Films like “Aladdin” do not accidentally harm us, they do so with intention so that they may continue to define our ways of life for us. By Lily Bolourian I will be the first to admit that I grew up obsessively watching Disney princess movies for years. I had pencil pouches, backpacks, dolls designed with princess-everything. For Halloween, I have gone all-out dressing up as Snow White, Belle, and Jasmine. At 26-years-old, I am still amused by the songs, animations, dresses, and escape from reality that those movies provided. When Disney announced the plans for a live-action “Aladdin” film, my stomach dropped as I realized that every single orientalist stereotype that was born of that movie would now come full circle. For people of color the fear of erasure, whitewashing and racism is based on the experience of having it happen over and over. Disney’s “Aladdin”, amazingly, manages to cast a net on two different continents and about a dozen countries and squeezes all of our unique cultures into one “exotic” box. Indeed, riddled throughout the movie are elements of Indian, Persian, and Arab culture.
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