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News from the Is Avatar Racist? front

Annalee Newitz thinks Avatar is racist (as do I-ish), and points to interesting comments by Remington. Will Heaven points to a bunch of other sources as well. OuttaContext replies to the racism charge, seeing also a more inevitable and mythic story. But I think he underestimates the perniciousness of the specifics of the native culture the movie depicts: They’re not just the “other”; they’re blue native Americans.

By the way, do you think the Na’vi and JarJar Binx descend from some ur-stereotype progenitor??

45 Responses to “News from the Is Avatar Racist? front”

  1. I didn’t disagree with Annalee but I do see humans have segregated quite a few “Others” recently. While I don’t disagree with your assessment of the mythic and racist story Avatar conveys it’s not just confined to native Americans (it includes them but shouldn’t be confined to this narrow reading).

    This story is also about imperialism and colonialism. Many countries have a lot of experience with these isms over the course of contemporary times.. And let’s not forget the recent Copenhagen talks on climate control. It was never clearer when the “have-not” Pacific island nation of Tuvalu pleaded with the “haves” not destroy his country. Avatar was as much about that as white guilt.

  2. Jeff, I agree that Avatar is about colonialism. In fact, I’m pretty sure Cameron views it as an anti-colonialist movie (as well as ecological and feminist, and possibly as explicitly anti-technology). The problem I have with it is with how it portrays the “colonies,” so to speak.

  3. Yes, I agree. It’s sadly a stereotype of colonialism. But the colonialism depicted here is happening all over the world. Now. Is it typically left-of-center American to think this is just about our native cultures? I hope not.

  4. Some people just love to see racism in everything. To the point that you can’t actually star Africa or something based on African culture that is not a happy-family-sitcom without being accused of being racist. Like Resident Evil 5 which is situated in Africa and as such had mostly black people in it (no way!).

    Congratulations, you wonder why Hollywood movies predominantly depict western white culture? This is why. Makes me sick.

  5. I read Annalee article, and I must say I do not agree to call the movie racist…

    BTW, I just watched Avatar in IMAX theatre nearby. Visuals – excellent !!!

    I think that indeed Cameron talls the story of white man guilt, indeed the message of the movie is like that of Costner’s “Dances”, but in both cases the story that discloses a guilt, cannot be called racist, only because of this confession….

    See, Cameron speaks to young people who spent hours on 3D computer games, indulge in “Second Lifes” etc – and using their languge and specific “game” genre expresses the guilt of collonialism, the concern for the future, the worries about superficial reasons we made conquests, and puts the culture of lion-strong military in question…

    While I do not want to exaggerate and to say, that Avatar is a masterpiece of narration and moral message (as it is of 3D effects and humanoid animations), I must say that I was pleasantly suprised when I was leaving the theatre last night ….

  6. Jeff, I’m saying it’s about a particular colonial situation because the iconography that Cameron uses draws heavily from that particular situation. A general oneness with the earth that is stereotypical of the white view of native Americans. Bareback riding. Bows and arrows, for goodness sake. There is, of course, a mix of iconography, but it seems to me hard to argue that the Na’vi are presented primarily as blue-skinned native Americans.

    Laurens, I’m pretty much making the opposite point: Avatar shows native Americans (not Africans), and shows them in a _positive_ stereotypical light. As for your last point — the one that makes you sick — I don’t understand what you’re saying.

    However, I don’t” wonder why hollywood movies predominantly depict western white culture”: They go where the money is. But, Hollywood movies are rarely overtly racist, and have been enormously important in fighting against racism.

  7. Is it racism or is it theft of traditional knowledge?

    Is it intentional racism or is it interpreted racism?

    Is it about colonialism or is it about greed?

    Are these disjunctive questions, is each “or” mutually exclusive, or can it be both?

  8. i thought the film had more of a noam chomsky/john perkins vibe to it, which is much more modern day than good old colonialism. you know, take natural resources from foreign lands under the guise of providing infrastructure. if that doesn’t work, infiltrate the leadership. if that doesn’t work, it’s shock and awe time.

    as for the aliens, i think people are bound to criticize when the culture being depicted can communicate with everything around them, including their non-trampled earth, without the explicit use of devices such as blogs and blackberries. i found the aliens to have a pleasant base mix of native american, african and middle-eastern cultures and i’m not sure why that’s an issue. can there only be ugly & scary alien cultures or ones that reflect the west in looks and action? of course not. so why bring “racism” into the fold. it’s ridiculous.

