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July 25, 2019 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily

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Thursday, July 25, 2019
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com OPINION



t’s been a busy July. In
one of the hottest months
in recent memory, it’s no
surprise that tensions and hot
button stories are boiling over.
From Hollywood to the White
angry. Too often, that anger
has been directed at people —
particularly women — of color.
At the beginning of the
Halle Bailey as the actress
playing Ariel in the live-action
remake of “The Little Mer-
maid.” Many thought Bailey, a
young, talented R&B singer and
star on the show “Grown-ish,”
was the perfect choice to play
the coveted role of Ariel. Oth-
ers quickly pointed out what
they deemed to be an unaccept-
able attribute: She’s Black. Fol-
lowing what should have been a
career-making announcement
for Bailey, critics jumped at the
opportunity to accuse Disney of
erasing the true story of Ariel.
In a since-removed change.org
petition, many people signed
their names in support of a
recast of Ariel. Because these
signators can believe that a
mermaid exists and has a crus-
tacean best friend, but having
to watch a movie with a Black
woman in it? That’s asking just
a bit too much of them.
Of course, the criticism of
Ariel’s casting is coming from a
place of racism. Unlike the sto-
ries of Pocahontas or Mulan,
Ariel’s race is of no importance
to her story. Her story is about
having your voice stripped
away from you, being misheard
and misunderstood. Coming
from that angle, there is no one
better to play that role in 2019
than a Black woman. Thank-
fully, most of the backlash to
the casting was discovered to
be trolls, and it has mostly died
That brings us to now. It’s
the middle of July, in the
midst of a noticeable chasm in
Democratic ideology, and all
eyes were on a publicized spat
between Speaker of the House
Nancy Pelosi and junior Con-

gresswoman Alexandria Oca-
sio-Cortez. The trouble started
after AOC and “The Squad”
— the nickname given to the
foursome of AOC, Ilhan Omar,
Ayanna Pressley and Rashida
Tlaib — voted against a House
bill to send funds to the border
that they saw as writing Immi-
gration and Customs Enforce-
ment and Border Patrol agents
Never one to stay out of the
Trump tweeted that “Progres-
sive’ Democrat Congresswom-
en, who originally came from
countries whose governments
are a complete and total catas-
trophe, the worst, most cor-
rupt and inept anywhere in the
world (if they even have a func-
tioning government at all)”
should “go back and help fix
the totally broken and crime
infested places from which
they came.”
Though the women were

not named, it is clear that
Trump’s tweet was directed
at “The Squad,” a group com-
prised of all women of color
who have been vehemently
outspoken against Trump since
the beginning. The tweet obvi-
ously caused a storm of back-
lash, as the “go back to where
you came from” trope has
deep, racist roots. Since then,
Trump has tweeted more dis-
gusting things, and the House
voted to condemn his words,
though many Republicans were
appalled that Pelosi called the
president’s words racist.
So what do these two things,
Ariel and Trump’s tweets, have

in common? The fury at a Black
Ariel and the racist language
of our president, coupled with
the support of his party, are
one in the same. It’s an anger
that has manifested in parts of
America towards seeing people
put in positions where they
allegedly don’t belong. It is no
surprise that Donald Trump is
a racist: He has been proving it
since the 1970s. Yet people are
constantly surprised that the
people who back him just don’t
care. But of course they don’t
care, because they agree.
Trump was recently asked if
it concerns him that people saw
his tweets as racist and white
nationalist groups are stand-
ing by him. He said, “It doesn’t
concern me because many peo-
ple agree with me. And all I’m
saying — they want to leave,
they can leave.”
Republicans didn’t leave in
the eight years they spent hat-
ing Barack Obama, questioning
his citizenship and blocking
every action he tried to take,
and Democrats aren’t going
to leave now. It drives Trump
and his backers crazy to see
Hispanic, Black and Muslim
women in Congress, because
they don’t think these women
have a place in the govern-
ment. People don’t want a
Black Ariel because it feeds
into their white supremacist
narrative that they are being
replaced or cast aside. We have
to stop dancing around these
outbursts by labeling them as
“racially charged” or “politi-
cally motivated” — they’re just
racist. To beat around the bush
is not to declare that the prob-
lem exists, which only allows
it to grow and hide behind the
cover of politics as usual. Call
it out — on the House floor, in
movies, wherever it needs to be
heard. The Trump presidency
will end, but the stain he left on
this country and the fires he’s
reignited will burn on. Now’s
the time to start stamping them

Anger towards Ariel and AOC are one in the same

Samantha Della Fera can be

reached at samdf@umich.edu.


Family 20 questions


Come meet with our Editorial Board
to contribute to the conversation
and discuss current events on
campus. Editboard meets on
specific Wednesdays from 7-8:30
p.m. in the newsroom, 420 Maynard
St. Contact the Summer Editorial
Page Editor, Erin White (ekwhite@
umich.edu), with questions about
how to get involved.

The criticism of
Ariel’s casting is
coming from a
place of racism.

Applications for Fall Opinion Positions will be opening soon
— contact Editorial
Page Editors Maggie Mihaylova (mmihaylo@umich.edu) and Joel Danilewitz
(joeldan@umich.edu) for more information.

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