As the nation celebrated the national holiday that symbolizes all men being created equal, a small minority of mistreated Americans cranked up the Caucasian outrage machine to address an egregious injustice that threatened the happiness and well-being of people everywhere. But this time, the righteous indignation was not about Nikes, coffeemakers or even reality. This time, conservatives were concerned about a fictional fish-girl
Oh yes, the whites are at it again.
The ink had barely dried on Disney’s announcement that Halle Bailey will star in the title role of The Little Mermaid when meteorologists at the White Weather Channel had to issue a flash flood warning because of a sudden deluge of white tears.
Most people, including myself, were elated that Halle Berry would get the chance to introduce herself to a new generation of Disney fans. They soon realized that the actress chosen to play Ariel was not the Oscar-winning actress from Monster’s Ball. Instead, Disney execs chose one-half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle, which caused a meltdown in the unseasoned sections of social media platforms because a black person had once again stolen a job from the marginalized group of unmelanated Americans. The hashtag #NotMyAriel immediately began trending on White Twitter.
Of course, this display of fragility was to be expected because, in a country and a system where whiteness is the default, rewarding anyone who doesn’t fit into the traditional idea of “normal” is a perceived insult. It feels like robbery. It feels like oppression.
In their minds, Disney didn’t make a business decision based on talent, ability and the fact that Halle Bailey can bring her already-built fan base to the box office. The woebegone whites automatically assumed that the movie studio chose a black actress because of political correctness, pandering and the dreaded idea of diversity.
That was a rhetorical question. We know why.
However, on the extended weekend of this great American holiday, instead of focusing on the small number of fragile, furious racists, maybe we should concentrate on the important things. Even though a few people might be salty about Disney’s casting, there is, indeed, a bright side:
Finally, they’ll have some seasoning.
Correction: 7/5/19, 2:03 p.m: The original photo for this article incorrectly identified Chloe Bailey as Halle Bailey.