Honestly, I’m just getting around to reading and processing all of the craziness surrounding the ethnic makeup of Disney’s new princess, Sofia. Apparently she is controversial because Disney has not wholeheartedly confirmed that she is in fact their first ever Latina princess, and also because according to some reports “activists” “bloggers” and other “members” of the Latino community have spoken out against Princess Sofia precisely because “she is not Latina enough!”
One of these articles was written by CNN contributor Ruben Navarrette Jr. and in it he basically points the finger at us Latino bloggers and activists for making the controversy bigger than what it should be.
Mr. Navarrette, I agree with you that the controversy is bigger than it should be, but I also take issue with the statement you made which described Latino bloggers as “eager to engage in that favorite parlor game: ‘I’m authentic, you’re not'” in relation to this Princess Sofia debacle. I am both a blogger and Latino and I really could not honestly care less if the Walt Disney Company considers their latest princess Latina or not. It’s not that it doesn’t matter. I’m sure many people have legitimate reasons for raising their voices in protest, and while I do appreciate you calling out Disney for being so scared to call Sofia a Latina, I am just not one of those people.
What does it even mean to be Latino or Latina enough?
Did Dora the Explorer have the same issues when she was first created, or was the fact that she was darker and spoke Spanish enough of a pass for her to avoid the dreaded “is she Latina enough” question? Exactly who gets to decide how much “Latino” is enough to claim the ethnicity? And more importantly, why have we even been entertaining this ridiculous controversy?
At the end of the day, and regardless of our PC and scholarly debates, when Sofia debuts on her made for TV movie special on November 18th, our kids – those of them watching – will be the ones deciding who and what exactly Princess Sofia is to them. If they think her skin tone is dark enough, if her lack of accent is relatable enough, if her mother looks and sounds Latina enough, will ultimately depend on how they each individually perceive her. It could very well be that what we as their parents have taught them will certainly have much more of an impact on what they think about Princess Sofia than any label Disney could still put on her. And honestly, shouldn’t we be more concerned about that?
I for one am certainly comfortable with claiming Sofia and her mamá as Latinas if I need to!