3.08.2012

Chock-Full of Fail and Then Some

When The Princess and the Frog was released in November 2009, Disney's first black princess pulled in a cool $267,045,765 mil at the worldwide box office and captured three Academy Award nominations.  And when someone decided to slap Princess Tiana's image on a package of Valentine's Day candy in 2012, they reminded us once again that she is, indeed, black. 

You know...in case anyone forgot.


People love to call us "hypersensitive" or say we're playing the race card when we call out crap like this, but contrary to popular belief, we're being neither.  Just like you can't convince me that someone at ESPN didn't know that ch*nk is a racist term for an Asian person, no one can tell me that someone somewhere at Disney didn't know that watermelon is a racist stereotype against black people. 

How anyone in Disney's PR department looked at that and thought that it passed the smell test truly boggles the mind.  But like Ankh said...it ain't about us.  Even a movie about a black princess, her black parents and her MoC prince-turned-love interest-turned-husband still ain't about us.

And of course, right on cue, here come the excuses for the inexcusable:
The reaction: Oof, says Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel. The packaging "either winks at or is completely oblivious of the stereotype that black people love watermelon." But labeling it "racism" is a "bit extreme" and "hypersensitive," says Brande Victorian at MadameNoire. Indeed, "it's hard to believe that anyone would intentionally make this kind of insensitive mistake," says Thembi Ford at Clutch. Though at the very least, it "should have set off an alarm" somewhere at Disney.  (Yahoo!News)
So....if it's not racism, then what is it?  Now, maybe it was an honest mistake by some idiot who's been living under a rock for the past century or maybe it wasn't, but does it really matter?  Because wrong is wrong, and racism is racism and people really need to stop tip-toeing around this stuff like that's going to make it go away.

Placing Jeremy Lin's face above a fortune cookie is racist; emailing a "joke" about the president's mother having sex with a dog is racist; and yes, putting a black woman on a package of watermelon-flavored candy is racist.  Whether it was an accident made by some wide-eyed innocent or the intentional act of a flaming bigot, it's still racist.  I know that may be hard for some people to accept, but once again, does it really matter?  The short answer is no, and the long answer is hell no.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  post-racial my ass.

15 comments:

  1. Watermelon Princess, eh? Hypersensitive? It's a wonder we don't go on rampages and kill our classmates, teachers and colleagues.

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    1. You mean like a lot of white folks? Yup...I went there...

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    2. What cracks me up about all these articles and books analyzing these school shooters is that no one points out that they're white.

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    3. Damn y'all even forgot the murder of family members in group sets, along with kidnapping of black men,and young child and keeping their body parts to the freezer for later feasts.

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    4. @Modest-goddess

      Of corse not. You forget that they are the default humans *gag*

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  2. whoa, i've never come across these! Haha, things like this don't really surprise me anymore. It's a wonder that we even still all get a long at times....

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  3. *deep inhale.....deep exhale*

    If Caribbean-born/dwelling me knew this wasn't a good idea, I don't see how they missed it.

    Then again, this is the same company that denied the existence of Sunflower, the donkey-taur black servant. Even though a piece of Disney merchandise featured her chowing down on (you guessed it!) a massive slice of watermelon.

    I'm so unsurprised, I'm not even pissed. It's like some child who keeps licking the window pane - first three times, you react sharply; after the 50th time, you go, "Hm, must be Tuesday.".

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  4. Whoa. Did not see that. But am not the least bothered by stuff like that anymore. I think I stopped caring a long time ago, realising that caring wouldn't really make a difference with ignorant people.

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  5. Hypersensitive? Perhaps this is selective amnesia and a lack of responsibility on Disney's part.

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  6. What gets me is that the watermelon flavor is paired up with the Vanilla flavor and with Sleep Beauty--who's white and blonde. I'm also tempted to comment on the fact the white princess is receiving (she's the "To") and the black one is giving (she's the "from"), but perhaps that's going beyond being hypersensitive. I guess I just "can't take a joke," or "need to lighten up," or those other phrases that are thrown out to POC when they call BS on something.

    This is casual racism and just plain lazy marketing. Stuff like this makes me nervous about working at a design firm, especially as a black woman. The design world is still a predominately white (and male) field. I'm sure this was NOT the fault of the designer--the candy proposal was done well before it got into the hands of that person--but it would pain me to be the person who had to make the packaging for this knowing full well there's something wrong here. I would be tempted to encourage them to have Tiana be a different fruit like blueberry or strawberry since the color of her dress would still work with the color of the packaging (still maybe pink or blue) and not be so damn racist. Unfortunately I would be seen as not taking a joke, being too sensitive and eventually the angry black women who sits in at station four, bent on making packaging only for black people. ::sigh::

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    1. "What gets me is that the watermelon flavor is paired up with the Vanilla flavor and with Sleep Beauty--who's white and blonde."

      I just want to know how vanilla and watermelon match up? If anything, they should had had Tiana as chocolate.

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    2. Retracted my "To" and "From" statement because I just figured out how this candy works, LOL. It's a rip off of Fun Dip. Yeah, I'm slow.

      Looking at various packets of this candy it seems that vanilla or lime is paired up with watermelon. They only seem to come in fruit flavors. Vanilla seems like a bad idea to me because if it IS like old school Fun Dip, it's a pretty bland stick unless it had the powder. At least some of other flavor sticks (like mango) sound more interesting.

      There are packets of this candy that come in larger packs--two sticks and four powder flavors. They have another Disney-based one with Tinkerbell/fairy characters. The black fairy in that packet isn't watermelon, but "tropical fruit." Tiana could have easily been some other fruit flavor.

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  7. Smh. Like Disney wasn't airing racist ass cartoons just 70 years ago. I'm not even surprised.

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  8. And this is why I have never seen this movie or purchased any of it's merch. I knew when the movie was announced Disney wouldn't do right by it.

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  9. Wow, and people defending that shit... that's some stupid in the open. And hardly harmless, they need to shut the fuck up.

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