Let’s Talk about Race: Part I – Why is Tigerlily so White?

Why is Tigerlily always white? Hello? Anyone?

I don’t think I need to tell anyone that Native Americans were portrayed terribly in the Disney movie, but in case there was any doubt in your mind, let’s clear that up:

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Wow, she sure looks different from the rest of them.

 

Now let’s take a trip back in time. I’m also sticking to movies or live broadcasts which would have been seen by the largest number of people. [Please note that I don’t own any of these images.]

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Disney; 1953

 

Her skin has some color to it, but clearly less “red” than the others. She also has much more Caucasian-like features, most likely to make her look more “attractive.”

 

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Peter Pan (Live); 1954

 

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Carsen Gray; Peter Pan 2003
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Carsen Gray

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t get it.

Apparently Carsen is a member of the Haida tribe, which is all well and good, but–

I was unable to find a definitive answer, but I’m going to guess that she is roughly 1/92nd Native American.

 

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Rooney Mara (Pan); 2015

Is it so hard to find Native American actors? Why are we putting the whitest white people in one of the few roles explicitly meant for a Native person?

Granted, the role itself is rooted in stereotypes, so maybe it’s not the best one to play. But why not cast the role as actually Native American AND re-work the part so it’s more interesting and complex?

 

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