Tag Archives: Avatar

More ways to stop Racebending

This just in from our friends over at People Against Racebending. This is a direct copy from one of their Facebook updates….


avatarracebended1Here are two new opportunities to spread the word about The Last Airbender controversy and the People Against Racebending!

Are you going to San Diego Comic Con 2009? Want to volunteer with racebending.com?

Fill out our volunteer form!

Or e-mail info@racebending.com with your contact info!

We have a flickr!

Show Paramount, the media, and the rest of the world exactly how diverse and fabulous the People Against Racebending really are! Just follow these 4 easy steps:

#1 Create a “BOYCOTT THE LAST AIRBENDER –> racebending.com” sign (It can be made out of a piece of paper and a Sharpie, I’m not fussy, as long as it fulfills #2!)

#2 Take a picture of yourself with the sign, making sure the sign is easy to read by the picture-viewer.

#3 Write a paragraph (or less) about why you are personally boycotting TLA. (As a guide, think of what you wrote in your answer to the survey awhile back.)

#4 Send your photo and your paragraph with your some iteration of your REAL name, your age, your location, and your self-identifying ethnicity to promote@racebending.com. (Name can be first & last OR first name only OR first name + last initial, etc. as long as it is not a screen name. Location will be used in our map. All other info is supplementary survey info that will not be disclosed unless we see fit to change that at a later date. We’ll keep you updated! ;)

And that’s it!

There are a few extra details (Please show your face, keep it PG, groups are allowed as long as all group members supply a paragraph and the information outlined in #4)– Check them out at http://community.livejournal.com/racebending/69744.html

Need examples? Check out the flickr.

Questions about photos? Just e-mail me at promote@racebending.com

Cheers! :D

Avatar News

Just got this in from Catherine Bugayong through FaceBook:

Firstly, welcome to our new members and a great big thank you to them and all our continuing supporters! We can’t do this without you!

As you may know, the first look at Aang and Zuko has appeared in USA Today:


We are urging everybody to please write a short letter to the editor (they prefer 250 words or less) alerting them to the discriminatory casting practices:

“Send comments to letters@usatoday.com. Include name, phone number, city and state for verification.”

Jumping off ideas:

-The wording of using the “look of Aang”

-Good guy/bad guy coding in the article

-No mention of racefail casting practices

-The production’s missteps, including culturally ignorant statements made by the cast and crew

Don’t forget to direct them to racebending.com!

Please, if you have the time, send something in. They can ignore one or two letters, but if two hundred people write them then they may feel like they need to print something. 

Please don’t assume that other people will write in!

More Racebending News

Just got this email. Thought I would share….


Marissa Minna Lee sent a message to the members of People Against Racebending: Protest of the Cast of The Last Airbender Movie.

Subject: MANAA Meeting This Thursday Night in Los Angeles!

There’s a Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) meeting tomorrow, April 16th in Chinatown, Los Angeles– where they will be discussing next steps to take for THE LAST AIRBENDER.

When: April 16, 2009 at 7:30PM
Where: Chinatown Public Safety Association, 823 N. Hill Street (between Alpine and College Streets)

I’ve been working with MANAA over the last few months on this topic and there is a lot they talk about at these meetings that cannot be discussed online.  If you’re interested in making a tangible difference, and in getting the inside scoop on their communications with Paramount and Nickelodeon, this is the meeting to attend.

MANAA has told me that they would like to see more Avatar fans attend to gauge how many people are genuinely interested in working this issue. I think they’re kind of skeptical about the fact that I’m literally the only one who ever shows up.  Los Angeles is a huge city.  It really makes us look bad–like only a handful of people genuinely care about the issue and are willing to work for it.

If you don’t live in LA or are unable to attend, but wish you could, my suggestion would be to contact MANAA and let them know that you support their efforts and are upset by Paramount’s casting practices. http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http://www.manaa.org%2Fcontact_us.html

More Avatar Protest News

For those of you who have been reading this blog, or the Essentials blog, know that all of us at Japanistic are peeved about the whitewashing going on with Avatar The Last Airbender. If you want to get involved, and are in the LA area, check out what’s coming up soon:

  1. April MANAA meeting.  MANAA is currently advocating alongside the fans on this issue.  If you would like to learn what they’ve learned (some of which can’t be discussed online) and would like to help plan, please attend the April 16th MANAA meeting in Los Angeles Chinatown: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http://www.manaa.org%2F
  2. Take a stand at ComicCon.  At the panels, someone needs to ask–politely–the hard questions.  If you will be attending ComicCon and would like to be this person, please message Marissa Minna Lee.

