I am so disappointed and perhaps even a bit disheartened. Today I can actually say that I was crestfallen when I read something that I felt was negative, written by a huge corporation that I have always considered to be “magical”. A friend of mine, who helps get people jobs in acting, posted this on Facebook today, “Disney is casting for the ideal family for their next Disney Cruise commercial!! The casting notice specifically states that they are looking for REAL families and they would like a mother, a father, a boy and a girl. They also stated in their casting notice that they do not want to see anyone who is “too dark skinned – light skin preferred”. She went on to write, “I just took my family on your cruise line and I spent a lot of my very real money. Perhaps Disney needs a lesson on what a real family looks like. Disney, families come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Shame on you Disney, shame on you”
I had to ask her if this was really true because I honestly did not want to believe it. She forwarded me the email. Although she paraphrased, it was right there in the email. I read that they were looking for people who “appear somewhat on the ambiguous side – but not dark skinned”. Now of course there could have been a certain “look” they were going for – I understand that, but it also read, REAL FAMILIES in bold and then listed, a mom, a dad, a boy and a girl.
What I found most ironic about this is that I read this after spending the afternoon with a good friend. A single, gay, mom of adopted twins, (who are not white – even though she is). They are a “real” family. Just as real as my family is and as real as the gay married couples in our town raising children. Skin color and sexual preference does not determine a “real family”.
My children have never been to Disney. Before today, it was because we just could not afford to go. I was there a few times as a child and, as I wrote earlier…it was magical. I have always tried to describe it to my boys, promising that we would get there some day. Sadly, if this is actually the way Disney is going to define a “real family”, I really don’t have the desire to go anymore. For me, today it has lost a lot of its magic.