  9. Beyond the academic commentariat which lives and breathes this stuff without actually really doing too much about social justice, I think Avatar may have a very different impact.

    I believe that Cameron’s choices are too obvious to be simply a matter of being contrived and racially tin-eared. Indeed, it seems Cameron believes he needs to hit the audience with a hammer as no cinematic experience has yet roused the moral conscience of the West in the wake of its ongoing colonial wars, eco-destruction, and plunder of developing countries. Now you might think this is a case of dumbing down or condescending, but have you seen audiences these days? Transformers 2 was the last huge hit.

    Now compare with Lord of the Rings, which can be said to be racist in the opposite way, where the orcs (many played by Maori extras) are dark skinned and flat nosed, while the “Men of the West” are racially pristine good guys (as per the source material).

    Avatar is no worse than this and indeed, Avatar completely reverses this trope — yes with the noble savage mystique — but alas, the human military industrial complex are the bad guys.

    So I think Avatar may indeed have a beneficial impact beyond the cliched plotlines and stereotypes. Maybe it can make people think twice about the destruction happening all around them.

  10. [Oops, I meant to comment on this post. Please feel free to delete the version of this comment on the earlier Avatar post.]

    Avatar is not racist. It deals with race, and it’s directed by a white man who wasn’t an ethnic studies major. If it’s out of touch with the oversensitive mental gymnasts who studied media and race in college, so be it. Everyone is trying to shoehorn what Cameron did into less sophisticated and more transparent race narratives from movies that weren’t as good as Avatar. The analogies are sloppy and they fall far short of indicting this poignant, progressive film.

    This needs to be said. Lay white people can have valid, non-racist opinions about race. They can also make legitimate, insightful commentary about race by drawing up interesting parallels in fictitious blockbusters. If the people who criticize Avatar as racist can point to any piece of popular culture which comments on race and was piloted by a lay white person, my point will fall by the wayside. But if not, the strong correlation between the race of the movie director, author, or artist and the accusations of racism calls for the accusers to exercise a bit more restraint and reflection.

    When I first read Annalee Newitz’s post, I counter-posted a dissent and emailed it to her (http://brownbourne.wordpress.c…..and-race/). My major gripe was the cocksurety with which people trained to identify overly subtle racist tinges pull that trigger for their audiences instead of wording their accusations more as informed suggestions. It seems that people like Newitz seek out defensive positions from which to attack, and then they show no restraint or sense of balance when they feel they have a case. It’s academic terrorism. I mean, the frickin’ title of the blog post was “When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like ‘Avatar’?” Talk about tactless (perhaps even racist).

    As for David’s mention of embarrassing stereotypes of Native Americans, I wonder whether the traits displayed are inherently embarrassing, or rather if those traits are only embarrassing because of the negative qualities which prejudiced individuals assume accompany such traits. I thought the core elements of Na’vi culture were portrayed as intelligent, honorable, and effective elements of a life sustaining culture. I’m not a Native American, but I really can’t imagine they would be embarrassed by the Na’Vi riding around on horses and belting out trilled war cries. They looked fierce and awe-inspiring.

    Let me try to make this personal. As an Irish American, I was proud of the crazy Irishman named Stephen in Braveheart, even as his craziness was (and still is) associated in America with alcoholism, rambunctiousness, and shoddy work ethic by prejudiced individuals. When the Irish first came to America, there were “NINA: No Irish Need Apply” signs in all the shops in WASP neighborhoods. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to get all huffy as soon as my kind is portrayed on film. Especially not when the movie character approaches literary figuredom with lines like “In order to find his equal, an Irishman is forced to talk to God.”

    The same should apply to the Na’Vi. Let’s not bury the lede by skipping to the race wrinkle, and once we approach that part of the critical commentary in an organic matter, let’s inject at least as much ambiguity into our assessments as Cameron injected into his awesome movie.

