I don’t think that this has been mentioned before, sorry if it has. I was reading your review of Lilo and Stitch, which is by far one of my favorite Disney movies, and you did a great job of cataloguing so many of the things I love about it. However, there is one more subtle thing that most viewers might miss without context, and that is the movie’s inclusion of main plot about the continued systematic problems with treatment of Hawaiian Native families by the child welfare system.
At least some social science literature has been written about the consistent removal of Hawaiian native children, usually from more remote islands, due to poverty-linked “neglect” or relative-based fostering systems (‘ohana is an actual key concept among Hawaiian natives regarding childrearing and keeping kids within their biological families through informal relative fostering agreements even when parents are unable to care for them).
Continued impoverishment of rural areas in Hawaii leads many adults to be unable to provide sufficient resources for the children they are fostering. However, rather than giving these families (often headed by single grandmothers or aunts) resource-based support, children are often removed from these homes and sent to foster be fostered in the homes of mainlanders.
This is a kind of cultural genocide, with Hawaiian adults unable to pass on their culture and language to children fostered outside their communities. Judith Modell has written about this problem and the struggles of Hawaiian relatives to regain/maintain the right to keep children. This process is not explicit in the film, but it is nice to see how Nani’s economic circumstances lead her parenting abilities to be questioned by a mainlander and her resistance to Lilo being taken away.
The closest I ever got to a Disney movie starring characters that look like me and theoretically don’t cause some sort of disconnect is The Jungle Book which was based on a story written by a big dumb racist and is all about some idiot kid raised by animals and it doesn’t really require a big stretch to see my issues with that
The closest that black people ever got stars a girl who spends well over 75% of the movie as a frog
It’s fun as a kid to be able to place yourselves in the shoes of the protagonist but when you’re not white, the ethnocentric nature of the world effectively others you and you spend the rest of your life struggling with that dichotomy
You grew up not having to think about that so when you do see it you’ll exclaim “keep your social justice bullshit out of my Disney” and other moronic and fallacious catchphrases
The truth is you guys have gotten well over half a century of animated stories to relate to and honestly, not even being confrontational, it’d be nice to see some change there