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Fire Nation Man - The Thread for Dissenting Opinions 
23rd-Feb-2009 12:18 am
boulderangry
This thread is for people who visit racebending with the desire to try and convince people upset about the "racebending" or discriminatory casting practices of The Last Airbender that they have no right to be upset, or fans who want to discuss miscellaneous stuff outside of the scope of the community. The Boulder will leave this thread completely un-moderated, so you can write whatever you want in here.

Also, if a post you've written is rejected from the main page, feel free to post it here. (Generally, The Boulder will not delete comments, though if you say something silly, The Boulder may laugh at you.)

Comments 
5th-Apr-2009 12:24 pm (UTC)
Wow, I'm first... how shameful...

Well, in deep shame of realizing I posted something under the wrong entry. I shall repost here and thereby make myself the laughingstock of the Avatar community.

Repost:

So... I hear everyone is getting up in a tizzy over Shamalan casting white actors for the feature film...

Really? REALLY?

Firstly, I would love it if the actors were Asian, it'd make the movie that much better.

But honestly, does it really matter whether or not they're Asian? I know the show is heavily influenced by Asian culture. But I don't really think they ever specified the exact races on the show. I mean, Aang looks pretty white to me... just saying...

In summation, it's a fictional world. Comprised of fictional races and cultures. So in my opinion the actors can be whatever race M. Night Shamalan's little heart desires as long as they are good actors. That's the most important thing.
5th-Apr-2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
I think this has been covered several times already before, but it is important to many people that the characters were Asian. On this blog, posters have presented quotes from Nickelodeon, Bryke, and M. Night Shyamalan repeatedly saying the story is supposed to be Asian. Although Avatar is a fictional world, we know what the charcters are, ethnically. Lord of the Rings was a fictional world but it would have been strange to cast Frodo and Sam as Japanese and Nigerian.

In order to cast white actors, I personally feel they really have to justify rejecting all the talented Asian American actors out there. And in the case of Sokka and Katara, not just the Asian American actors but also all of the capable first nations actors who could also have portrayed Siberian Yupik people.

But they didn't do that. And if they were interested in doing so they would not have used the offensive language they did to cast the characters. If you look at the broader picture, lead roles for actors of color are already few and far between. The inauthentic casting of The Last Airbender made things even MORE unequal for those actors who are already systematically underrepresented. And casting white people to play Asians suggests that white people are more authentic, better Asians--and more entitled to play Asians, than Asians are themselves.

The sad thing is, this is a historical tradition in Hollywood, one that Mako--the actor who played Uncle Iroh on the show--spent his entire career fighting against. I believe that if he were still alive, he would not want this to happen to his Avatar. As a fan of the series, I don't want it to happen to my beloved show, either.

We're not saying they are bad actors. But they may be wrong for the role. If you look for "the best actors possible" then you should hire Meryl Streep to play Aang. But Meryl Streep, despite being insanely talented, is the wrong gender and the wrong age and does not have martial arts skills. If all of those factors are important, than why isn't Aang's race?

In summation, it's a fictional world, yes but they've always called it a fictional Asian world. M. Night Shyamalan can cast whatever race his heart desires, but as long as he is doing it in a way that necessarily discriminates--going back on his promise to respect the vision of people who worked on the original series--we hope to call him out on it.
4th-May-2009 04:30 pm (UTC) - Big Rick
Anonymous
Can I pose one simple question?

Has anyone heard from Avatar's original creators on this issue.

Surely, they must have an opinion, and it should count for something.

Just asking.

-Big Rick
8th-May-2009 10:01 am (UTC) - Re: Big Rick
Unfortunately not. The general thought behind the silence of Brian and Mike is that it could get them into some serious trouble.
30th-May-2009 12:20 am (UTC) - OMG did you hear that...
Anonymous
Toph will *NOT* be played by a blind actress. This is a travesty to all members of the blind community! OMG! Outrage about this too please.
28th-Feb-2010 06:19 pm (UTC) - Re: OMG did you hear that...
Idk why you're using that as an example of 'things that it is stupid to be outraged over'. I think that sucks too.
(Deleted comment)
13th-Jun-2009 02:48 am (UTC)
Anonymous
"What I'm trying to say is that basing a person's race on what they do, say, and wear everyday isn't the right way to judge. It's especially jarring when I read the comments on how everyone is "white be default" unless stated otherwise with overblown and ridiculous stereotypes, because essentially you're doing exactly what you preach against, only with Asian people."

