Too Sensitive? Disney Princess Covering Watermelon Candy Causes Pause

March 5, 2012  |  

We don’t have to pretend like we aren’t aware of the stereotype that black folks love watermelon (and fried chicken) to say that the assumption that Disney’s only black princess, Tiana, covering a package for Watermelon Dipping Candy being labeled “racist” is a bit extreme.

I’m no fool to the subtleties of racism but I think it’s a stretch to draw racism out of this Valentine’s Day candy that was marketed by Dig N’ Dips. On one side of the packet, white princess Aurora of Sleeping Beauty covers a vanilla-flavored dipping stick, while on the other, Tiana is the face for the watermelon treat. Sociological Images has called the marketing “insensitive” at least “In light of this history [of black people being stereotyped to love watermelon], as well as the ongoing racism [that’s still perpetuated].” But that conclusion is hypersensitive in my opinion.

Tiana seems to have landed on the watermelon candy by default. To be fair, in other packaging Princess Belle of Beauty and the Beast appears on the vanilla-flavored candy and Cinderella covers the Cherry-flavored dips. Is there a hidden message in that? I’m not even sure I would have a problem if this was vanilla- and chocolate-flavored candy. Sure, it may make you pause for a second, but “racist” can’t be the default response every time something that deals with black people catches our eye—and incites our on racial hypersensitivity.

Do you think Tiana being featured on the watermelon candy is a coincidence or subtle racism?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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  • SteveAsat

    I, for one, am offended. When are the Disney PRINCES gonna get a piece of this action? Those chicks have monopolized the spotlight for too long. Give us some merch with Prince Charming, Prince Mermaid, Princerella, and Prince Whoever-dated-Snow-White! Hell, do these guys even HAVE names? Oh yeah, “Beast”. Now tell me that’s not sexism alive and well in the 21st century.

  • Urban_chic77

    I say people need to chill. I’m black myself. I feel like the whole race thing won’t die down as easy with people hyping the situation like this. Plus….I mean, it’s just candy lol.

  • Candacey Doris

    I think that’s going too far to call this racism or even stereotyping. Besides…watermelon is delicious.

    • Thatsme13

      Anyone with enough life experience knows what this is. When I go to the store and I find “Vanilla Swirl” girls soap with the white princesses only a week after Princess and the Frog came out, during Christmas time I had to dig and drive far to anything Tiana,but white ones were everywhere. As a matter of fact the whole Princess campaign did not start UNTIL Princess and the Frog came out. Then even the Disney store didnt have Tiana clothes, toys, but the other white princesses did. Hell yes its subtle! Stop the pimping of Black people– you had better get wise!

      • grimeyshiny

        that is always the case with black dolls unless you live in the city. I was in a big box store on in an ohio town on black friday two years ago and they didn’t have a black doll in the whole place.

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  • coco1love

    I do think it’s stereotypical, but not racist… I always thought the watermelon thing was interesting, no one in my family even likes it like that…

    • guest

      I was thinking the same. I actually don’t care for watermelon too much. I’ll eat it for a summer treat if nothing else is around, but it’s not like it’s my favorite food in the world.

  • liking watermelon means nothing is wrong with us, if you don’t like watermelon there’s something wrong with YOU. 

  • Smacks_hoes

    Definately to sensitive….it’s not that serious

  • OK, it’s probably not intentionally racist (no one but the Disney execs in particular now for sure), but it’s undoubtedly an ‘oops’. But hey, a little controversy = free ad space!

    i want watermelon candy now…

  • Kkoz

    Can we please find the photo that has the inverse? Because surely those were assigned randomly and there is one where Tiana is on the cover of the vanilla flavor… NEXT!

  • Merriegirl

    I love watermelon especially with salt. The simple association with the food and our race doesn’t make it racist, or the observation that many of us may like those foods. 
    Its the other associations that people make with us eating watermelon & chicken, that we are poor, we’re coons, or that we lack education. & I’m sure that disney is aware of all these things. Racism is marketable it will increase their sales. & if they can market Tiana that way & get away with it, they will.

  • sweettea

    So are black people no longer allowed to like chicken or watermellon now? Are we supposed to avoid these things that taste good and millions of people of all races enjoy because of a stereotype. Thats not fair 🙁

  • Pfeiffer87

    At least watermelon and chocolate have positive connotations – both are delicious!