Racebending: An Ongoing Issue


Diversity; a popular and shared characteristic occurring nowadays. It involves including different colors, sexes, sexuality, and even religion. Diversity is commonly pushed and argued for in workplaces, schools, movies, TV shows, and even video games. However, for some people variety does not seem that important, or at least not meaningful enough to include everywhere. That even extends to Disney Movies- yep, that’s right, I’m talking about the “Little Mermaid.”

Initially set to be released in 2020, and nearly six years since it’s been announced, the “Little Mermaidhas received racist backlash and controversy since revealed. 

When the “Little Mermaidtrailer dropped on YouTube, it was met with a fury of backlash. It received over 2 million dislikes and was attacked with hateful comments. It was so unfavorable, it was even made into a meme that mocked the new changes. It was discussed all over FaceBook, YouTube, Reddit, Snapchat and even TikTok.

So what could this new change be? Surely it must be a huge, drastic change, so big that it impacts the storyline and plot of the movie? Could it be different characters? A different time period?

No. The significant change to the negatively reviewed live-action Disney movie is color. In simpler terms, an opposite race. Ariel, the star of the show, is now Black. As stupid as it sounds, there has been much backlash over this change to the Ariel we know and love. Unfortunately, many of the arguments against this, difference don’t hold up. For starters, mermaids are fictional characters, meaning they are not even real. So should it even matter what color she is? Also, so many people try to bring the original story into this. 

Disney’s “Little Mermaidis not even the actual story. The original is a lot darker, with Ariel dying at the end. The “Mermaid” is a self-insert for a gay dude longing to be with another man. So the argument of “The original ‘Little Mermaid’ is white does not hold up reasonably. Another viewpoint that has been brought up in the past is that mermaids can’t be Black, so Ariel can’t be Black scientifically. This has zero logic to it though, as science should not even be brought up.

The movie includes a singing crab, mermaids, and a giant octopus that can talk. I’m pretty sure logic left the chat a while ago. In my opinion, this shouldn’t even be an argument. It does not matter what race or color Ariel should be. For heaven’s sake, she is a fish, people! The movie is a kid’s movie, and you’re arguing over race? It’s ridiculous, to be honest. The media will find anything to start an argument over, and they sure found one. To be real, I could care less what color Ariel is. If she was publicized as the old Disney version, with sparkling blue eyes and white skin, it would be more nostalgic. 

But since she has been announced as Black, she’s also likable. It adds more diversity in a sense. However, I can see where some people are mad. Instead of race-bending characters, I feel that companies and theaters should make more characters of color so they do not always have to rely on race-swapping. The Little Mermaid will continue to receive backlash and criticism, but it shouldn’t matter. And although I’m a little disappointed that Ariel won’t be the white-skinned mermaid I had a crush on as a kid, I’m glad to see change. Because no matter what, change will always happen. And in this case, change is a good thing.