Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lack of Representation

"The New Princess on the Block" blog really got me thinking about Disney. I am a fan of Disney and its shows and movies. But I after talking to my roommate about Disney, we realized that there is a lack of ethnic representation in Disney's current original programs. Shows include Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly Place, Sonny with a Chance, The Suite Life on Deck, Phineas and Ferb, and such. I would think that after making several ethnic movies involving other races besides the predominant Anglo race, such as Mulan, Pocahontas, or Jasmin in Aladdin that more minorities would appear in Disney shows.
There are non-white characters in several Disney shows; however, they do not portray their culture, instead thsoe characters do not behave or represent their culture. Take London Tipton (Brenda Song) in The Suite Life on Deck for example. She is of an Asian background but her character reveals anything but Asian. What I mean by that is that we do not see any portrayal of an Asian culture. London Tipton is the daughter of a wealthy man who owns a hotel. Her mother, who is of Thai origin is never mentioned while her father, who is British is mentioned once or twice in the show. This illustrates the dominance of the Anglo culture because London's father, who is white is mentioned, whereas her mother, of Asian background is never mentioned.
Alex Russo (Selena Gomez) and her mother in Wizards of Waverly Place are Latinos as mentioned in one episode. In that episode, Alex's mother urges Alex to learn Spanish because she would like Alex to get in touch with her roots. It is evident that Alex struggles to learn Spanish, suggesting that she is drifting from her Latino roots and acculturating to the American culture.
It is clear that most Disney characters are white in shows such as Hannah Montana, Sonny with a Chance, etc. Even though there are a few that are non-white, their characters do not display any cultural traditions. So I wonder, as the United States become more and more diverse, why aren't the shows depicting that?

1 comment:

  1. Sonny With A Chance's lead actress is actually Demi Lovato, who is half Mexican!