A Halloween costume for Disney film Moana has sparked controversy.
A Halloween costume for Disney film Moana has sparked controversy.

Moana: Is dressing your child in this costume ‘racist’?

A PARENT activist has slammed Disney's Moana Halloween costume as virtually racist because it appears to "make fun of someone else's culture".

Sachi Feris from Brooklyn, New York urged parents to not allow their little girls to dress up as the Polynesian cartoon character because it is based on "real history and a real group of people".

Scene from Moana.
Scene from Moana.

The parent said she came across the issue of "cultural appropriation" as her daughter was deciding on what costume to wear for Halloween.

Ms Feris's little girl wanted to dress as Elsa from Frozen this Halloween, and Moana next year.

But writing in her blog Raising Race Conscious Children, Ms Feris said she "had some reservations regarding both costume choices".

She wrote: "There is one thing I don't like about the character of Elsa. I feel like because Elsa is a White princess, and we see so many white princesses, her character sends the message that you have to be a certain way to be "beautiful" or to be a 'princess'.

Elsa from Frozen costume. Source: Escapade
Elsa from Frozen costume. Source: Escapade

"That you have to have white skin, long, blonde hair, and blue eyes.

"And I don't like that message. You are White, like Elsa-if you dressed up as a character like Moana, who has brown skin, you would never change your skin colour."

After her intense discussion with her young girl, the mum said she decided to go as Mickey Mouse instead.

Her blog has attracted thousands of shares on social media and attracted a variety of responses from users.

While a series of users vilified the New York mum, one user from Polynesia said his fellow nationals would praise the idea.


One user said: "Why does it matter if your kid dresses as Moana? Let kids be kids! It's Halloween!"

A parent commenting on the blog told Ms Feris she is forcing her kid to be racist.

The parent said: "Kids don't care about race. What do you think your kid is going to tell her friends? She can't be Moana because Moana is different race and culture?

"Then when one of her friends is dressed as Moana she's going to tell her it's offensive because she's not the same skin colour."

Ms Feris later clarified on Facebook that her discussion was specific to her identity as a White parent talking to her White child and the power/privilege that Whiteness carries - which made dressing up as Moana problematic.

The blog also published a follow-up piece that set out "Three Things We Believe This Halloween".

It stated that "White parents who want to dismantle White supremacy have a special burden to check their entitlement on Halloween-and make sure that their children's costume choices are not reinforcing a culture of racism".

It also suggested that dressing up as a White person was not considered racist and Halloween was an opportunity to have a conversation with children about race, power and privilege.





Elsa in the Disney movie Frozen. Picture: AP
Elsa in the Disney movie Frozen. Picture: AP