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Petition asking Paramount Pictures to correct unethical casting of The Last Airbender - A Sorta Fairytale
October 2013
 
 
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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Mon, Mar. 16th, 2009 06:33 pm
Petition asking Paramount Pictures to correct unethical casting of The Last Airbender

What follows is the form letter provided by racebending.com. I've already given my own words on the subject here.

Hi, I just signed the petition protesting the discriminatory casting practices of Paramount's The Last Airbender. This 2010 M. Night Shyamalan children's film, adapted from the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, will star white actors playing ethnically Asian characters. In this day and age, casting white actors to play Asian characters--even going so far as to "whitewash" the Asian fantasy setting—is simply ignorant and unacceptable. You can learn more about the film's discriminatory practices at www.racebending.com.

The production made a choice. That choice sent a clear message:
"Children of Color: You are not good enough to play the hero, even if that hero shares your ethnicity."

Please join me by signing the petition protesting The Last Airbender, to be presented to the producers of the film: Sign the petition!


Filming is supposed to be starting this week in Greenland, so time is of the essence. Please sign the petition today. Also, if you do decide to sign it, I'd appreciate if you'd leave a comment here to let me know. Thanks.

Joie

Tags: ,
Current Mood: determined determined

9CommentReplyShare

merr0w
merr0w
merr0w
Mon, Mar. 16th, 2009 11:14 pm (UTC)

Hey, I have no problem signing a petition, but do you know if there is anywhere to send a paper letter to protest?


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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Tue, Mar. 17th, 2009 02:02 am (UTC)

Yes. The top post on aang_aint_white has the address of the producers and info about composing a letter.


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connielane
connielane
Black Mamba
Mon, Mar. 16th, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC)

I know this isn't a funny situation, but this controversy does remind me of an "editorial" one of the MST3K characters did about the "Miss Saigon Syndrome," joking about Jonathan Pryce and other Caucasian actors being cast in non-Caucasian (usually Asian) roles. It was part of their riffing on Castle of Fu Manchu, which starred Christoper Lee - for some reason all the actors who played Fu Manchu in the various films were not only Caucasian but British.


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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Tue, Mar. 17th, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)

Oh, I would love to see that. *wonders if she can find it on teh internets* Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from cryin'.


ReplyThread Parent
tibbycat
tibbycat
Mark
Tue, Mar. 17th, 2009 07:46 am (UTC)

Interesting, are they making the white actors appear to be asian? i.e. yellowface


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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Tue, Mar. 17th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)

Based on recent casting calls for extras/supporting actors, it looks like they are re-envisioning the Water Tribe and Air Nomads as white, the Fire Nation as south Asian (Indian, Pakistani, etc.) and the Earth Kingdom as East Asian, to match the lead actors they've chosen. Originally, all the leads were white, then the protest started and they re-cast one role, the villain, with British-Indian actor Dev Patel. Now they are trying to add diversity with the supporting actors and extras. The problem is, they've made the two most innocent and victimized nations white-skinned, the main villains of the series brown-skinned, and the sometimes good, sometimes corrupt Earth Kingdom is apparently going to be populated by East Asian actors. This really does not send a good message, nor is it authentic to the way those cultures were portrayed in the original series.


ReplyThread Parent
tibbycat
tibbycat
Mark
Wed, Mar. 18th, 2009 12:24 pm (UTC)

Ahh, so I saw today while looking at this link: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/UnfortunateImplications

  • There is not a single non-Caucasian actor cast in the Live Action adaptation of Avatar The Last Airbender, which stirred considerable controversy in the fanbase. One side saw racist implications behind casting all whites for a story that is obviously set in a world that was inspired by ancient Asian and Inuit culture. The other side has used all sorts of... well, strange arguments to counter this, one being that the main characters are white because they have big eyes and don't speak with stereotypical Asian/Native American accents, or just accusations of detractors of being racist against whites. (Never mind that minorities have been marginalized in Hollywood since there have been movies, and that white kids were specifically sought out for the roles to the exclusion of any potentially suitable minorities.) The only way things could be made worse is if they do cast Asians... but only as villains.
    • But if worst comes to worst, the movie could be some tasty Snark Bait for the fans who don't take Avatar too seriously anyway. (Yes, they exist.)
    • It got worse when: Jackson Rathbone (Sokka) reassured worried fans that he'll GET A TAN. Two casting calls were uncovered - the first asking for 'white or other' actors to come out to audition for main roles, the second looking for multicultural extras to come in native dress and demonstrate native crafts ('if you're Korean, wear a kimono!' I Am Not Making This Up.) They swapped Zuko's actor out for the one famous young Asian they could make bank on in the wake of Slumdog Millionaire, never mind that he is Indian and looks (at least skintone-wise) far more like Sokka than the Japan-based Fire Nation's Zuko. And now the only Asians in the whole thing are the villains, as predicted above.
      • If that weren't bad enough, consider the fact that the Avatar cartoon was based primarily on the East Asian cultures of China, Japan, Mongolia, Korea, etc. Though M. Night Shyamalan did eventually cast minorities in his movie, there's still the fact that NONE of them are East Asian, despite the Avatar mythos being built almost entirely around East Asian civilization.


ReplyThread Parent
kawaiinekochi
kawaiinekochi
kawaiinekochi
Tue, Mar. 17th, 2009 07:57 pm (UTC)

Sign, sealed and delivered! I really need an Avatar icon


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coastal_spirit
coastal_spirit
Gale
Sat, Mar. 21st, 2009 11:21 pm (UTC)

Done. I wrote them a letter awhile ago as well.


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