In case you haven’t seen the news — or the weirdly angry memes and comments on social media — the Little Mermaid is getting its own live-action remake, and some people aren’t too happy with the casting.

Yes, a bunch of adults is up in arms that a mythical creature who is half-girl, half-fish, will be played by a Black actress.

Let’s set aside the fact that, as we said, mermaids aren’t real. I’m sure if you go deep enough into the World Wide Web, you’ll find pockets of conspiracy theorists who would argue that they exist. But even if they were real, historically, mermaids are not the beautiful, wide-eyed, and precocious teenagers that Disney created in the 90s. They’re often portrayed as seductive and deadly maidens intent on luring sailors to death. And when we look at the Hans Christian Anderson story – Disney’s “source material” — her tongue gets cut out, and she dissolves into seafoam. Cheery, right? Ariel is not a real person (or fish). Her story is a complete fabrication, and the version of the story most of us are familiar with has only been around for 30+ years.

So why the hate? Why are people so offended by a Black actress (with an incredible singing voice, by the way) getting the opportunity to play this coveted role? Think of all the times that white people have been cast to play non-white roles. Where was the anger then? Where was the indignation when Emma Stone played an Asian-American character in Aloha or Scarlette Johanson was given the lead role as Motoko Kusanagi in a popular Japanese manga series?

Or what about the fact that Black actors and actresses have been disproportionally underrepresented throughout Hollywood’s history, often playing a caricature or stereotype or casting extra? Why was there a 51-year gap between the first Black woman and the second Black woman to win an Oscar? Why have only four Black men won the lead role at an event that’s been around for 90+ years?

Representation matters everywhere. It matters in the boardrooms and the movie theaters, the toys on the shelves, and the politicians on our screens. It matters that every person sees themselves and their potential– regardless of their skin color.

If anything, the backlash from The Little Mermaid (along with complaints about representation in the new Lord of the Rings and Star Wars franchise) is a stark and painful reminder that racism still runs deep. They may try to mask their concerns as “ruining the authenticity of the characters,” but it comes down to fear and hate, nothing else.

How important is representation to you? Are you excited about a “Black Ariel”? Or was it overshadowed by the media frenzy and detractors that ensued? Let us know your thoughts below.