LWB Community Blog

Race Bender

A controversy is starting to brew over the new movie, “The Last Airbender”. This movie is based on the extremely popular animated series that features Asian characters and celebrates the Asian culture.

Paramount has made this movie into a live action film that will be released in July 2010. However, the part of the main Asian character, Sokka, was given to a Caucasian actor, and the only Asian actors in the film are all cast as villains or background characters. In fact, for the casting call, the main characters were asked to be “Caucasian or Any Other Ethnicity” while the film extras were asked to be “Middle Eastern, Asian, or Latino”.

Many groups are now planning to boycott the film to protest this type of casting in American movies. You can read more at Racebending.com.

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  • Adam E says:

    As someone who is totally unfamiliar with the source material I’m wondering what the big deal is? Is the “new” character straying from the values of the source material? Is it offensive? Is the movie an adaptation of the animated series or is it just using the name?
    (of note: I’m not able to view the links in the above post due to work firewalls – grrr…so maybe those will explain a lot to me)
    For those boycotting the movie, did you get to see an advance screening to base your boycott on?

  • gena1223 says:

    I love this cartoon and when I found out they were making a movie I was so thrilled. When I finally got to see the trailer, I was disappointed and felt a bit cheated that they used white people for some of the main cast.

  • Sarah says:

    I’m so glad to see LWB posting about this! I’ve been involved in the Racebending movement since it started in December ’08 (I’ve been a fan of Avatar waay back since ’05 so this was a big deal for me).

    You may be interested to see the video I made for the movement last year, from the perspective of a family formed through Chinese adoption: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4A6Y9qtof8

    Also related to international adoption + racebending, an article by a mom with a son adopted from Vietnam: http://www.salon.com/entertainment/movies/the_last_airbender/index.html?story=/ent/movies/film_salon/2010/02/10/airbender_open2010

    Thanks for calling attention to this issue, LWB! A lot of the Racebending movement’s supporters are young adults and students but it’s great to see more buzz about this from a family perspective.