When it comes to sequels, Disney can be hit or miss. Luckily, Frozen II was a home run. Am I using this baseball metaphor correctly? Sorry, I recently watched Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off on Disney+ and I can’t stop thinking about it. I digress.
Frozen II really leaned into the humor this time around, probably to contrast the heart wrenching plot points. “I don’t feel so good, Mr. Stark.” Amirite?! Anyway, comedic relief, like Olaf’s innocence and Kristoff’s bad ventriloquism made for consistent laughs and a guide for character growth in both. In fact, every Frozen character we met in 2013 was explored further, giving each one an opportunity to be philosophically challenged. Elsa’s trust in her untested powers made her reckless. Anna was tired of being underestimated. Kristoff felt like a third wheel when the sisters were together. Olaf discovered anger. Even the deceased parents’ backstory was inspected. Frozen II’s greatest philosophical challenge, though, was for the audience.
If you learned something new, would you accept it or reject it? Even if it was something you didn’t want to be true, and even if it hurt the reputation of your family, would you try to make amends for your ancestors? Anna would. And she did. According to our current history, we wouldn’t. And we don’t.
Elsa and Anna learned that their grandfather put a dam in the indigenous people’s water to oppress them, though he advertised it as a gift of peace. He proceeded to kill the leader and claim he was attacked, which started a 40 year war, and nature was mad AF.
When we look at all of these PC movements to rename Columbus Day or ask that schools’ curriculum stop teaching the First Thanksgiving story as history, we see utter outrage and disdain from people who don’t wish to reflect on their history. People are wishfully ignorant to the travesties that occurred when stealing land and committing genocide, or they argue that they can’t be held accountable for their ancestors’ actions. Many go as far as to claim that there is a war on American Culture. “Why can’t we teach kids about gratitude anymore?!” People don’t want to acknowledge the correlation between white-washed history such as the fake pilgrims and natives story, and a genuine belief that whites led every major historic event.
This “attack” is simply an identification of how history is often written by the victors, which, in many cases, are the oppressors. When we ask for Columbus Day to be renamed/rebranded/etc., we’re not attacking Italian heritage; we’re attacking the celebration of imperialism which is a fun way to say exploitation and mass deaths. When we complain about the First Thanksgiving story, we aren’t anti-thankful or anti-family; we’re pro-truth.
Although difficult and frustrating to learn, Anna discovers that the only way to get nature’s forgiveness is by destroying the dam, despite the fact that it would destroy Arendelle, her kingdom and home. And guess what? She does it! She understands reparations are in order, despite the fact that she’s not her grandfather. Her grandfather’s consequences have genuine repercussions, and she sacrifices what she has to give back what was wrongfully taken away.
Yet, our country can’t come even close to having Anna’s resolve. Instead, we point fingers at PC culture, censorship, and safe spaces, ignoring our own part in the systemic corruption that results in white-washed history, oppressed minorities, and a genuine fear to exist. And it’s not like the genocide of indigenous people is ancient history. Within the last few years, natives were tortured for protecting water, killed for trying to conserve sacred land, and time and time again, America sided and continues to side with the oil companies. How is it that Anna can understand the concept of reparations before we can?