“I love studying fairy-tales, and would love nothing more than to write the screenplays for future Disney animated films using stories from other countries. However, I worry that, as a white female, even though I will research like crazy, any attempt I do will be seen as racist or wrong, and picked apart. I’m scared that I won’t do the stories justice.”
OP has a point. Perhaps we are being so harsh on any Disney movie WITH a PoC main that they are scared to have another one. Having a PoC main character is still considered a gutsy move in hollywood (sad but true). It’s possible they would rather go white because they can’t offend them on their culture.
Let’s use Frozen as an example.
So say they’re choosing skin colors. Personally, I would always have Elsa be white, for no other reason that a “Snow Queen” makes me think of someone with exceptionally pale skin. So if Elsa is white, unless you have some thingy about the magic making her white, Anna would be white too.
So who else among the main cast could they change?
Duke of Weaselton/Hans? Tumblr would immediately call it the stereotype of PoC’s only as bad guys.
Kristoff? Than one could work. (Though someone would probably attack it for have a poor, orphan PoC again).
Servants who take care of Anna/Elsa? Brings up slavery metaphors…
Just thinking out loud here.
You do realize that there are indigenous cultures of non-whites that live in cold climates, right? Snowy climates and white people are not exclusive.
And you seeing a Snow Queen being automatically white just shows how you how narrow your view is. There is no reason that an adaptation of The Snow Queen or even Frozen could have been done with other cultures in mind. Heck, it’s already been done.
And the reason Hollywood defaults to white is that it sees white as the default race/default experience. Hollywood could care less if they offend people of color. Examples: Johnny Depp as Tonto in The Lone Ranger, Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek: Into Darkness, and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. These are all examples of white-washing and erasure, another way that Hollywood removes the narratives of people of color in order to sell it to a mass audience rather than staying true to the source material.
Plus, excluding people because you don’t want to offend them is just as bad as excluding them based on any prejudice. You’re still discriminating based on the fact that they are different and you’re not even trying to meet other people on their level. You would rather cower on top of your pedestal and keep things just the way they are for your own convenience.