Recognizing the importance of the Latino market, particularly among families with young children, Disney is debuting a new character, Elena of Avalor, who will be in a new series of that name. The series is a spin-off from Disney Junior’s hit show “Sofia the First.” People reports on her backstory.
Elena is a 16-year-old heir to the throne and like her regal counterparts, she lives in “an enchanted fairytale kingdom inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore,” according to Disney. Last year, a similar Latina character was introduced, but drew fire from critics who said she didn’t look ethnic enough.
Whatever the case, we hope that like many other Disney characters, Elena will be a young woman who inspires girls and women to be leaders, passionate, and make their own decisions –whatever those may be.
And we also hope she doesn’t inspire bureaucrats to try to latch onto her as a political asset. Cartoon characters have a history of being used to send social messages as Mashable reminds us. In the 80s, McGruff the Crime Dog told us to “Just say no” to drugs, G.I. Joe showed us how to stop, drop and roll if we catch on fire, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles turned drugs dealers from cool to dorks. And we can’t forget Captain Planet in the 90s which was entirely devoted to pushing environmental reform across the globe. All of these are worthy causes to educate children on – though Captain Planet was too anti-private sector and pro-government for me.
Kids are impressionable and hold sway with their parents. They are also the leaders of tomorrow, so it’s a smart strategy to get them while their young. That’s why we should keep our antennas up for when government agencies use cartoons to promote social agendas that are neither non-ideological nor non-political.
Earlier this week, we reported on a scheme by the State Department to use characters from the Disney hit “Frozen” in public service announcements (PSAs) to instill in young hearts and minds a fear of the perils of climate change. Disney executives were cold on the idea, but it wouldn’t surprise me that after not succeeding, they will try, try, try again.
Let’s hope Disney stays cold to this idea and Princess Elena is a role model for kids without becoming a tool of the Democratic Party’s agenda. If the Administration persists in trying to enlist Disney to promote its causes, let’s hope Disney will continue to just say no. Last December, the President unilaterally granted work permits to 5 million undocumented people and is bypassing enforcement of immigration laws. Those on the left and right agree that his bypass of the Constitution is wrong. If there's a lesson to teach kids, it should be how to uphold and obey the highest law in the land, but the Administration hasn't really made that a priority. So let’s hope they won’t try to co-opt Princess Elena!
The fight over immigration and the President’s novel approach to the U.S. Constitution is not over, but let’s hope that the next battle won’t be waged on our kids’ TV screens.