wDec 12, 2008

Yeah, not letting it go

I still can't believe this all-white main cast for the Avatar: The Last Airbender movie.

I mean....jeez, even just look at the logo! What are those Asian characters doing there, between the words "Nickelodean" and "Avatar"?! Or the world map, where each nation is labeled with an Asian character. Or, you know, the entire series, where every costume, setting, name, and fight style is Asian-influenced.

has perhaps the most useful Q&A, especially for those unfamiliar with the show Avatar. It is here.

The Angry Black Woman also has a nice post here.
But let me be blunt: one of the things that hooked me about this show was that it was set in an all-Asian world. And it wasn’t fucked up. OK, let me clarify. You know how usually, when there’s an Asian character in an American TV show, he (or more frequently she) ends up as the martial arts master, the (white) hero’s submissive love interest, the dragon lady vamp, or the magical elderly person dishing out nonsensical proverbs and occasionally a can of whoopass? The thing is, all of these stereotypes are present in Avatar to some degree. But because the whole world is Asian, they’re lost in a sea of non-stereotypical, non-exoticized, perfectly normal human beings. How amazing is that? Not only that, but Avatar actually depicts different Asian ethnicities. Though this is a fantasy world, there are clear allusions to the Inuit, Koreans, Mongols, Tibetans, several flavors of southeast Asian, various Indians, and more. The Chinese- and Japanese-analogues of the story actually come in several varieties (Earth Kingdom and Fire Kingdom, Kyoshi warriors, etc.).

This is just so upsetting! Avatar is perhaps the strongest thing I have in common with my nephew, and I'm kind of disgusted that this amazing interest in a cartoon full of strong women and people of color is tainted now. My nephew even ASKED me for Christmas if I could find him action figures of Katara and Toph. A boy specifically asking for action figures of girls of his own volition! Amazing! [Also, how come now when I look on Amazon, I can only find Aang and Zuko?!]
But now when he sees this movie I'm going to have to be all, "Don't you think it's weird that everybody's white in this movie?"

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scribbled mystickeeper at 3:58 PM

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