    -Brown Bourne
    blog: http://brownbourne.wordpress.c…..om
    roll: http://brownbourne.wikidot.com

  11. Imagine the Na’vi were presented not as forest-dwellers but as inner city denizens. And they’re presented just as positively, because no one is accusing Cameron of presenting _negative_ stereotypes. Now imagine that among the positive attributes of these urban Na’vi are characteristics such as: they are simply great at basketball and they are have a terrific sense of rhythm. Oh so positive! But still racist stereotyping. Or, do the same thought experiment with whatever racial or ethnic group you want, so long as you stick to positive elements of the stereotyping.

    Avatar is a big step up from Lucas’ appalling use of racist stereotypes (dishonest Arab merchants, addled Jamaicans, etc.) but it’s still objectionable enough that it ought to be noticed and called out — even while applauding these directors’ good intentions and conscious efforts to break down other stereotypes. (Princess Leiea kicked butt alongside Han Solo, Ripley kicked butt by her lonesome, western exploitation of the earth and disrespect for other cultures gets kicked in the butt in Avatar…)

  12. You confuse basing a fictional culture on an existing culture with racism.

  13. Now… here comes David Brooks on the subject:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/08/opinion/08brooks.html

  14. david, instead of substituting the existing script with a “thought experiment,” why can’t you make a convincing argument with the current story? IMHO, describing the development of the na’vi culture as “racist” severely cheapens the definition of racism.

  15. Sean, asking people to alter a situation slightly so they can see how it might look is a standard and useful way of arguing/explaining. E.g., “Yeah, well try substituting ‘man’ for ‘woman’ in that statement and see how it sounds!” I’m not sure what would be a better way of clarifying what I’m saying since Avatar struck me as racist in a relatively benign (i.e., not as malicious as it could be, by far) way.

    And for that reason I don’t think I’m cheapening the term “racism.” If we grant that racism can be subtle and that none of us is immune from it, then pointing out less blatant and less malign forms of racism doesn’t cheapen the term, but instead shows just how pernicious it is.

    What did you think of the David Brooks’ column? I thought it was right on.

  16. Seems racist to me. I realy am not interested in seeing another
    Hollyweird movie written from the point of veiw of the good white man hero, that takes on the white establishment.and saving the backward noble natives. regardless if they are red, black or in this case blue. White people are not that important. Shame on all the people of color around the world that waste their money on what the white man in hollywood puts out. Make your own movies staring people of color. The white man is about ten percent of the worlds population and dropping quickly, they are a declining race. thank God! I
    India for example puts out good movies from an Indian point of view. They are not the mega buget white boy guilt fests of hollyweird, but are more deep and have better character developement.

    People of color stop being such geeks and nerds running after the white mans movies.Stop saying oh boy another hollywood movie and respect your own culture. I know that you can go to any country and the the people of that nation can literally name dozens of white Hollywood stars. but white Americans cannot name even two or three Indian movie stars, and they really do not give a crap. So why support the irrelevant racist white mans Hollywood?

  17. Dan r, it is you who is sounding more racist than any of us at the moment.

    Stop obsessing over colour. We’re all the same.

  18. p.s. just for illustration of my point above, see if this pisses you off: “AIDS killed over 1 million Africans last year. Thank god!”. Now I wasn’t being sincere there. The sad thing is, you were.

    I can not comprehend how someone would think the world would be better off without a group of people whose skin is a particular colour. Most of the people I know, mostly white as I have been born in the Netherlands, are friendly and caring people. But please go on hating.

  19. You see what you’ve started David? It is better to save accusations of racism for the cases where there are actually bad intentions and/or harm done.

    In stead, seeing matters of colour in even the most trivial subjects kind of implies that you can not view things separate from race.

  20. Wow David, I see you are just a touch bitter and racist yourself. Way to call the kettle too white for your tastes.

    Please, by all means, cite one story – any story – that does not draw upon the cultural relativism in which it takes place. I cannot think of any.

    Humans draw from their own experiences. Those experiences define the stories we tell. We stereotype as a survival mechanism, but also to make it easier to tell a story.

    However, what you are crying against is the reversal of roles within stories – the red shirt always died before, now the red shirt wins – Oh No! Way to point out that the red shirt always dies, how horrible of you. Wait, red is a color we used to use for American Indians, that means red shirts must be racist because someone could conceivably think of them as representing American Indians.

    The only time a story is not going to be racist is when it has not been shared – leave the cellophane blank.

