Bienvenidos a racial dialogue, friends.
Next month, Disney will formally introduce its newest proponent of absolute monarchy: Princess Sofia.
When The Coming of Sofia was first announced in late 2011, the character immediately drew criticism from people who believe that exposing young girls to princesses will make them grow up to be desperate sluts who hate science and only want to be princesses. But decrying poor feminine role models can grow wearisome after a while. The one subject people never tire of discussing is race. Luckily, Disney has just surprised everyone by announcing that, not only is Sofia a baby (her movies and TV show are geared toward children aged 2-7) — she's a spicy Latina baby.
This came up during a recent press tour of the Sofia production offices, when a blogger noticed that Sofia's mother Miranda was depicted with a darker complexion than the other characters. That's when executive producer Jamie Mitchell confirmed the big news.
However, according to vice president of Disney Junior original programming Joe D'Ambrosia, Sofia is a special brand of Latina—a Latina secreta—whose Latinality will never be acknowledged in her storyline.
"We never actually call it out."
In other words, she is Latina only in the sense that Disney has just now declared her to be Latina.
Reaction to Sofia's proclaimed new heritage has been predictably mixed on the Internet. On a post about the new princesa on NBCLatino.com, one commenter wondered "So what makes her Latina? She looks like a white chick with blue eyes." Others hastened to jump in that many Latinos are fair-skinned.
Though this is certainly true, it does seem odd that Disney would decide to make its first Latina princess look like a blue-eyed version of Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
It's a little like if Disney introduced us to...
African Princess Heidi, a solemn blonde from South Africa.
Or Native American Princess Virginia, a spunky white girl who was kidnapped by "savages."
Or Middle Eastern Princess Heather, a shy bookworm who was born on an American army base in Kuwait but moved away when she was very young and doesn't really remember it.
Or Jewish Princess Alexis Cahill, a straight-talking teenager whose great-great-great-grandfather changed his name from "Cohen" at Ellis Island. (She is Methodist.)
Or Inuit Princess Keisha, a young girl who took the cruise of a lifetime to Alaska and snapped many photos from the ship.
And let's not forget that, even though Sofia is Latina in press conferences, Entertainment Weekly reports that, in her movie, she is actually "half-Enchancian and half-Galdizian."
In any case, the real first Latina Princess already happened, and her name is Ms. Rosie Perez. Next.
[NBC Latino // Image via Disney]