Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Last...Racebender?

I have been a fan of the original "Avatar: The Last Airbender" series for a while now, and I was very excited for the new movie to come out. That was before I heard that it sucked and before I saw that it sucked, but that’s beside the point. One day, I was browsing around Facebook, when I came across an event that was calling for a boycott of the new film. Wondering why that was, I went to the event page and saw many overly-sensitive people with very large broomsticks very obviously up their rear end that had begun a website called Racebender. Apparently, they were upset because the people that did the casting for the movie didn’t cast Asian people. Did I miss something? I was overcome with a strange feeling that I had overlooked something important in the series. There were Asian people in the series? Since when?! So, after destroying a fairly annoying person on the event page in an argument, I decided to see if I was wrong. That threw me into a ride that made me realize…that I was right and my “Stupidity Hypothesis” holds true.

The 1st thing I did was check the series again. Let’s see if people look Asian or not just in case. Here is Aang:

Oh no! I am wr—oh wait a second. He isn’t Asian. Right. He looks sort of, well, Caucasian. Ok, well there must be an Asian here somewhere. Let’s continue. Next, we shall see Katara and Sokka. Here they are:

They…are…not Asian? I wonder why people assumed they were. At most, they look a tiny bit dark as if from islands in the tropics, or maybe a bit Latin (even though, considering the fact that they live in a North and South Pole equivalent, they should be quite white or very very sunburnt…just saying). Let’s move on to the next couple of characters. Here’s Zuko and Uncle Iroh:

Ok, honestly, this is getting ridiculous! Is there someone...anyone that’s Asian?? Toph??

Maybe Sozin?

Give me something!!! Give me anything!!! The Kiyoshi Warriors??

YES!!! Oh…wait. They are just painted to look Asian. Darn. I could have sworn. I just…I need to find an Asian. Where are they?? I call for a gathering of all the random people that appeared in the series!!!

Alright, that last one was one final ditch effort. Well, I think we all have to just take a deep breath…and not cry. Ok, that might just be me, but still! I think that I might have gone a little crazy to find something that might give these sensitive people a little credibility. Lo and behold, though, I did not. So, what does this mean? Rafa was correct again. The thing is, people seemed to think that the characters were Asian not because of the way they looked, but rather because of the way that they acted. If I act African, am I African? The answer, my friends is no. Just because the series is founded on a pan-Asian world, that doesn’t automatically make the characters Asian.

Part of the thing that bothered me was that, apart from people thinking that the characters are Asian, they had the nerve to say that the people cast for the new "The Last Aribender" film weren’t Asian enough and that the people casting were being racist. Um…what? Are you saying that because of your assumption that the people in the series were Asian, the casting was biased and racist? How’s about you look at it this way. By saying that the casting of people wasn’t correct because the people were not Asian, you are assuming that “Asian” as a term denoting race refers to a specific type of people as decided by you. Furthermore, by stating that the actor Dev Patel “wasn’t Asian enough,” you are immediately excluding most of the Asian continent from the race decided upon to be “Asian.” So, you are met with a bit of irony and hypocrisy in your situation. You are calling the people casting actors racists, but the way that you are expressing yourselves makes it apparent that the “Asian” people you are referring to are a group that has been racially stereotyped by you. You expect an Asian person to be “yellow” (as in not Caucasian), thin eyed, small, flat nosed, and possess fantastic hair. Is it just me, or are you being a tad racist? If anything, I think that you should take a good look at yourself and discover what it is you are fighting for here. You’re making a fool of yourself…no, really. While you grasp the nature of your own hypocrisy, please take the time to internalize all that I have written and view one last picture I have provided below. It shows an artist’s rendering of what, by your definition, the whole cast of "The Last Airbender" should have looked like:

(Copyright "Rafa's Awesome Racist Drawings." Drawn in the Sketches App on his phone and then filled in Microsoft Paint. Isn't it great when feuding companies get along?)

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