Disney: Where dreams get broken?

by vanessa on October 19, 2015 - 1:11am

In June of 2015, Julianna McDermott posted the shocking article titled as “Girl Told She Shouldn’t Dress As Elsa ‘Because she’s black’ Recieves Outpouring Of Support”. Rachel Muir, an Australian aboriginal, and her daughter Samara attended a Disney-themed event at a shopping center in Melbourne. Samara dressed up as her favorite Disney princess Elsa, in excitement for the event. The author goes on to mention that while waiting in line to play in a snow pit another mother and her two daughters turned to Samara and said they couldn’t understand why she would dress up as Elsa, because Queen Elsa isn’t black. Rachel asked the woman what she meant by the comment, and while the other mother may have not known what to answer one of her daughters bluntly pointed at Samara and said she’s ugly because she is black. Samara was heartbroken by the comment and started crying, the next few days she was very quite, and even wanted to skip out on her aboriginal dance class because she didn’t want to be black. The author mentions how the story had spread through social media and sent a lot of support Samaras way, she was even crowned the Queen Elsa of Australia in a Facebook competition and her spirits were lifted back up.

 

I was absolutely shocked after reading this article and felt the need to respond to it because the events that happened that day probably changed Samaras view of her self forever. As a young girl dressing up as my favorite Disney princess was a way to make me feel beautiful and powerful, and it saddens me that those feelings were cut short for Samara. Reading the first comment about the girls questioning Samara on why she would dress up as Elsa if she’s not white I found that it really supported Winkler’s statement in “Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Races” saying that children are not only able to recognize race from a very young age but they also are able to develop racial biases by the ages three to five. I found myself questioning whether the girls would consider it ok if they dressed up as a princess of different ethnicity other than white, like Tiana from Princess and the Frog. The fact that the girls really distinguished Samaras skin color being the problem supports that their reasoning of why she couldn’t be Elsa was purely off racism as opposed to her hair color or them just not looking anything alike.  One of the girls also told Samara that she’s ugly because she’s black, I think this is a reflection of how the mother is raising her children. It’s important that parents discuss race with their children in an appropriate, not dumbed downed, lesson on racial inequality (Winkler, 2009). I also wonder whether these ideas of the two girls come from racist views of the mother which may have been passed down to them, this is why I think it’s important that racism is addressed in schools. Parents, teachers, coaches, we all need to start acknowledging that racism exists and it starts younger than we may assume. Its time we educate children about race at a young age so they can grow up respecting one another, and avoiding cases like Samara’s which could have eventually had a horrible effect on her self-confidence.

 

McDermott, J. (2015). Girl told she shouldn’t dress as Elsa “because she’s black” receives outpouring of support. The Huffington Post Canada. 

Comments

I found the topic of your article, “Disney: Where dreams get broken?” to be really fascinating. Of all the others response I when through, yours stood out to me the most because at a younger age, I believed that I couldn't get dressed as Cinderella or Snow White because of my skin color. The story of Samara proves that children are able to recognize race and develop racial biases from a very young age. I agree with you saying that it is not only the parent’s duty to talk about race with their children, but also teachers and coaches. Maybe the way the two girls acted come from the racist views of the mother as you said, but we cannot be sure of that, it can also be the influence of their friends or what they see on social media. Samara’s case is indeed very sad, this situation surely had an effect on her self-confidence, since she was not only called ugly but ugly because she is black! As the author states, she was very quiet, and she even wanted to stop going to her aboriginal dance class because she didn’t want to be black anymore because of what happened.

I chose to comment on “Disney: Where dreams get broken?” summarized by Vanessa because I found it interesting and also very heartbreaking. I find it incredibly frustrating that there are still people out in the world who can be so narrow minded. This poor little girl who doesn't have the slightest clue of what racism is, gets told she can’t dress like a princess because the princess she loves so much, is a color that she isn’t and on top of that, gets called ugly. First of all, how can a little girl be ugly? Second of all, the little girl is an Australian aboriginal and for that rude, narrow minded lady, group blacks and aboriginals together is completely wrong and shows how little educated she is. She needs to educate herself because blacks and aboriginals aren't the same. I also found it touching how the little girl named Samara was crowned the Queen Elsa of Australia in a Facebook competitions and her spirits were lifted back up. In conclusion, I’m curious to see how Samara’s mother handled the situation. I hope Samara doesn't let this incident tear her down or change her as a person. She is a beautiful girl inside and out and she shouldn't let one person tell her what she can and cannot do. She also shouldn't let a person define who she is.

I am outraged by this comment, and if I understand well, it is the young girl who told Samara she could not dress up. I think the mother should of explain her right away why this comment is so bad. Children are not color blind, but they are very naive and do not understand the world they are in, in a sort of way. What I mean by this, is that the young girl probably did not know what she was saying. I think it is the fault of the mother, who did not explain to her; she does not have to get mad, but maybe just apologize to the young girl, and then explain it to her. For Samara, it is very sad, and I hope now she is better and her mom explained to her what was happening...even if it really sad that she had to live this. However, children are children, and sometimes it is not meant to be mean, they just do not know. Also, I do not think that it is the fault of Disney; they do not really have something to do with this. But your comment was really good and interesting!

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