"Stars don’t just happen out of thin air, Hollywood helps make them. This was an opportunity to give the chance to some Asian kids to become stars for the future generation and we missed it."
-Dante Basco, voice actor for Zuko in the original cartoon (read his entire thoughts HERE).I rarely like to call out others on "racefail" as I think it is an extremely difficult and tricky thing with many layers which is easy to be guilty of (especially for creators). Honestly, I've been guilty of it myself.
And, honestly, I don't actually think M. Night is a racist (in fact I really hesitate to call anyone that, like I said I think racism is tricky thing). In a way, I'm just jumping on this racist label bandwagon because it calls attention to the whole thing. Because people have argued that it's a fantasy, that why would the characters have to be Asian? It's anime which has "ambiguous facial features." That is true and I agree. Just like Dorothy, who didn't need to be white when I wanted to play her in 5th grade, these characters don't have to be Asian.
But it really would've been nice.
There are so few opportunities for Asians to be seen in the media, to be stars--this was such an obvious one. The Last Airbender's mythology is based in Asian tradition...when Asians can't even play lead roles in movies where the content is based on their heritage, it's a shame. It's an opportunity wasted.
Boycott or not boycott? Well, I was on the fence but hearing that the movie was really bad, anyway, pushed me over. If I do see the movie, it might be one of the few times I consider doing the illegal and watch a pirated download. Because the movie industry isn't racist either. They only see the color green and not paying seems to be the only way to make them listen. If this movie succeeds, it's easy for the studio to interpret that Asian stars are not needed or wanted. Because, while no one "owes us" to put Asians in movies, it seems like not paying is the only way to show them we want to be in them. To say, Hey, we're over here! We exist and we want to be seen too!
But, it makes me sad.