The Little Mermaid casting debate: Or, when racists lash out
I think this particular meme is funny if taken from the point of view that the hypocrisy behind this nonsense is ridiculous.
The argument is: if ethnicity is not cited, what difference does it make? Black Panther, for example, has his origins in centuries-old African tribes. If someone is trying to say that there are centuries-old white/caucasian tribes in Africa, I'd be very interested in knowing more about that.
This Little Mermaid stupidness. The Disney version is an adaptation from a 19th century story written by Han Christian Andersen and the only thing that is said of her skin is that it is clear and as soft as a rose; there is no color affiliated to it. The Disney movie is the interpretation of THAT group of people on THAT particular version.
But let's go a step further. It's a fictional sea creature, not a human. So what difference does that make? Only if you think along racist lines does it make a difference. Especially if your counterpoint is "OK, well let's get Dustin Hoffman to play Frederik Douglas!" Now you could try to be cute and say something like "Oh, it's like Hamilton!" To that point, one would ask what symbolic meaning does casting a white man to play a historical figure in African American history. It can't wait to hear the answer.
#NotMyAriel has become the digital battlecry of disgruntled white supremacists and bigots on Twitter or wherever else morons frequent online (everywhere). These are the same people that whined about people of color being cast in Star Wars or the Harry Potter Broadway show, or any other place where certain people can complain about a plot to promote white genocide by showing people of color in space or under the sea.
Having grown up in an era when there were very few Black and brown faces on television, I see no issue with things like The Little Mermaid casting. From Charleston Heston to Mickey Rooney to Orson Welles, how many times have whites played characters mean for people of color?
Here are some other examples: Roald Dahl wanted Charlie Bucket and his family to be Black, but his agent and book publisher told him no. John Cougar Mellencamp wrote Jack and Diane about an interracial couple, but the record company told him to remove all references of that from the song.
There has always been a constant effort for decades to minimize the presence of people of color from film and television. Folks who act outraged at things like The Little Mermaid have memories like fruit flies, or they just have no historical perspective, OR they're just too young to remember anything before 1990.
The country is becoming more diverse. This is what happens when companies widen their net and hire more than just straight white men; you get a diverse points of view, instead of a monolithic ones. I think that’s the real issue here— the white nationalist mindset is being challenged. No longer are all spaces opened exclusively to whites. We are living in a era where ALL SPACES are open to ALL PEOPLE. Naturally, there is going to be backlash from those who have always felt threatened by “the other.” You see it in America’s immigration debate— when you can “otherize” a group, you take away their humanity, debasing them to give them the appearance that they are inferior. There’s a minority of white people that enjoy that feeling of imposing an existential crisis on a melanin-rich people. Things like the Little Mermaid casting, and the presidency of Barrack H. Obama, are in outright opposition to the white supremacist mindset, making it as worthless as a wad of used toilet paper. White supremacists don’t like that; in fact, it scares the shit out of them.
These folks will have to face it: not everyone’s default is white. Not everyone’s normal is white. Not everyone’s priority is white. There are many different people, with many different voices, who have every right to express themselves with whatever IP (intellectual property) is offered to them. That doesn’t equal anti-white propaganda; inclusion does not mean extinction.
So yes, there will be “outrage” and “anger” and other forms of acting out from a minority of people that are kicking and screaming their way into irrelevancy. The world is moving forward, without and in spite of them. While we move along with it, they will stay behind, languishing in misery until the cold hand of deaths whisks them away from this cruel, cruel world that laughed in their faces in their final days.
God bless America ;)
Here’s some more trash: