Third Graders Wrote Open Letter To Disney Asking It To End Stereotyping

Two third graders wrote a letter to Disney addressing the gender and racial stereotypes perpetuated at its amusement parks.

New York's Dexter Raymond, 9, went with his family to Disneyland in California last spring.

He observed a series of potentially offensive problems at the park that he discussed with his classmate Sybilla, who had recently been to Disney World.

Together, they penned a letter explaining the possible outcomes of the stereotypes and even offered some harmless solutions.

Maria Popova, a family friend of Dexter's, notes on the site Brain Pickings the criticisms were influenced by their education at The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine in Harlem, which reportedly teaches the effects of white privilege and what it means to be transgender.

The students began the letter by explaining what a stereotype is. They wrote,

For example say somebody said 'girls only like pink,' that's a stereotype, some girls might like yellow and not pink. You can never really judge.

They then point out a "jungle cruise" with dark-skinned robots throwing spears.

Dexter and Sybilla were smart enough to realize this could evoke discrimination against African Americans, suggesting,

We think this reinforces some negative associations, we think you should replace them with monkeys throwing rotten fruit.

Next, they mentioned how some of the actors at the two parks call the children "Prince," "Princess" or "Knight."

As the cast members most likely base their greetings on whether the individuals looks like boys or girls, the students suggest a different strategy to include transgender children.

They wrote,

We think some feelings could get hurt, say by accident you called someone a Prince who wasn't a Prince or a Princess, or a Knight, or who was identifying differently than what they were called. We suggest you say 'Hello, Your Royalty' instead.

The letter was sent to Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, in June and is yet to be answered.

Here's the whole letter:

Citations: Two Nine Year Olds Magnificent Open Letter to Disney About Racial and Gender Stereotypes (Brain Pickings)