Disney's self-proclaimed squeaky clean reputation is not completely without blemish. Throughout its history, the studio has come under fire numerous times for its misrepresentation - and lack of inclusion - of people of color. Racial bias within the Disney brand reaches back to the company's beginnings in the 1920s and '30s. Notably, Disney's The Princess and the Frog, released in 2009, introduced the first Black princess to Disney's lineup, and while many praised Disney for this step towards inclusivity, others contested that one film could not atone for decades of racial and cultural insensitivity.
Since the release of The Princess and the Frog - and especially since the studio's earliest offerings - Disney has substantially improved its inclusion and representation of non-white groups; however, many believe this representation could still be increased. Since Disney's acquisitions of blockbuster properties such as Marvel and Star Wars, characters of color have appeared more consistently - 2018's Black Panther became the highest-grossing solo superhero movie of all time, and the third Star Wars trilogy features a much more diverse cast than its 1970s progenitor. Despite this diversity increase, many claim the Disney brand can always expand and improve its representation.
In order to truly understand the Disney studio's growth, we must reexamine their past offerings. Some of these films are widely regarded as insensitive and have been for some time, while others still largely bask in a rosy, nostalgic glow.