Meet Princess Sofia, the newest animated royal to join Disney’s ranks. She is the star of Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess, a new series to air on both Disney Channel and Disney Junior. What’s just a little different about Sofia, compared to the rest of Disney’s princesses past and present, is that she appears to be Latina. Or at least, of Latina descent. Or at the very least, vaguely suggestive of a Latina.
Sofia’s mother is Miranda, and she is voiced by Grey’s Anatomy actress Sara Ramirez. Miranda is also noticeably darker skinned than either Sofia or any of the other characters in the series, making her…Latina?
At least that’s the claim of executive producer Jamie Mitchell. That would make Sofia Disney’s first Latina princess, a milestone to be sure, akin to Princess Tiana, the overtly African American princess of Disney’s 2009 Princess and the Frog.
Except that unlike Tiana, Disney isn’t promoting Sofia as Latina, and let’s face it, she could pass for white. Mitchell says in fact that Sofia’s race is “sort of a matter-of-fact situation rather than an overt thing.”
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But does that mean that the network is promoting tolerance by not pointing out Sofia’s ethnicity, or it is whitewashing her race, and missing a moment to foster greater acceptance of the notion of little Latinas as princesses and heroines? Time will tell as the series airs, but frankly, we’d like to see a little more acknowledgment of Sofia’s heritage.
What are your thoughts on Disney’s littlest Latina?