Disney Costumes Don’t Disrespect Diversity

Mia Jay , Staff Writer

Being mixed race, Asian and white, I loved Disney’s Asian princess Mulan during my childhood.  Watching that film as a child, her appearance made me feel like I was also a princess with endless opportunities.

Mulan also inspired me to ask my family about our Chinese heritage and what it was like immigrating to America.  As a result, I learned a lot about my cultural background.

Looking back, I realize now that Mulan’s story was definitely romanticized, as are all movies worth watching.

With recent media stirs about cultural appropriation and calls for a prohibition on using minority Disney characters as Halloween costumes at school, I am perturbed. Kids need to be exposed to culture, and banning the costumes at school just makes minorities further isolated.

A child’s Halloween costume choice is not some kind of social statement.  It about having fun dressing up as a favorite character or hero.

Banning Pocahontas, Moana, or Mulan costumes is misguided because young kids just want to dress up as their role models.  If that role model happens to be a minority doesn’t make the costume choice racist.

In fact, we should applaud children for celebrating minorities. It is a good thing that girls idolize and want to dress up as women of color.  It is evidence of a growing culture of acceptance.

It’s one thing to appropriate culture with a generic representation of an ethnicity, but if a costume is clearly a specific Disney character, it should be okay for school.

There is no doubt that minority groups face hardship. However, Disney princess costumes promote cultural awareness and foster respect.

Banning these costumes goes too far.