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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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avatar casting decisions
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The WTF on the Avatar casting choices continues to be WTF.

Links:

ciderpress - What We Talk About When We Talk About regarding the white default and frustration that a part tailor-made for non-white actors is basically going to white actors.

For reference, the current cast being used for the movie.

The comm deadbrowalking has both a bingo card and an excellent list of links here. Some excellent reading in there, and I haven't hit it yet, but there's a petition and letter writing somewhere in here that I'll add when I find it. But go, read, and look at the cast list blankly again for a second, because--I just don't get it.



Story Hour

After reading, I called Child in, since he's a huge Avatar fan. I showed him the list, curious what he would see. He didn't at first, so I explained about casting white actors for non-white parts in non-white cultures and the tradition behind it as best I could (I seriously need to find a good eleven-year-old-appropriate entry or essay by someone who can cover this correctly and thoroughly; it deserves a lot more than me trying to explain) and explained the difference between perceived skin color and culture and let him point out the differences he saw with that in mind.

He studied the cast pictures again more thoughtfully and the background and asked about the cultures that were drawn on to create the show, which I--will need to read more on, since I was referring back to the lj entries for answers. He surprised me by getting concerned when he understood that the reason this is a problem is that it's so common to take away from other cultures and change it to suit white, Western thought and culture (this is when I quoted ciderpress; I'm thinking I may let him read her entry with me so he can have more context, and the story of her nephews would be extremely good at putting it in a child's pov of the subject). We've talked about blackface and about certain casting decisions in movies we've seen that seemed wrong, but most of those were so glaringly obvious I twitch (Sci-Fi's Oz remake one day needs to be shot and killed), but this is, for him, less blatant, so we walked a little more slowly through this one.

So I told him about people doing letter writing campaigns and petitions and he wants to ask his principal for permission to do one at school. I'm actually thinking probably not; they're pretty strict, but possibly take it to the Character Education teacher for one of their weekly topics, since I think there are several on the list that might relate to it, and the school is interestingly open about multiple povs, and for that matter, has a high (I think it may be majority non-white, actually) non-white population, so it might be considered relevant. I'm kind of hoping so; they have had controversial speakers before, so bringing this up as an exercise for the class seems at least possible.

While it was good to have a current, relevant to his life, really easily researched and obvious with lots of links way to bring up this topic with him (thank God for an active flist for this one), it's like freaking Boobgate; it's just pissing me off as well.

Knowing that it takes this level for me to really notice is irritating as well; even actively paying attention to these kinds of problems doesn't mean I'm getting better, faster at spotting it and catching myself in complacency. I'm just learning to apologize faster and go back to work out what I missed without getting cranky. And I've got to do better than that. His generation probably can't end this, but they can take it farther, faster, and do better.


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(Deleted comment)
I don't either, most of the time (and am trying to fix that), but translations from books/anime/tv to movies I think will, at least for me, make it more obvious when that happens, especially books where you have a clear description of each character from the beginning.

You are such a good mom. *admiring*

Sci-Fi's Oz remake one day needs to be shot and killed

The Oz remake or the Earthsea miniseries?

Both. Together. Or killed with fire, just in case.

I liked the Oz remake fever dream -- I shouldn't? (Glitch/Cain, yum!)

The Earthsea mini I didn't bother to watch.

~

Oh boy, the comments in that first link!

People should really calm down. I flipped (a little) when Optimus Prime had flames and Bumblebee was a Camaro and Megatron was a Cybertronian ship (which is actually a little cooler) instead of a handgun (which wouldn't make sense) in TRANSFORMERS.

Because Race = Car Models and paint jobs!!!!!

*facepalm* So many terrifying comments.

I almost want to make a gallery of racefail, but then I remember that I don't hate myself.

This is very irritating to me. Anyone who isn't like from WV or Iowa [v v white states] can tell these kids are not white by looking at the animation for a minute. The facial features on those first two kids - uh, IDK the names of the characters - match okay, but the characters are generic cartoon drawing featured, so...and while you can change hair/eye color easily - changing skin color isn't so easy. I really like it when movies match the animation/comic. - Why is this such a fucking issue? There are no asian/native american/brazilian fucking kids they can find?

regarding the white default and frustration that a part tailor-made for non-white actors is basically going to non-white actors.

I think you mean going to white actors?

..yes. I did. Grr. fixing.

I promptly made the same mistake ten minutes later.

Aang Ain't White has the letter writing campaign. I've also got addresses posted here.

My letters to Shyamalan, Kennedy, and Head Dude At Paramount are going out in today's post.

ETA: and I added Avatar to my netflix queue today, based on this gorgeous picspam. I'd seen people on my flist talking about it over the last 2 years, but hadn't watched it yet. After watching the trailer for book 3? HOLY CRAP THIS LOOKS AWESOME.

Edited at 2008-12-17 06:25 pm (UTC)

You're an awesome mom. :D

Also, it really is great how many people are looking at this and saying "WTF Hollywood." Not just that, but going so far as to write letters! (Which reminds me, I need to find coherent thoughts to write mine rather than just YOU SUCK YOU SUCK YOU SUCK over and over.)

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