I didn't grow up with Disney movies. The times I remember seeing Disney films was during recess on a rainy day. Obviously, I know about them now, along with the subtle racism within the films. I've noticed how minorities are often portrayed with comedic stereotypes. What is supposed to be funny and subtle is the oppression minorities have faced throughout history, when listened or watched closely.
Buzzfeed published Are These Disney Movies Racist? and I thought it was a great thread to share.
Today's generation is growing up with the so-called "Disney classics" and they are being exposed to the same racism, over and over. It's the themes within these films that may convince young Latinas that being white means being princess-like. They can grow up thinking that the lighter their skin is, the easier life will be for them. After all, most the plots here involve someone getting a happy ending because they so deserve it. They deserve it because they are the more appealing character. They are shown in these films that the means guys or the villains will always be OBVIOUSLY different than the innocent one. It's always the darker characters who are evil or just below the social strata.
Disney (and other) Actors
Another point is that most of the "ethnic" characters in films are portrayed by white actors. I would suggest that there could be times where minorities are exploited through stereotypes that are created by, possibly white, actors. But is there a defense here? I can think of a couple of counter arguments to this: "Well, they're actors. They're suppose to play different characters."
I don't think so. If the part is for a Latina/o character, why should the actor be white? There are plenty of Latina/o actors. Many of whom would add a real description/character to their part without being stereotypical. Of course I also think that many actors are also being stereotypical because of their producers/directors. That's just another story of the film industry - the majority gatekeeping the entertainment industry.
Disney's new summer movie, The Lone Ranger, stars Johnny Depp as an American Indian "Tonto." Another example of stereotypes and white actors trying to "embody" minorities.
Take a look at the link and if you hadn't noticed before, what are your reactions/comments?