    Good luck with that. Is it even possible to have a story of one side versus another without someone thinking either side represents a contemporary society? Probably not.

  21. Wow David, I see you are just a touch bitter and racist yourself. Way to call the kettle too white for your tastes.

    Please, by all means, cite one story – any story – that does not draw upon the cultural relativism in which it takes place. I cannot think of any.

    Humans draw from their own experiences. Those experiences define the stories we tell. We stereotype as a survival mechanism, but also to make it easier to tell a story.

    However, what you are crying against is the reversal of roles within stories – the red shirt always died before, now the red shirt wins – Oh No! Way to point out that the red shirt always dies, how horrible of you. Wait, red is a color we used to use for American Indians, that means red shirts must be racist because someone could conceivably think of them as representing American Indians.

    The only time a story is not going to be racist is when it has not been shared – leave the cellophane blank.

    Good luck with that. Is it even possible to have a story of one side versus another without someone thinking either side represents a contemporary society? Probably not.

  22. Sorry for the double post.

  23. M, I’m not bitter. I just didn’t like the movie very much.

    Of course all stories draw on their culture. But do you think that all stories are equally unoriginal? Avatar seemed to me to be exceptionally unoriginal in its narrative.

    And the problem isn’t that it drew upon familiar stories. It’s that it presented a story that consciously reflected particular myths that are well-intentioned and consciously intended to counter negative racism (I believe). But, jeez, he has the white Western guy coming in to save the poor natives and he uses racial stereotypes (although, as I’ve said a dozen times, they’re positive, not negative).

    So, I’m hardly lamenting the fact that the “red shirts” win. I’m lamenting that the “red shirts” are presented as familiar racial stereotypes, and that (according to JC) the “red shirts” can only win because a Western white guy arose to lead them.

  24. I find most people who are finding Avatar racist are doing it to ignore the more prominent anti-military and pro-environment messages that were a part of the movie. It is easier to attack the “racist message” rather than face the more immediately relevant messages.

    Was he actually Western? This is a story who knows how many years in the future. He was Western in-so-far as he came from a planet and he was white, but there are white people not in Europe and the U.S. Was he really even White as we know it? Was his use of English merely movie magic? Would it have alleviated your racist call to arms if he had spoken in Navajo or Chinese throughout? Would you have liked the movie if you read it in subtitles instead? Would it have been better if the main character was an Aborigine?

    Other than the color of his skin, how do you even know he is Western? I watched the movie and I cannot recall anything, except stereotypes about a military mindset (which exists throughout history and is not purely a Western reality), that makes the antagonists Western. Are you telling me they are Western because some of them had whitish skin? Because they were militaristic and materialistic? Because they were corporate? Show me what makes them evil White guys.

  25. Oh, please, M. We’re talking about what an existing audience in a particular culture will make of particular signs and symbols, since (as you yourself say) all cultural works occur in a cultural context. And since you yourself point to the anti-military and pro-environment msgs (which no one is disputing — note my Fern Gully comment), clearly you’re “reading into” it, just as we all do and just as we’re supposed to. And within the cultural context this movie exists in, it’s clear that the military looks like Western, US military, it’s clear they’re speaking English, it’s clear that this is intended to be a movie about Western exploitation of native environments. You actually agree with that, so I don’t see what you’re objecting to.

    If you’ll re-read my “racist call to arms,” I think you’ll see that it’s an extremely mild and gentle criticism. If it’s a call to arms, what do you think I’m telling people to get violent about? Oh, nothing? Right. So, moderate your language, please. Plus, pointing out that the movie has a patronizing, condescending attitude toward indigent people really doesn’t make me a racist. But even discussing racism — discussing it as a subtle and pervasive evil that we need to watch out for in our culture — seems to make you very angry. I don’t know why.

    Finally, I won’t pretend to speak for the many others who find the movie’s stereotyping offensive (although I probably do) when I say that I’m not trying to avoid the movie’s anti-military and pro-environment msgs. That stuff is fine. It’s hardly so powerful that I can’t face their awesome truth. Hah. It’s trite and predictable. It’s as revolutionary and novel as Fern Gully.

