lot of people in real life, doesn’t it?

    I agree with your impatience, Black Sentinel, about all the annoying white royal couples in children’s movies, and I agree that we aren’t yet seeing all the loving black couples we need to. I’m just not sure how that means it’s wrong to address other issues, or to give an example of a loving, racially complicated couple. That, after all, is real life, especially in a nation like ours, with more than just two races well represented, and a vast mixed-race population (which, of course, includes not just those who identify as such on surveys, but also most black and Latino Americans).

    More surprisingly to me, you say that “this was supposed to be a princess movie based on the black community. Black people in the black community are black, not mixed race couples.”

    I guess I missed where it was announced that this was a movie based on the black community, or where the black community was defined as not including inter-racial couples.

    Do you believe that all inter-racial couples stand outside the black community? If so, then my aunt and uncle, for instance, stand outside the black community. And you wouldn’t want to try telling that to my aunt, at least not in person!

    You are, of course, entitled to your own definition of community. I just want to be clear that I don’t know any black person in an interracial relationship who thinks they aren’t as much as part of the black community as anyone else.

    “Of course the black community people are made up of a lot of mixture since we understand how slavery was. But, again black community, black couples.”

    This is an excellent point. Does this mean that it’s fine if both people in a couple are part black and part white, but that you’d better make sure there’s at least some black in each person, or they’re both out of the community?

    “Do a mixed race couple. But don’t then try and sell it to the black community as a movie encompassing our collective story.”

    Hmm. I’m not sure any cartoon can actually encompass the collective black story. Nor that there can be a collective black or white story in this country; our history is a shared one, as much as people often want to deny that fact.

    In any case, I’m pretty such mixed-race couples are very much a part of the collective story of blacks in America, especially today. If you want an all-black couple because they’re the dominant element in the black community … then how to argue against using only white couples, as the dominant community in the U.S., to represent the nation in film? I think we have to be more flexible than that, don’t you?

    “Our story in the black community is and should be black girls find love with their black boys.”

    I think that’s the bottom line here, isn’t it? That you want to advocate strongly in favor of black men and women restricting themselves to finding love with other black men and women? I’m fine with that viewpoint, even if I don’t agree with it, but I don’t think it’s terribly realistic to expect Disney to endorse it.

    “I find it interesting that we want to think that a black girl just can’t have everything she needs in the black community.”

    Well, this comes back to the terrible problem of a lack of loving black couples in the media. About which I think we’re in total agreement.

    “He said they just couldn’t find any good stories involving two black characters.”

    Well, if that’s what he said, then he must not have found any such stories among the two books on his bookshelf. Now, the melting pot of New Orleans idea, that I understand. Although California is statistically far more of a melting pot in terms of interracial couples.

    “I just felt that if this was going to be a first for them. Then do it the way they usually pair their princesses. And if they wish to come back and start getting all multicultural love, then so be it.”

    I totally agree with this feeling, Black Sentinel. Your frustration comes through most clearly in this line, I think, and I feel like I feel it with you.

    On the other hand, I would have a hard time explaining to anyone in, or a product of, an inter-racial relationship that they would need to wait to see *their* story because someone else is first in line. I think that sort of “oppression Olympics” is always problematic, and as long as Disney didn’t set out to screw blacks and privilege multiracial people, I’d have a hard time telling them they have to improve their depictions of Americans in a particular order.

    Comment by James | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

    • I am sorry James but the Disney character developer never said that this man was multiracial or any other such thing. He said that this character was purposefully racially ambiguous and from some fictional land. I am sorry; I don’t see how this equates with a multiracial person. But, since we don’t know what races even exist in this fictional land leaving it up to interpretation. So to me this man has no race and is thus an ambiguous nothing race with whom the black girls watching the movie has to come up with her own racial decisions. What reason should this be?

      It is not a problem for movies to address other issues. So if mixed race people need to be represented then wouldn’t Pocahontas have done the trick? That was the real deal for mixed race couples. I mean it had a white man and a Native American woman. This would be considered a mixed race couple right?

      So to me that has already been done. Why can’t a claim of something being for the black community be just that? Why does it have to be complicated or address other things? I mean really, it is ridiculous that when something comes to the black community all half assed, we are always told to make the concession. Why for once can the black community not be forced to accept this kind of trade off? That is my concern.

      I know that you say race is a social construct. But when a person says the white community, do you say well the white community is mixed race couples? That isn’t what people say nor is it the norm. So no one would say that I am going to make a princess movie based on the white community and then have an Asian prince. That wouldn’t be the white community. That would be the mixed race couples community.

      My point is that black people in America by definition ARE a multiracial race of people. BUT, that does not negate the fact that we are black. That does not negate the fact that when a person says black community couple, they are NOT talking about a black woman and racially ambiguous man. They are probably talking about what we know as a black couple; the multiracial black person who by all accounts looks black.

      They never said it would include an interracial couple. They said this was going to be the first Disney movie based on the black community. “Originally the prince was explicitly reported as being the jazz-loving monarch of a European country.” But received a LOT of flack decided “By giving the prince an olive, but still white, complexion and a Brazilian accent, Disney gets to go forward with their original white hero yet make him ambiguous enough to not be unequivocally criticized as white at the same time.”