We are not trying to say that we want to stereotype Asians, we want to stay true to the authenticity of the story which is an Asian-based fantasy. Just like how Lord of The Rings is a European-based fantasy. To cast wrongly for these fantasy epics would just ruin the authenticity no matter how good the actors are. No ones asking to add minorities to everything, we want it to be authentic to how the inspirations and settings are, like an epic Wuxia Asian film set in ancient times like "Hero" or "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon".

Plus, why consider it as bad to cast Asians in it just because it has martial arts? It is a part of tradition and if you want the characters to multi-dimensional, develop them and break the stereotypes then. Like for example, not everyone in the series is a martial artist/bender or know how to fight or being the model minority. If you give them dimension, it's less stereotypical.


"The show is hard to define, anyway. With Anime race is easy to tell. But since Avatar was made by Americans, it's much too difficult, which is probably why there's no word on it."

The race in Avatar is difficult to determine just because the show is American made? Is that what you mean? No offense but these points are pretty much flawed because of how much the visuals, names and the heavy cultural influences really do indicate what the characters are. I mean, it's pretty obvious and in your face that I just can't believe that there are still people out there who will still deny that and it's unbelievable.

The creators have left the race debate for the people to figure it out on their own because they respect the audience's intelligence and it's pretty obvious that everyone is of Asian/Inuit/Native American descent and the cultural influences that permeate this series is undeniable.

If anyone thinks that everyone in this series is white, then they are just denying it and are just fooling themselves. I mean, there are no blondes or redheads in the series because if there are, they would look way out of place and plus it's easy to understand how Yue got her white hair color anyway.

Look at this for more knowledge on how heavy Avatar's influences from Asian/Inuit/Native American cultures are in the series...


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0938283/board/thread/135476880?p=3&d=135500374#135500374


How many anime shows did you watch that has actually left you with that conclusion? Sure, the traditional anime character design can vary from time to time but one thing is for certain, but you have to take in consideration the name, cultural background and settings that helps determine the characters' ethnicities and the backgrounds.

Case in point: Fullmetal Alchemist is a series that is also set in an alternate universe just like Avatar. The difference is being that Alchemy is used as a common necessity and substitution for magic instead of Martial Arts "bending", the Amestrians from Amestris are inspired by a pre-WWI era Germany with references to German culture including the use of the term "Feuhrer".

The other countries in the world of FMA is of course, Xing and Ishbal and they are obviously inspired by Chinese, Native American and even Middle-Eastern cultural references in philosophy and religion and how they can surprisingly feel similar to how the treatments of people from the East were treated by the Americans.

It's pretty obvious that the producers really don't care about the movie's main important inspirations from the show at all. The love that the creators gave to the show is absent here. Accept it? Since the movie has kept all of the same Asian/Inuit influences that kept separate this from typical Euro-centric fantasy stories and keeping the obvious Asian/Inuit names for all of it's characters, I say never!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
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(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
15th-Jun-2009 11:49 pm (UTC) - Can you adopt this as your theme music... SOOOOOOO GOOOD! and fits perfectly with this comm :D
Anonymous
From Commentary the Music...

Lyrics
http://drhorrible.com/commentary.html#nobody

YouTube Video of the song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNmzegQUtFA

Lyrics for the Link-weary ^.^

10. NOBODY'S ASIAN IN THE MOVIES
Music and Lyrics by Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon
Performed by Maurissa Tancharoen

I WROTE ALL PENNY’S LINES AND HER SONG, YOU KNOW
I EVEN SANG HER PART UP ON THE DEMO
BUT WHEN IT’S TIME TO CAST THE SHOW
DID THEY WANT SOMEBODY YELLOW - HELL NO

NOBODY’S ASIAN IN THE MOVIES
NOBODY’S ASIAN ON TV
IF THERE IS A PART THERE FOR US
IT’S THE GROUPIE IN THE CHORUS
THAT’S ME

I BEGGED AND I PLEADED PLEASE DON’T PASS ME BY
THEY SAY, HEY GIVE US A HAND
GO STAND IN THE BACK WITH THAT FAT GUY
MY ROLE, THOUGH BE IT BRIEF, AT LEAST
IT ISN’T VIET CONG, IT’S COMIC RELIEF

