Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's simple.

Whew. Back again. It's been a busy couple of months, so it's nice to finally be able to type something up.

During that time, I had the delight of experiencing two unrelated yet simultaneously very very closely related endeavors - one, I watched the entire 3 seasons of Avatar, The Last Airbender (delightfully entertaining series) for the first time. Also, I listened to a large number of 3-minute protests - informing, convincing, and venting, all mixed together, in such a short period promotes very interesting topics and thoughts to be brought forth. One which struck me as particularly cool was protesting clapping directly after a performance - that brief, 2-second interlude between conclusion and applause is a sacred and necessary moment that must be always held dear. However, I am not here to talk about the importance of postconclusory peace - I am here to talk about racism.

One of these protest speeches was on the racism in the casting of 'The Last Airbender', the live-action movie based on the aforementioned television series. I had heard about the movie before, but had not watched the show nor had I heard about the controversy. It was only after watching the show and watching a few trailers that I really understood what was going on - and after all this, hearing the speech made the subject all the more interesting. (The same person that wrote the speech drew up the above poster.) I'll summarize the argument below.

Essentially, what it boils down to is this:

1: Every single character in Avatar is not white. The main characters are Asian and Inuit, and a select few are based off of other cultures. This was intended, as the creators of the show to create an entirely eastern-based fantasy world.
2: Every single actor that was cast was white. However, when enough people protested through letters and the internet, they responded by casting the villains as Asian, Middle-eastern, or Latino. Also, because Hollywood is traditionally anti-Asian American, there a huge numbers of Asian actors very willing to play the parts. It is not a matter of acting skill.
3: This sends a very wrong message for kids, at whom the T.V. series and Movie is aimed; the heroes are white, while the villains are of different races, leading to more intolerance and inacceptance.
4: The awful irony is that the show preaches acceptance, the writers for the show promoted acceptance, the T.V. series was voiced by Asian actors which led to more successful careers in a traditionally anti Asian-American Hollywood, while the movie - a trilogy that could quite possibly be very influential - is anything but.

So, the speech went on to say, what can you do about it? Boycott the movie. Do not show up, do not give them your money, show them that racism is not ok.

(Also, they cut Sokka's humor. WTF?)

Update: There's a site full of more information, if you're interested, at

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