White Mermaid? Black Mermaid? It’s a Mermaid, People


Photo courtesy Unsplash

Timothy Hubing

The world is going through some of the hardest times it’s ever faced, but some believe the real issue is that Disney changed Ariel’s race! With over 1,000,000 dislikes on Disney’s new live action “The Little Mermaid” trailer, some are responding negatively to the diversity in Disney’s films.

Many students reacted to seeing Halle Bailey portraying the new Ariel, and the outcry that has followed, but most students recognized the ongoing issue of racial prejudice and welcomed diversity.

Bucks Cinema and Video Production student, Ethan Sklar, 19, considers Ariel being black as a benefit to the film world. Sklar said, “oh no, I don’t see it as an issue at all, because I personally feel with the political climate of today’s world, we are generally more open to diversity, and it’s something we really need now-a-days in the film industry to have this kind of diversity.”

A frequent topic of debate amongst the film community whether or not it’s “okay” for a character who was once white in previous media to now suddenly be changed to be black. Film students gave their response towards the change of Ariel’s skin color, and whether it’s deemed an issue or not.

Bucks Cinema and Video Production major Matthew Musick, 21, says “it doesn’t ruin the film. It’s a mermaid, it doesn’t matter in the end if it’s a white mermaid, or a black mermaid, it’s a fictional being, and there’s no set skin tone for a character like that.”

Film and Media Arts major at Temple University, Dario Adame, 21, had some stronger words about the Ariel controversy. Adame says, “her being black doesn’t bother me at all, because believe it or not, the little mermaid isn’t a vital part of my life. If they want to make her black, then that’s fine. The character is probably going to stay the same despite her being a different race.”

Adame also says “I think they could’ve made her black more to experiment and present it to a different audience. When it comes to iconic film characters having to be a certain race, I never thought much of it as a kid growing up, it didn’t mean much to me,” Adame says.

Though diversity will forever be a topic of debate for a lot of people, is “The Little Mermaid” really worth time to argue about it? Adame responded, saying people argue “because they have no lives and, it’s pretty pathetic if you ask me, considering all these other issues, real world issues, that are ongoing right now. Are we all really getting mad about a black Ariel?! Russia is about to launch nukes, we are about to get nuked, and this is what we’re really upset about?!”

Musick added “I think they’re just ignorant, they don’t change at all. The people who are getting upset over this think it’s something that matters, they want things to stay the way they have been.”