    M, did this movie really open your eyes to truths about the environment or about the abuse of military power that you hadn’t known before? If it did, then I’m happy for you. I think for most people, it was at best a thrill ride, not a political education. I like thrill rides, too. Just not this one very much.

  26. David: I apologize, I misallocated your name. I was initially responding to “Dan R” not you. Not only did I double post, I misdirected it.

    Nevertheless, I stand by my earlier question – cite a story that doesn’t draw upon the world’s cultures.

    Finally, you appear to be reading anger in to my message. I am not angry, it just happens that text is rather poor at carrying tone.

    Please, moderate your own language – “patronizing” “condescending”. Those are very offensive words. I request that you avoid such inflammatory language. And I realize that is an impossible request, because those words are not inflammatory, it is the tone that is perceived by someone reading them that adds the inflammatory character.

  27. IMO, i think brooks’ opinion piece is reductive, arrogant and on some level, racist with his own perceived enlightened insight (“They are phenomenal athletes and pretty good singers and dancers.”)

    wtf? how can you present an organic, tribal culture without the said culture being organic and tribal?

    just because the script was predictable (admittedly, i was silently hoping for a “to live and die in la” ending), it doesn’t automatically make it a “white messiah” fable, especially due to the fact that we’re comparing apples (white human) and oranges (blue aliens). does it really matter that sully’s character was white? i guess if one is so honed into sully’s south boston accent, placing his “whiteness” above the fact that he’s broke — physically, emotionally and economically — and worth absolutely nothing at home as a human being, the jump to the white messiah argument is pretty simple.

    i’m actually surprised, david, that you didn’t seem to find cameron’s exploration of the transformational power of an avatar to be a highly interesting plot device, particularly with the sully character. i mean, you seem to hold it in pretty high regard when it comes to early web geeks interacting online (small pieces loosely joined) or second life interactions. i’d be highly interested in reading your take on that element of the film, because that’s where my head was throughout the 2.5 hours. yes, the plot was basic, but there were highly complex elements found throughout.

    i very much believe cameron focused too much on developing a plot that would easily fit the sequences of a same day released video game (train to be an avitar, train to be a na’vi, become a na’vi “man”, learn about the networked planet, defend the planet) rather than writing a great script, but i didn’t find the characters / culture to be “racist” on any level other than how the greed driven corporate machine treated an indigenous culture as “less than.”

    in the end, all art, good or bad, is borrowed. nothing is original, either in form or in its processing through our independent experiential lenses. as it were, cameron splashed something on canvas and we’re both standing in front of it with two different backgrounds in tow and processing it differently.

    i can live with that.

  28. Sean, the first two paragraphs of my original post (not this one) acknowledges the strength of the premise: http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/2009/12/23/james-cameron-re-films-fern-gully-but-in-3d-and-uncomfortably-near-racist/ I just wish Cameron did something interesting with it. I didn’t find “highly complex” elements. I found predictable, stereotyped elements. (Two points I thought were good in the plot: That Sully gets to walk via his avatar, and that there actually was an “explanation” of how the environment could store memories that did not rely on mystical handwaving.)

    And, while it’s true that all plots borrow from other plots, movies can be more or less original, don’t you think? And this one was way less original in its narrative and, yes, in most of its graphics (IMO).

    As for the racism, I’m down to repeating myself, which doesn’t seem helpful at this point.

    And, m, sorry I misunderstood to whom you were replying. And, yes, it is easy to misread tone, for which I apologize.

  29. My God, here we go again. The blacks are spouting off about so-called racism, and the villian in the movie isn’t even black!! Of course if you use the word ‘race’ or ‘color’ or ‘black’ in any sentence these days, the NAACP will crawl up your ass and make you apologize immediately, or face torture of the worst kind. What whitey needs is a group to call down people when they are being racist towards us. Like the SPRW (Society to Protect the Rights of Whites) or the LMWFO (Lovable White Man’s Future Organization). Of course anyone involved in such a group would be instantly accused of being White Supremacist, and either have groups of “minorities” protesting outside (they must all have tons of vacation time from work), or have the HQ destroyed by angry mobs. Either way, I’m sure Jesse and Al would be on the first plane out there. What we also need is a white magazine, like Jet or Latino is for those other groups. Oh am I degressing? Sorry. Blacks, get over it. The freedom of speech still exists, so go enjoy life. There is no racist agenda in this movie, and by the way, they should fire Harry Reid from his position as house leader. Y’all be cool.

