There is nothing okay about racbending established what few Women of Color in Disney (Powhatan, African-American, Chinese and Desi/Arab) that are [barely] represented into non-descriptive caricatures of other cultures and peoples. It’s an act of racism, pure and simple, no matter the author’s “intent”. The fact that she continues this practice and is praised universally for it makes me angry.
The fact that I’ve seen this show up on several blogs focused on promoting positive/reaffirming artwork and media focused on People of Color without so much a critical thought or a second look at was being presented (most likely the attention is more or less drawn to the racebent white fairy tale characters like Merida, Snow White, Cinderella and etc.), bothers me. Who Mulan (a character based on a ballad/poem and legend of Hua Mulan), Pocahontas (a character who is already structured within a romanticized and racist account of what happened to the actual woman herself), Jasmine (a character based on the Princess from 1001 Arabian Nights) and Tiana (an African American woman living during in New Orleans in the 1920s, a time where there would’ve been no qualms about openly abusing her on the streets, much less hanging her, or throwing racial slurs at her without fear of repercussions, for attempting to make something of herself) are is fucking important, both within the media they appear in and the fanworks that attempt to depict them.
Excluding the absolute erasure of the history of Pocahontas (which is nothing to be fucked with, despite Disney’s firmly established lack of “we don’t give a fuck if she was a real person” with its animated feature) If this was merely a case of rewriting the story, say like Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Shirley Climo’s Korean Cinderella or Rachael Isadora’s Rapunzel, then there likely wouldn’t be a problem. The fact that the artwork is explicitly targeting the characters without thought to their story’s general historic background and character arcs, more or less states that this is merely a case of playing dress up akin to that of a doll generator. a “East Asian Tiana” still deals with Anti-Black racism, a “Native American Mulan” still fights for her Chinese father’s honor against the Huns, so on and so forth.
This is the anti-thesis of the speculative nature of “chromatic recasting”, or as its more commonly known, “racebending”.
Behaving as though they are interchangeable, that People of Color are interchangeable no matter their life experiences, stories, and culture, is flat out racist. No, this being fan art does not give it or the artist a pass. “They can do whatever she wants” is not an excuse. The fact that they continues to do this explicitly expresses that they do not care.