Just a few days ago, Disney breathlessly announced the debut of Sofia, the company's first Latina princess in a long line of non-Latina princesses. But little Latina girls barely had time to realize their dream of growing up to be a beautiful princess who sparks serious discussions of race before Disney was already downplaying Sofia's Latina-ness, telling NBC Latino, "We never actually call it out," as such off-putting displays of pride would be unbefitting a princess. Also, there's the fact that Sofia is voiced by Modern Family's Ariel Winter (who similarly doesn't "call out" the fact that she is Latina, because she isn't) and that Sofia is fair-skinned with blue eyes, all of which make her "Latina heritage" seem suspiciously like more of a marketing afterthought—a secret, magical spell quickly cast by Disney, after one blogger noted that Sofia's mother, Queen Miranda, has slightly darker skin.
"She is Latina," executive producer Jamie Mitchell said of her Sofia The First: Once Upon A Princess star, waving a wand that instantly caused everyone in Blogland to begin excitedly debating the many stereotypical assumptions about what Latinos look like, while also arguing that, even so, if Disney were actually going to introduce their first Latina princess, maybe they could have gone with someone who looks a little less like a baby Emma Stone, to make it more obvious? But just as quickly, that spell has been broken: Another producer has now amended those earlier comments, calling Sofia more of a "mixed-heritage princess," whose lineage can be traced back to her mother's Spain-inspired kingdom of "Galdiz," her father's own fairy-tale-version-of-Scandinavian roots, and the nation of Backpedalstan, on her grandfather's side. In that way, Sofia speaks to all little girls who like to play dress up and talk about the complexities of racial identity.
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