  30. Why is it every time someone reaches out to give knowledge with culture “racist” come into play? This film isn’t racists. This film was well done on bring to the point – learn to respect. Respect one another and each others teaching. You can learn a lot from people. It’s a teaching not only taught by one culture. My personal feeling on the matter is it needs to be shown more because it’s being lost. I personally have a mixed nationality and was proud of this film weather I felt the blue people were Native American or not. I also find funny how people use “white” all the time. Really, what is white? How many people are truly 100% white. Just because you may look “white” does mean the person truly is. Using “racist” and “white” just brings out more ignorance in the world.

    Also quite reading into everything. These negative comments are just showing signs of ignorance and insecurity. Some times teaching culture difference brings more understand, obviously more knowledge and a connection between people. Isn’t that what we all want in life. Everyone to get along. How can that be if you don’t understand, learn and respect one another for who they are and how they see things.

  31. Racist? Those who think so need to look at the history of colonization. One doesn’t have to go through all the history of nations colonized during both the Elizabethan and Victorian Ages, but to look at our own! The film could easily bring historical memories of the days when the Native Indians were being colonized by different European nations. Has anyone claimed racism with films pointing to those days? And like in those days of colonization, there existed good and bad white men. Hey didn’t Pocahontas fall in love with a white man, and vice versa? So what’s so wrong about the film’s white man falling in love with the blue native? Sure this film has a theme of anti-colonization and a theme of occupying a nation for the greed of the nation’s resources. But the film does have other themes such as appreciating a new culture in terms as the good it represents and the jy of preserving nature. Guess what? I even love the near ending that seems to remind us that nature does take its course, and no advanced technology can prevent it.

    Avatar is a fabulous film as it does provoke issue discussions. Ultimately, we are the ones to decide whther human beings can ever find peace and true happiness with merely advanced technology, wars, and the gradual depletion of nature and its natural resources. . .

  32. Avatar is not racist; give me a break. Dan R. is racist (see his post above). “White man is a decling race, thank God,” and other such comments.

    Who were the foul-mouthed evil ugly people in the movie? And who were the bad guys exploiting anothers land, with complete disregard for its people? –whites. Who were the good people, in touch with nature, living in peace in their environment?– The blue Na’vi. All the white people I have talked to, kids included, think the Na’vi rock, and fantasize about being one of them. If the film is racist, which it isn’t, it is biased AGAINST whites.

    In the old days, movies portrayed the cowboys as the good guys, and the native americans as the bad guys. That was just wrong, and it taught the wrong message (and was misleading) to kids. Avatar gives the right message, showing the militaristic, nature-destroying invaders as evil, and the harmonious-with-nature natives as the good people.

    Avatar was a visual splendor, clearly showing the direction for the future of movie-making. Why do people always have to pull the racist card? If I were a blue person, I surely would not have been offended, as I was clearly portrayed in a very positive light.

  33. i think anyone who says this movie is racist is fucking dumb. their BLUE. its just a fucking sci fi movie. people are trying to make it seem like more and turn any little thing into a “race war”. this country is MOSTLY WHITE. no shit theirs gonna be a leading white guy. cmon. seriously. and the fact that he saves them, uh hello, thats every movie ever. theres a hero. so hes white. shut the fuck up. ignorant dumb assholes. pardon the language but damn, some stuff is just retarded

  34. Thanks to G. Farley for the eloquent essay. Who is Dan R., but the true racist? Blacks are so bent on making their point (let’s punish the whites for 400 years of history), that they are taking away from our opportunity to learn how to be civilized and culturally diverse. Are people not people? Are we teaching that in schools? NO. Mostly white schools are teaching ethnic diversity, while mostly black ones are teaching about “our heritage” and “our pride”. No wonder blacks hate whites so much.

  35. So what’s next? Is Star Trek “racist” because Klingons had dark skin and larger facial features? Let’s sue Roddenberry; oh wait he’s dead. Too white for his own good I suppose. BTW, Obama is half white, so he’s our President too. (Just wanted to add that). :)

  36. it wasn’t the plot that i found highly complex, it was latching onto this broken human being, in mind, body and spirit, and following his personal journey to transform on numerous levels, both through technology (the avitar) and personal relationships.

    all said, i didn’t see sully as the “white guy,” so it made the experience much more interesting.

