Submitted by Amisha Upadhyaya
A Newsweek article, “A Frog of a Different Color,” about “The Princess & the Frog” was surprising to me. Alison Samuels is a well-known black journalist, one of the leading voices of black women in America. In the article, she suggests that what is more of a fairytale than Disney’s movie is black women’s dream of a black family unit. Black men, she says, just aren’t sharing or wanting the same dream.
If anything, Samuels suggests, black women should let go of their dying fairytale and see what this modern movie has to teach, namely that it’s time for black women to look for men outside of their culture’s boundaries as the princess does.
The prince in the movie is not black. In fact, as Disney did with Aladdin, he’s an amalgamation of brown people lumped together: Naveen, the name of the prince, is an Indian name, with a French accent in Louisiana so….maybe he’s an Asian-Creole hybrid? (I have a friend from Montreal of Anglo-Indian Creole background so they exist…)
It’s radical to call it a day with one’s own men no matter how dismal the statistics Ms. Samuels cites or alludes to: 1 in 9 black men in prison, more than are in college; 35% of black male college grads vs 47% of their female counterparts; 14% of black men marrying outside of their race vs 4% of black women; etc. But are people stats?
Perhaps it is not giving up on one’s own but expanding one’s self. Perhaps the frustration is high within the black woman’s circle. Perhaps, as I see with other Brownie women, what Ms. Samuel’s is implying is that women — no matter what their color — ought to go for love rather than sacrifice it at the expense of an ideal or vision of how one’s life should be rather than reality. As the princess did.
Or perhaps these stats do not reflect the men giving up on themselves as much as society having given up on them or some combination of the two.
Am wondering how many within her community share Ms. Samuel’s viewpoint?