ENCANTO I: “Colombia? Like the Colonizer?” White Supremacy in Disney’s Encanto
My name is Marco Bello. Here are my thoughts on Disney’s Encanto. I am from a large Colombian/Colombian-American family and my academic work at Stanford and Harvard universities has concerned Colombian history from a critical race lens. I saw the film twice in its first week.
The first time, my sister reserved a theater for 40 family and friends. Colombians from Bogota and Cali joined us, who are paisas from Medellin. Non-Colombians also joined us — because our family continues growing in a new context, retaining our joy and community. Mine is not an essentialist experience nor proposition.
In the theater we had babies crying and tio’s playing. Honestly, it felt like riding a chiva for the holidays; people in the back partying, mad grandmas in the front.
My mom was there with four of her siblings. That’s five out of 11 that survived. This is their story. Encanto doesn’t take place in the present day. It’s somewhere in the 1940s or earlier — before el Bogotázo and La Violencia. Perhaps before my mother’s generation, but they are much closer to this narrative than you or I.
This excerpt comes from a 5-part series that I wrote in the wake of Disney’s release. The film inspired me to tap into my creativity. Join and subscribe to keep up as I share over the next month.