NOBODY’S ASIAN IN THE MOVIES
NOBODY’S ASIAN ON TV
IF THERE IS A PART THERE FOR US
IT’S A NINJA, A PHYSICIAN
OR A GOOFY MATHEMATICIAN
OR A GROUPIE IN THE CHORUS
THAT’S ME

WHO DO THEY WANT BEFORE THEY WANT AN ASIAN?
A MEXICAN
WHO DO THEY WANT BEFORE THEY WANT AN ASIAN?
A BLACK
WHO DO THEY WANT BEFORE THEY WANT AN ASIAN?
A PERSIAN, OR A CAJUN, OR AN INDIAN
OR AN AMERICAN-INDIAN PLAYED BY A MEXICAN
OR IF YOU’RE LUCKY SOMEONE ASIAN
LIKE ME

Jed:
But Maurissa, movies couldn’t even be made without Asians.
We need them to play the parts we’re not willing to.

Maurissa:
You’re right, Jed!

WITHOUT THE ASIANS IN THE MOVIES
WITHOUT THE ASIANS ON TV
WHO’D PLAY THE GOOFY MATHEMATICIAN
THE COMPUTER TECHNICIAN
A WISE OLD HEALER FROM JAPAN
A SHORT BUT WEALTHY BUSINESSMAN
SELL KOREAN GROCERIES
DO YOUR LAUNDRY THANK YOU, PRREASE
WE’RE THE VICTIMS OF A CRIME
WE’LL BE LOVING YOU LONG TIME
IF YOUR MOVIE IS A BORE JUST
WATCH THE GROUPIE IN THE CHORUS
THAT’S ME

Maurissa:
I guess my parents will be proud of me after all.

Jed:
What does your dad do again?

Maurissa:
Oh! He’s a nerdy, funny scientist.
4th-Aug-2009 05:59 pm (UTC)
Anonymous
Okay, I have a stupid/embarrassing question (hence why I'm posting anonymously). I've heard different things from different places and I'm not sure what to believe, so here goes: Can anyone tell me what Noah Ringer's ethnicity is?
8th-Aug-2009 06:00 am (UTC)
We have no idea, but we think he's white.

As far as I know, the rumor that Ringer is half-Asian/10% Asian was started by an extra who judged it from seeing Ringer around the set. (His comments were made on LastAirbenderFansOnline.com, iirc, but they've long been taken down.)

We also think that if Ringer was half/any other percent significantly Asian, Paramount would have released that information by now to shut us up.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
18th-Aug-2009 03:39 am (UTC)
Anonymous

M Night may not be a racist but what he did was it was his choice to replace an all the Asian characters on the show with white actors. I find it hard to believe he could not find Asian actors for these parts. He casted Jesses McCartney as prince Zuko for god sake what the hell was that all about. He took a good story and shit all over it this movie is going to suck. People please boycott this move and send a message to M Night and other enough is enough don’t support this kind of crap
20th-Mar-2010 04:27 pm (UTC) - Sick and Tired
I'm reslly sick and tired being called a racist by disagreeing about the cast.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJtPgeNUL-o


Shows racebending on youtube calling me a racist and also acting like an internet gangster. I'm surprised at some people and there replys. I defend my self and when push comes to shove I'm called a racist.

If you don'
t like the cast don't watch it. i dod get your cause it's good, but racebending on youtube is making it look bad in so many ways. BTW sidepockets on there is also racebending. Food for thought.
20th-Mar-2010 06:46 pm (UTC) - Re: Sick and Tired
Since these incidents occured, sidepocket_pro has resigned from the Racebending.com staff and no longer moderates the racebending youtube account. The comments he made on your video that insulted you were inappropriate and do not reflect the views of the movement. You won't see this happening again on youtube.
2nd-May-2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
Is this thread blocked?
2nd-May-2010 06:33 pm (UTC)
Okay, it's not. Someone on Imdb.com tried to post here, but he or she said that they get redirected to a page that says "This page is blocked."
6th-Jun-2010 06:48 am (UTC)
Hi folks! Last night, I poked my head in on a fairly lengthy comment argument on one of the pro-cast fanarts posted here the other day. The argument spanned many different aspects of the casting controversy, one particular passage really bothered me, so I decided to jump in with a reply (italicized parts are what I'm replying to):

And like I said before, it IS stereotypical just casting the characters as all Asians, why? Just because it's a kungfu/chopstick type of movie, that's why.

