We’ve seen this before.
Whenever Hollywood casts a person of color as a character normally portrayed as white, white people will blow a gasket. This is despite Hollywood’s long history of whitewashing nonwhite characters and white people didn’t raise a stink about that fact. So, it’s not surprising that they’re up in arms over news lately about a film with a black actor cast as a white character.
News broke out recently that Disney, in it’s continuous project to turn their popular animated classics into live-action films, decided to move on The Little Mermaid. The animated tale featured a red-headed, causation teen female named Ariel. But in the live-action version called Ariel, the role is given to Halle Bailey, a black female actress known for her role in the comedy Grown-ish or from the group Chloe x Halle.
Bailey’s gotten plenty of support from fellow actresses and fans. But remember when I mentioned how white folks loose their shit when POC are cast in roles normally given to white actors or white characters? Well…
White people have took to social media to express their outrage. Some cited how the character was created by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen and how she simply can’t be black because she’s from Denmark (She’s a mermaid, which means she was born and raised underwater. How can she be from a land-based country?). Many just scoffed at the idea of race-changing the character from a white girl to a black girl. Whatever it is, white people formed a #NotMyAriel hashtag on Twitter to express their “grievances”.
My only response to this and the likelihood that this will happen again is that white people are unaware, uncaring or both about the history of casting white actors as characters or racist caricatures of color or the endless dehumanization of POC by white people, especially in the media. Casting POC in roles usually given to whites is a rare thing, and what was released NEVER showed white people as one-dimensional or insulting to the entire group. And I know none of them have left hints pertaining to the racial paranoia of white genocide.
While many want to point out how this hysteria centers around a person that doesn’t even exist, some want to bring up the obvious racial hypocrisy and selective outrage. It’s the usual white people shit that makes them blind to everyone else’s adversities except their own, even if and when their adversities are – at most – trivial compared to ours.