Racism at Disneyland? 'White Rabbit' Allegedly Snubs Black Family

Spring Valley residents Jason and Annelia Black have filed suit claiming racism at "the happiest place on Earth" after the White Rabbit refused to hug her children, but "showered affection" on other kids.

Just how white is the “White Rabbit” at Disneyland?

According to a Spring Valley family, enough to sue over.

Jason and Annelia Black have filed a lawsuit against the park, with claims of racism exhibited to their two children by the walkaround character “White Rabbit” of Alice In Wonderland.

The Blacks, an African-American family from Spring Valley, claim that the rabbit refused to give hugs or handshakes to their children, Jason Jr., 6, and Elijah, 9 when they visited the park in August 2010. Moments after the alleged snub, Annelia says that the rabbit “showered affection” on a group of white children.

"He held out his hand and the rabbit just spread his hands and didn't take his hand," Annelia told 10News. "I was like, 'He wants to sit on your lap,' and the rabbit just twirls his fingers," she said, adding that her niece got a chilly reception, as did Elijah.

Jason Jr. was visibly upset because the White Rabbit is his favorite character.

"I went to hug him, but he just turned his back," the boy said. The Blacks did eventually get photos of their children with the character, but Jason said that he was only smiling “on the inside.”

"Our first instinct was, okay, maybe they have new policies, maybe they aren't supposed to touch the kids anymore so then we stood by and we watched," Jason Sr., told KSAZ-TV in an interview.

Jason then said that two other kids  – one Asian and one Caucasian – came up and the rabbit, “showered them, hugged, kissed them, posed with them, meanwhile that made my kids feel horrible.”

The family complained to park officials on the same day. They received a letter apologizing for the experience they had, and a second later followed weeks later offering $500 in passes if the family signed a confidentiality agreement.

Annelia told 10News that she refused to sign the document, since the park did not inform her if the person inside the rabbit suit was still employed. She said that the suit is not about money, and just doesn’t want anyone else to experience what she her sons did.

"It hurts for someone to treat someone like that, especially at Disneyland. What hurts the most is seeing my children in pain," said Annelia Black.

The family has filed suit with Dan Gilleon, a San Diego area personal injury attorney.

"What's clear to me, I can't think of anything other than racism that could be the cause," Gilleon told 10News. "What it tells us is racism is even in places like Disneyland."

Disney issued a statement regarding the lawsuit:

"It would be inappropriate to comment on a lawsuit we haven't seen yet. We carefully review all guest claims."

This is the second well publicized complaint about their characters that the park has received in recent months. In December, a Reseda woman named Nastasia White said her 5-year-old son Razzi was deliberately snubbed by the person portraying the Donald Duck character.  