So instead of having Asians in an Asian setting using Asian utensils practicing Asian martial arts and adhering to Asian philosophy and religion we have cultural appropriation. Something the show made great effort to avoid!

And here I thought RB.com was trying to FIGHT these stereotypes and add more diversity in movie, at first. Now I know you guys' true colors.

Go tell this to the East West Players (Mako and Dante Basco's organization) and the Media Action Network for Asian Americans. They feel having Asian leads in an Asian setting is appropriate and not stereotypical.

I beg you, email that paragraph to them and see what their response is.

-----------------------------------------------

Here's their reply (emphasis mine):

Well then your movement is BSing, because you guys said you are fighting AGAINST these stereotypes. I have read all the stuff RB.com 'stands for', and it's all contradicting itself. It's the 21 century, no one acts like this anymore. I don't really bother or care to talk to anyone from the RB website, because it's run by biased hypocrites, which means I definitely won't send them a letter.

And I have a right to be mad after all the lies you guys say and all the stalking you guys do with us procasters. It's annoying and rude, because you fling us into arguments we don't want to get in -_-

RB.com uses the 'real diversity of the show' argument to try and justify their accusations, well guess what? What they're fighting for has NOTHING to do with ETHNIC DIVERSITY, it only has to do with showing the cultural diversity amongst many East Asian cultures, that's it. And like I said before, Culture =/= Ethnicity. You guys don't want real diversity, you only want Asians and other minorities to be in movies. Minorities can very well defend themselves, they don't need any protection against anyone, because you know why? Racism exists among people of ALL skin-color, believe it or not. People from all other countries have gone through ALOT worse, You guys just assume that only PoC in this country only do, which is total ignorance. You have no idea what white people of been through, so get that 'white privalege' stuff out of your heads, because it does NOT exist!

And also, like many other boycotters before you, you forget to mention that we're ALL HUMANS! And that at the end of the day we should see each other as such, and NOT by our skin colors. Especially not in a movie!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

*snrrrk* tee hee, teeheeheeheeheeeHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Play em off, Jerry Manuel!

27th-Jun-2010 11:02 am (UTC)
What the FUCK is a chopstick movie?

It's not stereotypical that the Asian guy actually gets the girl! It's not stereotypical that they SPEAK ENGLISH WELL (well, Chinese, but still)!
9th-Jun-2010 09:14 am (UTC)
Well, I don't know about you guys, but I didn't like the casting at first. Maybe I don't like it much now, but it has grown on to me. Within time, maybe Peltz's face is what comes to mind when you think of Katara, instead of cartoon Katara.

What the shit?

27th-Jun-2010 07:26 am (UTC)
Now that I think about it, there's nothing wrong with the race of Katara, Sokka, and Gran Gran. The show is the one who got it wrong, the NWT was white/hispanic. And gran gran was from the NWT, and assuming the father of Kya is Pakku, Kya should have been white/Hispanic (Kya is the daughter of gran gran right? Or is it Hakoda?). The only factor that could change Katara and Sokkas race is Hakoda, and even then Katara and Sokka would be a bit lighter skinned. Even if they were still Inuit, Gran Gran and Kyas race is wrong in the show

27th-Jun-2010 11:07 am (UTC)
That person is obvioulsy a troll. HOW THE FUCK CAN THE SHOW GET IT WRONG WHEN IT DID AND HAD WHAT THE CREATORS WANTED, WHICH CAME BEFORE THE MOVIE?! WHAT THE FUCK???????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At first, I thought they were going to get into how the ice-dwelling people should've been light after reading "the show got it wrong" because that is something I've actually read people post. Somehow, they think that because the poles are cold, there is no sunlight, so the Water Tribe characters "shouldn't" be dark. They also believe since the firebenders are near fire, they should definitely be dark. They believe that the movie is correct.

JUST NO.
28th-Jun-2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
I'm trying to understand you guys, I really am. I understand you're upset by the races of the actors casted, and I'm not going to consciously try to convince you not to be, but why?

It's a beaten counterargument that the Avatar world doesn't have set races. All people from the Fire Nation aren't lighter skinned, and the same goes for the other nations. Katara has darker skin and lives in a cold climate. Does that make her Inuit? Could she be black or Hispanic or Persian? I don't know. A lot of people seem to think she should've been played by an Inuit actress. Would there be as much as an uproar if she were played by a Hispanic actress? Probably not, I guess.

