To start this, let's have a look back at all the discussions about how Aang looks white. The most arguments we all heard at some point were along the lines of:
- the creators made him look white
- he doesn't have slanted eyes
- he has big blue eyes
- he has white skin
- etc. etc.
Pretty ridiculous, isn't it? Especially for the fact that Asian people do not look like this in real life. Makes me wonder if people who think like this have ever met real Asians. /facepalm
Then again we all know how these kinds of stereotypes are still in use - yes, Xiaolin Showdown, I saw what you did thar! - and how people are downright brainwashed by the media. It's hard to look beyond these stereotypes when you grew up with them.
Anyways, we're living in the 21st century and it's no problem whatsoever to get some education and open your mind. :3
I think by now we all know the essay "The Face of the other" and that youtube video "Are anime characters caucasian or japanese" which are both explaining how Japanese character design is lacking stereotypical racial markers when portraying themselves and how the shape of the face is a simplification of Japanese facial features.
My stance on this issue is the same as these two authors - though when it comes to Avatar I'm going one step further. I am confident that despite the stylization Mike and Bryan made a serious attempt to convert the faces of real Asian/Inuit/etc. people into their cartoon counterparts. I even remember an interview with Bryan where he's stating how much anime character design is based on the real world. (Can't find it right now. Anyone knows what I'm talking about?)
In short: They made the characters look like Asians/Inuit.
I am also confident that if Mike and Bryan would have really wanted to make a story about Caucasian kids dressing up as Asians they'd be capable of conveying Caucasian features into their character design and Aang would look like this:
This is what White!Aang would look like in Avatar's animation style with Caucasian facial features - complete with big blue eyes and a more accurate skintone. Obviously, that's not what Aang in the series looks like.
In particular this manip reminds me of many World Masterpiece Theatre series (which I loved as a child) that are using a character design similar to Hayao Miyazaki's work - not that surprising since he worked on "Heidi, Girl of the Alps" back then in the 70s. Also Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's character designs look somewhat similar - like Jean from "Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water". So the artists and artworks that were a huge inspiration for Bryan and Mike are absolutely capable to depict Caucasian facial features. So why should Bryan and Mike fail so hard when trying to mimic them? Because they didn't try to. They did draw Asian facial features not Caucasian ones!
And that's why Aang looks like this:
Can you still think he looks white?
Can you still think that the creators wanted to make him look white?
Can you still think that he has a "white" skintone?
Oh and can you finally see that Aang does not have blue eyes at all? XD