Halloween is just a few weeks away. Kids have been planning and anticipating the day where they can show off their chosen costumes as they fill their buckets with candy. As a Disney family, my grown kids and grandbabies will most likely wear one of their favorite characters, something we have been doing since I was a young child.
This year once again, we are seeing posts about the proper costumes to wear so as to be culturally appropriate and not insult anyone. One of the biggest issues last year was with Maui and Moana from the recently released film "Moana". Last year Disney came under attack for their Maui costume, which was deemed as "too brown" and pulled from their stores.
When did things become so complicated? As a huge Disney fan and Disney Blogger, I have attended countless events and know first hand a little bit of what goes into the making of many Disney characters. Disney goes through great lengths to research the background, culture and includes everything from site visits and interviewing the locals to bringing in experts in specific fields to ensure accuracy and authenticity whenever possible.
While I understand and recognize that Moana must and should have a special meaning for youngsters of Polynesian descent, this should not in my opinion prevent non Polynesians from admiring or wanting to be like Moana. Instead of fighting it and turning it into an issue, why not allow kids and adults to embrace the different ethnicities.
There is talk that caucasian children have plenty of princesses and characters to choose from and while I understand this train of thought, I still fail to see how a young child dressing as Moana or Tiana or other characters that are of a different ethnicity than that child is considered an insult and racist. Most of the princesses come from Fairy tales based in Europe and while here is the United States, we are a melting pot, in reality, most of the children do not relate to the characters as being anything other than a favorite.
This is not to say that I don't value or respect the different cultures and am personally thrilled that Moana, Tiana and Elena have been introduced as strong role models for Polynesian, Black and Hispanic children. I do however think that we tend to overthink and use certain events as tools to add fuel to the racism fire instead of using them to teach, learn and add value to the different ethnic groups.
This year, use the Halloween costume and the Disney characters as a learning tool and teach the kids about the unique and amazing cultures of Moana, Tiana, Elena, Elsa and Anna, Ariel, Belle, Cinderella. Because as you can see, they are from all over the world!
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