The Last Airbender’s Target Audience Thinks Whitewashing Is Wrong, Too

The Last Airbender's Target Audience Thinks Whitewashing Is Wrong, Too

I wish that M. Night would read this moving essay by a young Chinese American adoptee about how the whitewashing of The Last Airbender made her feel as both a fan of the show and as an Asian person. I wish he would read it and have to respond to her in person.

Avatar is important to me because it shows that Asians can be leaders and heroes as well as white people. I was born in China, and I like to watch something about Asian and Inuit culture because usually at school we don’t get to read about these cultures. It feels really good to see something about my birth culture along with other Asian and Inuit cultures so I can learn about them too. It feels important to me that there’s a series that doesn’t have stereotypes about Asian people.

I felt sad when I heard that the main characters in the movie were going to be played by white actors. I was crestfallen about that because I thought it showed a message that only white people could be heroes while the TV series says the exact opposite. I thought the movie wouldn’t look at all like the original Airbender series because white people would play the main roles and it wouldn’t be believable for me. I felt sad, insulted and furious all at the same time!

…it’s horrible to treat us like dirty laundry that needs to get bleached. We are human beings just like everybody else.

Sing it, sister.

Hat Tip: Racebending

Comments

  1. James N Smith says

    I’m really glad that movie bombed; however, it doesn’t seem to have made one bit of difference to the powers that be in Hollywood. I honestly can’t understand this resistance to showing p.o.c. as protagonists (even in their own stories). I wish the creators of Avatar TLAB had spoken up a bit more on this issue, from all I’ve read they were very obtuse in their statements about what was going on.