Jim Cummings The Princess and The Frog Teaser-gate continues

So here is a blog post that is pretty a typical for how the internet is reacting to this teaser:

The f***ing firefly. Sorry. We’re talking about a kids movie here, so I shouldn’t be swearing. But that’s reflective of how visceral my reaction was to the last 10 seconds of the trailer. After 50 seconds of a pretty princess with at least vaguely racially specific features — i.e. she isn’t just Bella, Ariel or Amy Adams from “Enchanted” painted dark — not smooching a frog, out of nowhere comes this jive-talking, toothless bug speaking with the thickest bayou accent imaginable. And I have to say that my instant reaction was “Oh my God, this is going to be like ‘Song of the South’ and this movie will have to be buried forever.” My immediate read was that Disney was milking every imaginable stereotype of uneducated — but inevitably WISE!!!! — aged black masculinity imaginable. Give that fly a corncob pipe and a pimp walk and he could be Scarlett O’Hara’s man-servant or one of the crows from “Dumbo.” I mostly forgive the “Dumbo” stereotyping in that quaint “They didn’t know any better, but at least they were trying” way. I went back and watched a second time and even though the firefly still looks like he’s the sort of caricature of a cracked out bum Dave Chappelle might have parodied, I’m now figuring he’s meant to just be Cajun, which may be just as inappropriate. Moreso, actually, because obviously Disney’s people are cautious about offending African-American groups, but I’m skeptical the Cajuns have as strong a lobby. The character is [apparently] voiced by Jim Cummings, who is deservedly a huge star in the voiceover world. All respect to Jim Cummings. But Jim Cummings is also a white guy. Wikipedia tells me he spent extensive time in New Orleans, but again… I dunno if that makes it better. In fact, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. The problem here is the character and the direction, though, and not Cummings, who’s just doing what he’s being paid to do… We’ve just reached a point at which Disney should know better, particularly on a film on which they’re so clearly trying to be progressive. –Check the Fein Print

The bold and Italics are mine because this sentence is a big part of this witch hunt. Jim Cummings has spent more than some time in New Orleans and has continue to be a part of the community long after he became famous. For heaven’s sake, look at his website! The whole thing is a tribute to New Orleans. If you find the clip offensive for your own reasons, that is fine, but turning it around to say that JC only spent “some time” in New Orleans and thus isn’t qualified to be in this movie is just plain silly. I am willing to bet JC, with his long history with Disney and love of New Orleans was the first in line for this film.

I wanted to try to not really express my opinions on this but I do have to say one thing. Everyone who objects to Jim Cummings and Randy Newman in the trailer because they are white needs to take five seconds and remember that A) white people also live in New Orleans and B) with animated characters, the race of the voice over actor does not necessarily reflect the race of the character they are playing, so if you knew that Jim Cummings was black playing a white character, would you be this upset?

My other biggest issue with this is that most people are angry because they feel like Jim Cummings is playing a racial stereotype. Does that mean that you would be comfortable with it if you knew he was just playing good old white trash?

This drama is facinating me. I know Disney cannot win because someone is always going to be offended by something they do but the fact that this much vitriol is directed towards a two second clip because the voice acter playing one character “didn’t spend enough time in New Orleans” or is “too white to be in this movie” has moved beyond rational sense to me.

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