January 12, 2010

Avatar & Racist Message?

Avatar has now thrilled millions of people around the world with its amazing effects and rousing story. But many people, even some who enjoyed the film, also have questions how "White Guilt" issues play out in the story, and whether the movie in some ways has a racist message.

Most of the criticism isn't really calling it "racist," but making the valid point that it continues certain patterns in Hollywood movies, in the way they show white people interacting with other cultures. Especially that when white people in a movie want to become an ally of another group, they somehow wind up becoming not just an honorary member, but they become that group's greatest member ever! Just like Tom Cruise in Last Samurai becomes their leader and best warrior, the white human star of Avatar becomes the blue people's greatest warrior ever and almost like their new king.

Which is not to say it wasn't still a great movie! But we should be able to enjoy it, and consider the messages in it at the same time. And for people who say "can't you just enjoy it for what it is?" -What it is, is a movie that has lots of messages and themes in it. They made it that way on purpose. Taking time to think about the messages they put in it is taking the movie for what it is!

Avatar & Racist Message?

Whether Avatar is racist is a matter for debate. Regardless of where you come down on that question, it's undeniable that the film - like alien apartheid flick District 9, released earlier this year - is emphatically a fantasy about race. Specifically, it's a fantasy about race told from the point of view of white people. Avatar and scifi films like it give us the opportunity to answer the question: What do white people fantasize about when they fantasize about racial identity? Avatar imaginatively revisits the crime scene of white America's foundational act of genocide..

Avatar & Racist Message?

Posted at January 12, 2010 11:45 AM