With her fair skin and blue eyes, a new character in a Walt Disney TV movie doesn’t look like the Hispanic princess she was intended to be. Advocacy groups are questioning whether Princess Sofia is an accurate representation of Hispanics and Latinos.
The President of the Mexican Heritage Corporation, Marcela Davison Aviles, told AP that calling Sofia a Latina princess is “not an accurate use of the term as many in our community understand its meaning.''
Co-executive producer of the movie explained in his Facebook post that Sofia is “a mixed-heritage princess in a fairytale world.''
Craig Gerber said that her mother and birth father come from kingdoms inspired by Spain and Scandinavia, though Sofia was born and raised in Enchancia, a “make-believe ‘melting pot' kingdom'' patterned after the British Isles.
“Her mixed heritage and blended family are a reflection of what many children today experience,” Gerber was quoted as saying.
Hispanic advocacy groups are claiming Disney isn't doing more to promote its first princess with Hispanic-inspired roots.
“They've done such a good job in the past when they've introduced Native American, African-American and Asian princesses. They made a big deal out of it, and there was a lot of fanfare, but now they're sort of scrambling. It's unusual because Disney has been very good about Latino diversity,” spokeswoman for the National Council of La Raza, Lisa Navarrete, told AP.
The film and a subsequent TV series depict the pretty princess after her mother marries the king of Enchancia.
Sofia is voiced by Caucasian Modern Family actress Ariel Winter, and her mother is played by Hispanic Grey's Anatomy star Sara Ramirez.
“Sofia's world reflects the ethnically diverse world we live in, but it is not our world,'' senior vice president of original programming for Disney Junior, Nancy Kanter, said.
“It is a fairytale and storybook world that we hope will help spur a child's imagination. It's one where we can have flying horses, schools led by fairies, songs that have a Latin beat and towns with markets like those found in North Africa,” she said.