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.
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.