Disney’s “The Princess of Northern Sudan” is currently in the early stages of production, and according to Salon writer Matthew Pulver, it won’t ever be made. Why not? Because the story of a middle-class white girl whose father finds her an 800-square-mile tract of the African continent to rule “cannot be told without racism and colonialism.”
Not that that has stopped Disney before. Pulver cites among other films “The Princess and the Frog,” in which the female black protagonist “spends a good portion of the movie as an amphibian,” and “The Lion King,” which, although set in Africa, “didn’t even have any Africans in it.”
Spoiler warning: The “jaw-dropping central detail” which derails the story is that the princess of North Sudan isn’t African, but white.
From the title alone, this sounds like a promising departure from history, suggesting perhaps a newfound respect for black characters and the African continent as a place populated by, you know, human Africans. Might this princess be different from Disney’s long lineage of lily-white royals? Could the days of an archetypal Snow White in fact be coming to a close?
There’s quite a bit more outrage dedicated to a film which will allegedly never be made, for those who wish to click over to Salon.
Yes, because it’s set in the “barbaric” Middle East and denies its characters of color their full humanity.
Your white, middle class childhood? Yes, yes they do.