Lately, I have been seeing people express outrage and concern about Ariel being played by an African American woman. So, I decided I'll share my thoughts. I’m going to approach this from a different angle because it’s not about my overgrown ass and this is beyond my feelings or opinions.
Now, I understand that for some they would like to see the character represented and portrayed in the same way that they’d seen her as a child because of that nostalgia factor. However, why isn’t it okay for a little black girl or boy to see their ethnicity represented in a positive light for a change? Instead of seeing the negative images that seem to be an overall representation of how African Americans are seen in the world. What people fail to realize is that representation is important, especially in a world where one race may be overly represented than the other and especially when it comes to positive representations.
Then I’ve even heard people say that if it was the other way around, black people would be upset. Again, I feel that people fail to look beyond the surface to the bigger issue here, which is representation. Representation of positive black images in media is slim to none, most of the superheroes, princesses and cartoon characters that I and many other black children look up to don’t look like us.
So what message do you think society is portraying to these little children? Maybe that they aren’t good enough to be a superhero or that they aren't pretty enough to be a princess like their white counterparts because their skin color is different. If we stopped looking at things from our own perspective or our own biases and prejudices and thought about what a black Ariel could be for a little black girl who never sees a positive representation of herself in the media. Maybe just maybe if people would understand how important and significant this moment is for someone other than themselves and their own beliefs. We’d finally see that this is bigger than our own beliefs and how we are taught to think about events that happen in life.
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Verlisa is a writer who has a passion for encouraging others through her story.
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