Some might argue a kids’ movie packed with white characters is too easy a target in this multicultural age. I beg to differ.
My complaint about Toy Story 3 doesn’t stem just from a desire to see more diverse characters represented in a box office winner (and quality movie). Rather, my dissatisfaction has another dimension: merchandising. We all know how poorly represented people of color are in the mainstream toy market, and Pixar has missed a significant opportunity to address that gap in representation.
Critics of this idea might argue that including a toy of color in the film–and then creating an actual toy from the character–would be a losing proposition for Pixar, as toys of color are less popular than white character toys, even sometimes among children of color. I argue that Pixar has a large enough media platform and merchandising empire to influence the attitudes of all kinds of children toward multicultural play.
In this age, why must Jessie be a redhead? Or solely a redhead? Why can’t she be, say, Latina? Couldn’t Pixar’s merchandising division offer variations on characters so that children can see themselves represented in their everyday play, if not in the movie?
What are your thoughts?