You can learn more by contacting Marissa Minna Lee through the FaceBook page of People Against Racebending: Protest of the Cast of The Last Airbender Movie.

Avatar Film Set Exposes Ongoing Whitewashing

Here’s an interesting piece from the Aang Ain’t White Journal on how the Avatar film set is further exposing the production as a racist whitewash. Here is a sample of the images they put up on their site:

Racebending Petition Needs Your Help

avatarThe folks over at People Against Racebending: Protest of the Cast of The Last Airbender Movie have got a petition they are asking people to sign to protest the casting of the title roles in The Avatar. I signed it and encourage you to sign it or at least read it. More information about the petition can be found here and here.

More White-Washing News

Thanks to HacaTV for this article on the ongoing mess known as Yellow-face and White-washing. I have shortened it for this blog. HacaTV speaks primarily to the issue that Hollywood should be making more animated films and fewer adaptations. I personally don’t mind the idea of the adaptation. What I care about is the fact that the people in charge of “translating” the story do so in a racist and small-minded way and as the author points out below, it is only getting worse. The upcoming film Cowboy Bebop will be Keanu’s SECOND role as an Asian.

charlton heston news: Fund animators, not adaptations

If the response across the web is any indication, fans of Cowboy Bebop are mostly infuriated by the news, with a hopeful few clinging to the notion that Keanu’s anime fandom will translate into a performance along the lines of, well, faithful cosplay.

But add it to news of Leonardo DiCaprio’s live-action Akira, (with Joseph Gordon Levitt playing Tetsuo), and a live-action Ninja Scroll, plus M. Night Shyamalan’s live-action whitewash of Avatar: The Last Airbender,* and we’re looking at a definite trend of live-action anime adaptations, the first of which to hit screens being Dragonball Evolution, which also features white actors playing roles originally created, written, directed, animated, and performed by Japanese people.**

According to Edward Said, one of the principles of Orientalism is a belief that Asia cannot speak for herself, and that the West must do it for her, constantly re-interpreting and clarifying the “mysteries of the Orient” for Western audiences, regurgitating the complexities of other cultures into an easily-digestible whole. The trouble with the Orientalist position is that it creates a false discourse that operates on the premise that a whole country and its inhabitants can be reduced to a single brand identity, a cognitive simplification equivalent to saying that “all anime is tentacle porn.” Moreover, it assumes a fundamental incapability of the Western mind to grasp the multi-faceted nature of that which is Other, because “the gaijin won’t get it.”

But as all anime fans know, this is simply not true. However one feels about fansubs and scanlations, they frequently take the time to explain to an eager and intelligent audience the delicate nuance of a Japanese reference or phrase or pun. And if the recent developments at Crunchyroll have proven anything, it’s that anime fans want anime, and they want it animated, and soon, not months or years from now.

*I include Avatar: The Last Airbender on this list because it featured both characters and actors of colour: Katara and Sokka, originally dark-skinned (like all Water Tribe people), are now being played by white actors. And while white voice talents were employed, so were Asians: Mako, George Takei, George Hong, Dante Basco, Tsai Chin, and Sab Shimono all contributed their talents (although frequently as guest stars rather than leads, with the exception of Mr. Iwamatsu and Mr. Basco). Notably in Shyamalan’s live-action cast is the replacement of Mr. Basco (a Filipino-American who has appeared in live-action films and television) with a blond, blue-eyed pop star.

**And Korean people, let us not forget. Korean animation studios frequently do “in-betweener” animation for both Japanese and American productions, and have done so for years now. This is also true of the afore-mentioned Avatar.

***One could also argue that the role of Spike Spiegel is not Japanese — Spike was born on Mars, and we don’t know his ethnicity. But the characters of Akira and Ninja Scroll are definitely Japanese.

Image credit: Slashfilm

Washington Post Chimes in on Avatar Debacle


Check out this Washington Post article on the growing racism of the Avatar casting. If you haven’t been following the controversy, you should look to the right and click on the several links under the title: “The Avatar Ain’t White”.

It just keeps getting worse and worse.

Protest Avatar: The Last Airbender Movie

aanaintwhite1This is really last-minute, but a group is protesting the racist production of Avatar in Flushing Queens today from 11:00-4:00 pm. Read more about the event by following this link. Here is a summary…

We are too far away but are with them in spirit.

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