23 April 2009

My letter to MANAA


I am writing to express my support for your efforts regarding the whitewashing of the Avatar: the Last Airbender movie. I'm saddened that Paramount doesn't see how discriminatory their casting call was, let alone the final casting.

I love Avatar because it's not a European-fantasy story, but draws from the diverse cultures of Asia. There are plenty of European-fantasy stories in existence, and it's disingenuous of Paramount to claim that they're "increasing diversity" by making the story about white people.

I'm Caucasian (and an adult), and I can identify with the leads in Avatar. They're real characters, *humans*, with goals and dreams and traumatic pasts. I can recognize my teenage self in Katara, in Zuko. I can feel Aang's pain at seeing his entire nation wiped out. Hollywood's belief that white people are the most important audience and that we won't like movies or shows with non-white (male) leads is appalling, and it contributes to the perpetuation of a non-diverse system.

The film Paramount is making isn't the Avatar I love. I won't be seeing it.

Thank you for your hard work on this issue, and I urge you not to give up.

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