Are you guys mad about whitey getting lead parts in an 'Asian' movie? It's no secret that Caucasian production crews haven't been kind to other races when it came to whites playing an Asian or black character, or those people having negative roles when they were casted. The setting may be inspired by Asian cultures just as the show was but like I said, no one really has a real race. Aang isn't Asian or White. He's a boy from the Southern Air Temple who happens to have a light skin pigmentation. So how can you make the point of a yet another white person playing another Asian? I don't know that either.

Then there's the argument of Zuko, Iroh, Ozai, and Zhao all being played by darker skinned actors, and how that automatically means that people with darker skin = bad. I don't really understand that either. Kids don't really care about race, especially nowadays since kids are taught to be tolerant of everyone. I don't think a 90+ minute movie is going to distort their acceptance of other people. Pretty much before Season 3, everyone was against the Fire Nation not because of their race, but what they were doing, right?

I've lost contact with a friend because she was a racebender and I supported the movie. I'm not sure what the big deal is. Political correctness? Being true to the show's diversity? It's entertainment. They're not making fun of Asian people with the whole overdone accent and buck teeth bit, they're not putting someone in black face, they're just making a movie for people to enjoy.
28th-Jun-2010 11:16 pm (UTC) - Reply pt 1
All people from the Fire Nation aren't lighter skinned, and the same goes for the other nations.

That's true, but their skin tone isn't what makes them Asian. The cultures of the four nations are from real-life East Asian and Native American cultures. The entire world is Asian and Native American, and so are the characters involved.

Katara has darker skin and lives in a cold climate. Does that make her Inuit?

No. The fact that her culture is based on Inuit cultures is what makes the Water Tribe Inuit.

A lot of people seem to think she should've been played by an Inuit actress. Would there be as much as an uproar if she were played by a Hispanic actress? Probably not, I guess.

There would probably be less outrage if they had gotten someone who was darker-skinned like Katara and Sokka were in the show. As it is, they got Nicola Peltz and Jackson Rathbone, both of whom are vampire-pale. We'd prefer Inuit actors, but would have been willing to settle for less.

Are you guys mad about whitey getting lead parts in an 'Asian' movie?

This isn't an Asian movie, it's an American one. But we're mad that they took Asian characters and replaced them with white ones, yes.

It's no secret that Caucasian production crews haven't been kind to other races when it came to whites playing an Asian or black character, or those people having negative roles when they were casted.

Exactly. Which makes this film one more case of this decades-long behavior. This sort of stuff should've stopped long ago, but clearly it has not.

The setting may be inspired by Asian cultures just as the show was but like I said, no one really has a real race.

Pretty much the entire show was based on East Asian cultures. You cannot divorce that from the characters and claim that just because their entire culture is Asian, they're somehow white. It's nonsensical, and it's cultural appropriation.

Then there's the argument of Zuko, Iroh, Ozai, and Zhao all being played by darker skinned actors, and how that automatically means that people with darker skin = bad. I don't really understand that either.

What's not to understand? Shyamalan made the bad guys of the series all dark-skinned. So now you have made all the villains people of color, to be defeated by white good guys. This sends a terrible message.

Kids don't really care about race, especially nowadays since kids are taught to be tolerant of everyone.

You think not? Try reading this, this, and this... for starters.

Our society is not colorblind, and pretending to be so just makes things worse. When kids are subjected to nothing but white people in their media, white people as heroes and people of color as villains, they're going to notice and absorb that. Avatar was one of the few shows that had dark-skinned people as main characters and heroes in Sokka and Katara, but the movie has completely reversed that and once again gone with the trend of white heroes versus dark-skinned villains. This is not healthy.
28th-Jun-2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
Not a complaint about the message of the comm (I'm a proud member), but I'd like to request that the comm be put on moderated membership in light of ravenous215/rickyXXX spamming the comm and expressing their intention to repost comments in a locked post. I'd like to feel safe when I comment in locked posts, knowing that pro-casters can't see it so I can speak my mind without having to watch my language.
29th-Jun-2010 01:47 am (UTC)
I'm real happy for you and I'mma let you finish but Al Sharpton was the greatest race card player. of all time. Of all time.
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