Disney has announced that R&B singer Halle Bailey has been cast as Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. A much-beloved cartoon, the casting of the African-American Bailey as Ariel, who is white in the original animated film, has stirred up quite the Twitter storm. You see, my title for this article is a little misleading. The Twitter storm is from people upset at racists who are upset that Disney has cast a black actress as Ariel. The thing is, I’m having a hard time finding any racists who are upset over this. A better title for this article might be “Disney Casts Black Actress to Play Ariel in Upcoming Live Action The Little Mermaid … and Lots of People Care About the Non-Existent Racist Backlash.”
I’m sure there are racists somewhere who are upset at the casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel, but I’ve scrolled through hundreds of tweets looking for them to no avail. The closest I could find was a tweet (that I won’t link to in order to spare the poor Twitter user) that complains, “I’m a redhead and I grew up loving Ariel because she looked like me. I’m kinda sad.”
Being sad that a fictional character that looked like you no longer looks like you may be pathetic, but it’s not racist.
As opposed to the silly yet benign tweets I’ve seen from fans of the red-headed Ariel, I’ve seen lots of tweets from those angry at racist white people like this one:
Halle Bailey as Ariel in #TheLittleMermaid is PERFECT. I cannot wait! (Breaking news: White tears are flooding a town near you) pic.twitter.com/ct2hccRAI0
— Delilah Benson (@DelilahBenson12) July 3, 2019
No white tears here. Or there. Or anywhere. Not even on Twitter, Sam, I am (here’s hoping that any live-action versions of Green Eggs and Ham casts Kevin Hart as Sam).
Look, and acknowledging that I’m somewhat of a hypocrite because I’ve wasted far more of my day researching The Little Mermaid than any grown man should, no one should care about the ethnicity of a fictional mermaid.
First off, Ariel is a fictional character in a silly movie. Her ethnicity isn’t going to improve or worsen the plot. Second, and possibly more relevant, Ariel is a mermaid. A species(?) that does not exist. I’m fairly confident that we can all agree that the skin color of mermaids should be irrelevant to all of us.
What should be relevant to fans of The Little Mermaid are things like “Can the actress playing Ariel act and sing?” From all accounts, Halle Bailey can sing.
Part of the sister duo Chloe x Halle, she has earned a Grammy nomination along with critical acclaim. Being entirely unaware of Chloe x Halle, I looked them up on YouTube. Halle can sing (as can Chloe), which is attested by the video below:
If you’re inclined to be upset at the casting of an African American as Ariel, I beg of you not to be upset — not even a little. I mean, think about it: what does it say about you if you care that much about the ethnicity of a fictional mermaid? Likewise, if you’re an SJW who has stumbled upon this site, before getting bent out of shape over the racist response to Disney’s casting decision, you may want to make sure that there’s actually a racist backlash large enough to worry about. I definitely couldn’t find it.