Komfort February 13, 2013 at 12:30 AM
"There were occasions when [Sonya's] boys wouldn’t see her for days at a time, because she would go to work at 5:00 AM and come home around 11:00 PM, going from one job to the next. She was frugal with the family’s finances, cleaning and patching clothes from the Goodwill in order to dress the boys. The family would also go to local farmers and offer to pick corn or other vegetables in exchange for a portion of the yield. She would then can the produce for the kids’ meals. Her actions, and the way she managed the family, proved to be a tremendous influence on Ben and [his brother]. [...] Determined to turn her sons’ [bad grades] around, Sonya limited their TV time to just a few select programs and refused to let them go outside to play until they’d finished their homework. She was criticized for this by her friends, who said her boys would grow up to hate her. But she was determined that her sons would have greater opportunities than she did. She required them to read two library books a week and give her written reports, even though with her poor education she could barely read them. She would take the papers and review them, scanning over the words and turning pages. Then she would place a checkmark at the top of the page showing her approval." http://www.biography.com/people/ben-carson-475422?page=2
Things I Learned February 13, 2013 at 02:09 PM
If you go chasing rabbits you know you're going to fall.
F. Dunn February 13, 2013 at 07:20 PM
I'm a Disneyland freak. My family is white but we have there many times with a black family and I haven't seen any racist stuff nor has the other family mentioned it. I do know that some kids are mean and harrass the characters -- hitting them and pulling their tails and such. That could account for a kid getting the cold shoulder. Most of the people in those horrendously hot costumes are women, by the way.
Batman February 13, 2013 at 07:35 PM
Far too many black people, and others, have been far too hyper-sensitized to the race issue. As a conservative Republican and NRA member living in La Mesa I'm gettting a very small taste of what it's like to be a despised minority. Yeah, it sucks, but there are things you just have to let slide. I'm comfortable with who and what I am. Getting angry and upset over every little thing will kill you. If you don't like Disneyland then don't go there.
Kevin George February 13, 2013 at 08:00 PM
F., I was thinking along the same lines. Of course it is pure speculation but that admittedly strange behavior by a Disney employee MAY and I repeat MAY have been a reaction to something no one but one of the children is aware. I try not to blame the victim but the behavior by the employee is very strange. I find it incredible that someone who had enough animosity to openly discriminate like that would be in that line of work. PS: Read this yet?http://lamesa.patch.com/blog_posts/seniors-and-sex-older-wiser-safer-64cf2d61
Komfort February 13, 2013 at 08:01 PM
F. Dunn February 13, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Kevin, I know a lot about DLand because my husband had a close friend -- a "cast member"-- who worked there in the 1970s. And then there are the numerous books that have been published by cast members. Anecdotes about, um, "coming of age" on Monsanto and smoking weed on Tom Sawyer Island. I'm talking about guests, not employees. I find the whole behind-the-scenes stuff fascinating but not alarming. When I go in through the turnstyles, I feel like I'm in the safest place on earth. How DLand dealt with 9/11 is an interesting story in itself. My next post will be about your older people and sex link.
F. Dunn February 13, 2013 at 09:45 PM
p.s. The interesting thing about those books is that you could buy them at the bookstore in Downtown Disney (out of business now)! I'm thinking that that was allowed because any lore adds to the charm.
F. Dunn February 13, 2013 at 10:03 PM
Kevin, I don't agree with the post the guy wrote about seniors and their awareness of STDs. I don't believe it about our generation (55 to 65) or even my parents'. My dad was a young Army officer back in the WWII/Korea days, and he's told me more than once that before soldiers got shore leave they had to watch hideous films showing guys grossly disfigured with huge chancres (syphilis). I guess that though antibiotics were just starting to being used, they were reserved by wounded-in-battle guys...not guys who went out on the town. As for me, I grew up here during the Sexual Revolution (early 1970s) and we got a lot of info and warnings about STDs in the "health" classes provided by the SD Unified School District. This was before herpes and AIDS took hold, and I remember that as a normal, intelligent newspaper reader in 1981, someone who was studying biology in college, thinking when I saw the first articles about the "Gay Cancer," 'there is no way this is limited to the gay population."
SJK March 13, 2013 at 04:32 PM
This is ridiculous. As a former character performer for Disney World, let me tell you how your perception is changed when you put on one of those costumes: I'm not tall enough for the white rabbit, but I've been friends with other characters and seen the white rabbit, and visibility is EXTREMELY limited. Sometimes the performers see through the character's eyes, sometimes through "invisible" spots. There is usually mesh on top, to prevent people from seeing the performer's eyes. You can only see up to ten 10 ft in front of you, and thats when the eyes are clean. Wearing the costumes is like wearing a rug. It is hot hot hot, and usually you are out for 20-30 minute sets to keep the performers from passing out. Signing is really difficult, and so is kneeling. Then there are the families. Most tourists leave their brain at home, and seriously have NO consideration for the performers. They want you to carry their babies, they even want to carry YOU, they pull, tug, and punch you because they think its hilarous. Meanwhile youre carrying 40+ lbs of fur and plastic on your shoulders. So please, tell me again how the cast member is the devil and deserves to be lynched. My guess is that the family was being obnoxious or was trying to cut in line, (because theres always a line) and the performer was trying to get away/ move to the next guest, which is what you're INSTRUCTED to do at orientation.


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