      So it seems to me that only the black boys who might want to watch a Disney film about the so called black community are getting screwed. Who should they identify with from this movie, the voodoo wielding villain? Come on, Disney purposefully went for the white savior method of plot writing. They never defined this movie as some sort of ode to interracial love.

      I don’t quite understand your question about inter racial couples standing outside the black community. I can’t answer to that. But at any rate you are barking up the wrong tree here with any accusations of interracial love hate out of me if that is where you are going. I wouldn’t be here if a blatantly multiracial couple hadn’t found love. So I have no problem with that.

      What I do have a problem with; is that blacks are continuously denied the opportunity to see the loving black couples, who are undoubtedly, out there in black communities everywhere. And I don’t think that the collective black story can be told either. What I was alluding to was that in order to have black children there HAD to be black couples. That is the story I am talking about. I am talking about black people who are straight from Africa and thus probably mono-racial or part of the black American community and being of a long history of multiracial stock. It doesn’t matter; the black family story is one of black parents and children.

      NO I don’t want to advocate for black people restricting themselves to finding love with blacks. I guess you don’t get what I am saying. I want to see a story that was said to be about the African American community be about just that the African American community. And yet somehow it was realistic for Disney to accept the idea of two Asians, Middle Eastern and a plethora of white couples. Only a black couple shouldn’t rely on Disney’s endorsement. Hmmm?

      You say that you would have a hard time explaining to anyone that they would have to wait to see their story. Yet, isn’t that what black people are being told? We have been waiting a long time, and obviously need to continue waiting. They have done a biracial couple, white couples, a Chinese couple and a Middle Eastern couple like I said earlier. So it seems that blacks still haven’t been represented. It is interesting that we will still have to sit this one out. I don’t have much hope. The next black princess will probably be paired with a Lesbonian lesbian Prince’ess before we see the traditional black family. That is too bad that a lot of people including Disney believe that blacks should have no expectations of representation.

      Thanks.

      Comment by theblacksentinel | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

  10. My comment directly above is an answer to Black Sentinel’s comment. I just took too long to post it! 🙂

    On to the next response …

    “… in an attempt to try and transcend racism, we’ll just pretend that racism is merely a social construct.”

    Well, race and racism are both social constructs. They only exist because we have been taught to believe in them, and to understand them in a particular way. One proof of this is that our society used to have a very different way of understanding what “race” is, and in other societies with black and white members, race is generally viewed quite differently today.

    This isn’t to say that we should be trying to “transcend racism.” Racism is real, and it is profoundly important. Just as race, even though a mere social construct, has powerfully shaped the lives and opportunities of all Americans alive today. It would be a profound mistake, in my view, to try to ignore that reality, just as it would be wrong to believe, for an instant, that our notions of race have any basis in who we intrinsically are as people.

    “A four fold increase in mixed families can hardly be considered by itself as a “dramatic” upsurge.”

    Well, I think it’s a dramatic upsurge regardless of the absolute numbers, or percentage of the entire population.

    Regardless, the percentage of children born to interracial couples is now between 5% and 10% of all children born in the U.S., and the percentage is rising rapidly. (This does not include multiracial children born to parents who identify as belonging to the same race, even if one or both parents are themselves of mixed race.)

    Simple math tells us that the children of multiracial relationships will shortly begin to outnumber those of any particular race, other than white.

    “I think the number of identifiably black couples still outranks the number of mixed couples.”

    Yes, although for couples of childbearing years, that’s only barely true now, and will not be true for much longer.

    Of course, “identifiably black” is only a social construct, too. Census and survey data shows that many people who, in a previous generation, would have considered themselves black now self-identify as multiracial, instead.

    “I’m sorry, an animated feature of a black couple falling in love, especially after all the feature films depicting white only couples in love, is hardly sending a powerful message.”

    I’m sorry, you’re quite right. I won’t scroll back up to see exactly how I phrased that, but it must have been a stupid comment on my part. 😉

    One example isn’t powerful in sea of counterexamples, but it’s a start. I *do* believe that children, in particular, are strongly influenced by what they see on screen, in books, and in their daily lives. Show them loving black couples, or loving interracial couples, or a black president, and this will shape their assumptions about the world and its possibilities.

    “Seeing the importance of putting a mixed race couple on the screen before putting up a black couple sends a powerful message as well. The message is that the social construct people refer to as the black community still isn’t worth noting.”

    I agree that we wouldn’t want to send a message that either community isn’t worth noting. (I disagree that mixed-race couples aren’t part of the black community, however.)

    The issue, I think, is whether either type of couple has a claim to be shown first, or that their community isn’t worth noting if they aren’t.

    “there’s nothing wrong with the black social construct.”

    I’m not sure I know what that is, but if part of showing there’s nothing wrong with the black social construct is showing plenty of black couples, then I’m all for that.

    Comment by James | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply

  11. James,

    Well I would hardly call a four fold increase in a pitiful number an upsurge. Four times paltry is still paltry. And if we don’t see eye to eye on what a “dramatic” upsurge is I seriously don’t think we’ll agree on what constitutes a social construct. According to you a mixed couple is only a social construct and yet, that social construct is afforded representation in a Disney film more so than the black social construct. And all the while, the people who make up the Disney social construct appear to be very selective when deciding what social constructs get represented in their films. And while the white social construct is well represented, and mixed race social constructs get theirs, the black social construct still waits. 🙂

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | Reply


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