You’ve likely seen the controversy surrounding the trailer for Disney’s live-action version of “The Little Mermaid” and if you haven’t then I’m going to post the trailer below. You watch it and tell me what you think has everyone in a tizzy.
The internet has divided with some people claiming that this race swap doesn’t make any sense and the other half proclaiming that the disagreement boils down to racism.
It’s my honest opinion that many people are misunderstanding each other here. While I’m sure that there are racists out there who’d like to never see another black person on screen so long as they live, the vast majority of those who are rejecting a black Ariel isn’t doing so out of racism.
Before I dive into what the issue is here, I want to make one comment. There’s nothing wrong with a black mermaid and there’s no reason for one not to exist in a children’s movie. Ariel is a Disney character based on — but not representative of — a very dark fairytale and, as such, they can do what they want with it. There’s no cemented backstory that specifies that the character has to have a specific skin color. Like Nick Fury’s race swap in the MCU (a move I actually thought to be a smart one) Ariel’s race swap makes little difference storywise.
Those angry with the fact that Ariel is no longer the adorable white, red-haired girl they grew up with have every right to be disappointed she’s not making a real-life return in Disney’s latest string of life-action cash grabs, but Disney never had to keep to that lane.
But with that said, let’s get down to the big reason people are having a problem with this race swap.
Arguments have been made as to the scientific aspect of the story. For instance, if the story takes place undah dah sea, why would Ariel have dark skin? There’s not a lot of light down there and increased melanin is developed over generations of exposure to the sun. In truth, Ariel and the rest of the denizens of Atlantis would be paler than copy paper. It’s dark down there. Trips to the surface would have to be short because they would end up burning very easily.
For some, it breaks their suspension of disbelief, something absolutely necessary if you want to enjoy fantastical movies.
For most others, that suspension of disbelief comes from a much more obvious reason they won’t watch the movie. In fact, it’s a reason many people have begun writing off companies who have a habit of putting out woke movies; it made moves that were obviously political.
Hardly anyone would disagree that Disney has become a much more socio-political organization in recent years. While the left might call it “being more inclusive,” the truth is that it’s trying to appease leftist race baiters and the social justice obsessed by eliminating white characters and putting people of other races in their place. This is specifically aimed at white people as you can see through various movies.
For instance, the MCU features an all-Asian lineup in the hidden Chinese village in Shang-Chi, and why not? It’s a hidden Chinese village. Why would any other races be there? The same could be said of Wakanda, a hidden African nation that allows in no outsiders. Everyone there is black, and that makes sense. However, Asgard, a realm based on Viking mythology, features a plethora of non-white denizens.
If everyone is being honest with themselves, they’d know that having an all-white civilization would be a modern faux pas, and no studio wants to get caught up in a race scandal. Therefore, any civilization that would feature all-white citizens must be made diverse.
As mentioned previously, Disney had established Ariel as a white girl with red hair but she’s now been race swapped in keeping with Disney’s commitment to pseudo-diversity.
And here is where we see the suspension of disbelief rear its head.
It’s hard to get into a fantastical movie, especially a previously established one with a beloved character, when you know certain changes and decisions were made for purely political reasons, and political reasons that come from one side of the aisle to boot. It’s the political world of real-life injecting itself into the fantasy world you were looking to escape into.
In that instance, everyone has the right to despise this move by Disney and no one should fault them for being angry about it.
Anyway, here’s Michael Jackson as Ariel.
This will end the controversy pic.twitter.com/7fZG80JIJX
— Kangmin Lee ✞ (@kangminjlee) September 15, 2022