Out of the Sea…Into Bigotry

  • “Result of ocean pollution.”
  • “We can’t enjoy anything anymore.”
  • “More woke films. Pfft.”
  • “The little sea monkey.”
  • “Great, can’t wait to see Asian Snow White.”
  • “Why can’t they just create a new character instead of changing the old one”

These are actual comments from social media in reaction to the new Little Mermaid trailer. The hatred and racism is so disgusting. And infuriating. And disappointing. And my question is…why? Why are people so mad? Why do people even care? It’s a fictional cartoon about a mythical fish-person. What the hell does the skin color of the fish have to do with anything? I mean, to start with, this ISN’T brand-new information. The announcement that Halle Bailey would play Ariel was made 3 years ago. Y’all had your chance to be mad then, and you definitely were. Why you gotta be mad AGAIN?

Fun fact: The Little Mermaid isn’t a documentary. Mermaids aren’t real. A mermaid is a mythical aquatic creature with the head and upper body of a human woman, and the lower half body of a fish. Mermaids appear in folklore in MANY cultures worldwide, including Europe, Asia, and Africa. The movie has a witch with octopus legs and a singing Jamaican crab. It has a girl with no voice get a prince to fall in love with her in 3 days. Nothing about this is realistic.

I see a lot of white people saying “They should have stayed true to the original source material.” Original source material? Do you mean mermaids in general? Mermaid tales mostly involve the Mediterranean Sea. Know what surrounds the Mediterranean Sea? Europe, Asia, and Africa. Or do you mean the origin of this particular story being in Denmark? Well, spoiler alert: Denmark has black people too. Or do you mean the Hans Christian Anderson tale? Where her skin is described as CLEAR. Not white, not pale…clear. Or do you mean the oldest mermaid story, which dates back 3,000 years and revolves around a Mesopotamian goddess who is turned into a mermaid? (Mesopotamian = not white, btw.)

Another comment I’ve seen a lot is “What if the roles were reversed?” What if they made Mulan white? Or Tiana? Or Pochahontas? What’s the difference between those 3 characters and Ariel, you ask? Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. 3 of those characters are based on real people and cultures, and the other one is based on a fictional, mythological creature. Take all the time you need with that one.

And yet another one…”Well why can’t they just create a new story and a new character?” BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT TO. Full stop. Also, if you’re one of the people saying that…you’re giving off serious “separate but equal” vibes with that mindset.

If you’re upset because when you see the new Ariel, and she doesn’t represent what you grew up with, and you feel like you can’t connect with it or you think your kids won’t be able to connect with it because you don’t see yourself…sit long and hard with those feelings. Because that is the feeling that every person of color has had most of their life when they’ve gone to the movies. Representation matters. For all. And when you get mad about this issue, you’re telling the black people in your life and in the world that they don’t deserve representation. And that just the fact that a black actor is playing a character makes a movie less appealing to you. Please take a moment to realize how disgusting and hurtful that is.

The bottom line is, you don’t have to watch the movie if you don’t want to. And if you’re so worried about having “your Ariel,” (gag) guess what? You still do. That movie isn’t going anywhere. And you’ve had your “white fish girl” for 33 years. Let people of color have their time now.

If you still can’t get it through to your stone-cold, racist white heart, please watch one or all of these videos of black girls reacting to seeing the trailer for the first time. Use this as a learning moment. And if you still can’t…then please just shut the hell up and let the rest of us enjoy this.








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