Yeah, we're still objecting to the racistastic casting of Avatar-derivative live action film The Last Airbender. See the funny-fun vid above for your "Yeah, mofos!" hit, and to see the new teaser trailer with a lot of snark added. Read on below for updates.
(By the way, if you can't get with this program, save us all a lot of grief and leave the "comment" button alone. Whatever you have to say, it's been covered here.)
(Short version: Asian/Inuit leads from an animated TV series were cast white. After some protest, one of the lead roles -- the anti-hero, natch, from the violent, fascistic bad-guy culture -- is given to Indian Brit Dev Patel. So instead of saying that POC don't exist, they're saying that POC are bad guys. Awesome!)
So, the awesome Airbender casting protest at Aang Ain't White, has gone big. The folks behind it have created the racebending.com site to use to organize protests against the now inexorably cast movie. They were at Comic-Con last week, protesting near the Nickelodeon booth (Nickelodeon is the network that originated the TV show; they're apparently ambivalent about the film casting) and collecting a few hundred signatures for their petition.
Speaking of which, the petition is asking the production company, even at this late date, to reconsider their casting and to speak with various Asian American groups. If they won't, the petition, after months of very moderate language, finally threatens boycott. Here's the petition. Click the button to sign it. As of right now, it has over 7,500 signatures.
This is the protest that won't go away because it's not just about what adult audiences identify with. This is an issue that affects younger audiences as well, and a whitewashing movie that adults might otherwise let pass with a look of disgust becomes a matter of passing on retrograde racist notions to children. We're half a year away from Census 2010, but there's no doubt in anyone's minds that we're looking at a next generation of more Asian Americans than ever before. No doubt, that's part of the reason Nickelodeon felt enabled to produce such a wonderful, Asian-cultured TV series.
But pass that idea on to the high-stakes world of filmmaking, and any real understanding of the audience disappears. This young audience won't have any difficulty identifying with Asian protagonists until AFTER it has seen The Last Airbender, since it clearly didn't have any difficulty doing so before. But once they've seen this whitewashed version, the "subtle" (but actually scrawled all over every frame of the film) message that Asians are okay for anime, but not good enough for real life, will be irrevocably printed on every mind: white, Asian, black, Latino, or any of the kajillion other races and ethnicities we have in this country. This film isn't just reifying racism; it's creating it in young minds that may not have had it before.
If we can't stop the film itself, we can still stop it from happening again in another film. Let's do that.