People are trying to justify their racism by using ‘mermaid science’ to claim how Disney’s Ariel can’t be black.
Earlier this week Disney announced singer Halle Bailey – not to be confused with Halle Berry – had been cast to play the leading role in a live action remake of The Little Mermaid.
Director Rob Marshall met with a number of actors over the past couple of months but the 19-year-old, who has also appeared Grown-ish as well as performing in the R&B duo Chloe x Halle with her sister Chloe, was reportedly the ‘clear front runner’.
In a statement to Variety, Marshall said:
After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role.
The director clearly seems happy with his choice, and while many fans have expressed their excitement at the news, there are some who are arguing the mermaid should have the same appearance she had in the animated 1989 film; that is, a white mermaid with red hair.
In fact, some people are so adamant the actor should be white they’re trying to use science to support their arguments about the mythological creature.
According to mermaid science, the half-human, half-fish creatures are white because they live under water and have less melanin, resulting in a lighter skin colour.
lol at people actually thinking that Ariel cannot be played by a black actress because of 'mermaid science' pic.twitter.com/5Djt0Wrfkn
— Hello Gillian (@mippy) July 4, 2019
One mermaid scientist (no, that’s not a real job), wrote:
My opinion on why mermaids are white is that they live so deep underwater that sunlight hardly reaches them, thus the lack of melanin. It doesn’t matter what ocean they’re from cos they could’ve been migrating seasonally like fishes. But maybe I’m thinking too much.
Because they live underwater, which has no access to light beyond a certain depth, Ariel and every other mermaid in existence would be albino.
people are bringing up science to justify their racism towards disney casting a black girl as ariel ….. i can't even. SCIENCE? SHE'S A FUCKIN MERMAID MATE! a literal girl with a fish tail. in what world does the science of what deep sea skin colour would be make sense? shut up!
— saint chloe (@korcariwilds) July 3, 2019
You’d think people could get their head around the fact that because mermaids are entirely fictional, they can appear however anyone imagines them. If we can create a human-fish hybrid then it’s not really a stretch to say they can have any skin tone.
Unfortunately, however, people are still using these ridiculous claims to fight the casting decision purely because Halle is of African American descent.
Some people have sarcastically hit back at the comments by pointing out that Halle doesn’t actually have a mermaid tail, presumably making her entirely unsuitable for the role:
Disney has gone too far with this new The Little Mermaid film. Everyone they are casting is human!!! How is Halle Bailey gonna have a tail if she has two legs if they cast Melissa McCarthy to play Ursula I'm gonna lose my mind. She doesn't have tentacles!!!
— Auston Stewart (@stewart_auston) July 5, 2019
People are upset that Halle Bailey will play Ariel in the live action Little Mermaid remake because of the color of her skin.
Imagine how mad they’ll be when they find out she doesn’t even HAVE a fish tail.
— Daniel Greer (@DanGr_aHead) July 4, 2019
It’s about time people look past skin colour; the creators are clearly happy with their choice and I’m sure Halle will do an incredible job playing Ariel.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.