  37. I know the answer! Will Smith should have played the hero. He seems to be pretty good with aliens. I have seen him kill quite a few though. I think it would have looked better if a black guy had saved those lovely blue aliens with the long tails! I am pleased to know that this global meaningful subject is being discussed. Thank you fellow humans.

  38. Of course Will can be the hero. You can have as many black heroes and white villians as you want, and nobody cares…. but don’t have a blue bad guy or say ‘race’. This whole uproar is a crock.

  39. Laurens Hoist you are the most smarmy racist I have ever heard from. You compare the death of millions of black Africans through a terrible epidemic to the white mans plight of declining numbers because they choose not to reproduce.You are a racist slime bucket, oh I feel real sorry for white people because they cannot figure out how to make babies. Your plight in declining numbers is called karma, whites are guilt ridden souls. that cannot face reality that they enslaved, colonized and polluted the planet, instead your culture hides beheind movies wear the white man is the hero, learn history, no white hero saved the native American. As for individual good whites yes there are many of them that is true but I think it is best for example that Americas white majority disapears like it is set to do in 2030. Every newspaper, ie U.S. A today and the New York Times is selebrating Americas new non white majority. Oh waite Laurens there is a group not celibrating America and Europes diversity, the KKK why don’t you join

  40. Really Dan r, you do a terrific job at just showing what kind of person you are. I wouldn’t even need to reply to that if it didn’t make me feel so indignant :). I’ll tell you one more time: colour doesn’t matter. But it apparantly does to you, fucking racist.

  41. Dan r and Laurens, stop it. At least take it off my site.

    The discussion is fine. The name-calling is not. My site. My rules.

  42. Wow. This is crazy. Many people on here seem to love talking about race, which is fine. I just thought maybe in today’s day and age and general higher education that race wouldn’t matter anymore. After all, we are all Homo sapiens correct? I find a lot of the anti-white comments on here both insulting and hypocritical. I thought whites were always made out to be the horrible racists.. I guess that’s not the case anymore..

    As for the topic of this discussion, I don’t see Avatar as being racist. The main issue in this movie is obvious, made more obvous by the “War for Oil” that is going on today: We cannot go to war and destroy established socieities in order to make more money! End of story. Obviously, as Cameron wrote it so the Na’vi won, he believes that we are in the wrong. Why are there no discussions about this -more current and problematic- issue?

  43. For those who do not want to see another movie where a white man is the protagonist (forget white women—THAT is another issue that no one even cares about at all)—just stick with the movies where Will Smith or Denzel Washington are saving humanity and the entire planet. The one with Washington is coming up. Go see that one. I can assure you there will be no “green ecological themes”, no “feminist themes,” no “anti-military—grab what you want” themes.
    Those who MUST have a black protagonist can follow only those type movies. And I like Will Smith and Denzel Washington. The movies didn’t seem as complex as Avatar, frankly. But they star black men.

  44. The Avatar movie is about as racist as a box of Pop Tarts.
    Anyone reading anything racist into this movie does not need to watch movies.
    And for this to make fornt page news the News Media really needs to stop.
    If you found this movie racist check your on heart there inlays the whole problem it is you.

  45. Wow – I cannot believe some of the stuff that I have read here. And it is almost scary to witness such ignorance and denial. I am an African and I in no way believe that Avatar was a racist movie. With that said, we must acknowledge that the movie was loosely – if not entirely – based on a few ethnic people (not just one) – but mostly Native Americans and, yes, Africans! And if you choose to deny either, you are fooling yourself (Davidw!). Avatar was meant to do several things, but I do not believe this foolish talk was anywhere on the list of things it was meant to inspire. If we remember the past, then we can learn from it. But there is no need to point the finger (not at this point), AND there is definitely no use denying the truth. Instead acknowledge it in order to move on from it – otherwise it will continue to be a thorn in your side (Laurens H.).

    Actually, “some people” do not love to see racism in everything. And in this case, we see our reflection as it was meant to be seen – within this beautiful love story. Please get over yourselves – if for nothing else than for your own sake. We all are not bitter, so rest your mind.

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