When I was a kid, playing at Star Wars, I wanted to be Lando Calrissian. I like to think that my childhood self recognized that, even more than Han, Lando represented the lone morally gray character in the Star Wars universe, but really it was the cape. I fucking practiced walking around with a blanket on my shoulders, trying to keep it up on sheer force of awesome. Keep in mind I was, at most, six. I don't still do this. Very often.
Why I bring this up is that the trailer for M Night Shyamalan's adaptation of popular kids' show 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' has debuted, and it's reinspired some ire from late last year, when the casting was announced. Take a look at the below pictures:
The little Asian kid who's the star of the show has been effectively replaced by a cherubic-looking little White kid. As has ninety percent of the cast, except, as it happens, for the main bad guy. He still gets to be brown. Now of course, lots of people are naturally quite up in arms over this, and though I haven't seen frame one of the cartoon, I'm with them.
Because I feel insulted. I feel insulted to learn that Corporate Media doesn't think I, or kids anyway, can empathize with and root for someone who isn't white. It insults me and every time I played Star Wars or pretended to be Mr. Sulu in Star Trek because he got to FLY the ship and every book I've read that doesn't have some White lead or every movie I've seen not starring John Wayne.
This is Cherry Chan, Me-Make-Pee-Pee-in-Your-Coke, flat out racist. And further it perpetuates the myth that we can't get along, that we have nothing to say to or learn from each other, that we're incapable of seeing anything of value in the experiences of another race or culture--not even that! That we are somehow so stunted that the random adventures of an Asian-looking, Buddhist-inspired kid in some mythical Earth THAT ISN'T EVEN THIS PLANET somehow has to be sanitized.
Note, of course, that nobody thought it was a good idea to make Boromir black or Pippin Indonesian or give Legolas a wheelchair. That movie had more white people than a John McCain rally.
I hope this movie dies a death so momentous and unmourned as to serve as an example to generations of film students and Corporate Heeewers that some bullshit comes at too high a price.