Real Reel soapbox: The ‘Avatar’ racism debate

Brought to my attention a few weeks after ‘Avatar’ was released, I used my better judgment and decided against speaking on the subject.  Now six weeks later, the subject of  “racism in Avatar” is still festering and now I’m annoyed by it. Good thing I run a blog with a weekly soapbox entry, otherwise who else would I rant to?

For starters, as much as I appreciate the watchfulness of viewers and critics alike, is it absolutely necessary to cry racism at every turn?  I can guarantee 100 percent that a racial subtext was not James Cameron’s intention, nor was it that of his predominately ‘non-white’ cast.  Which included Zoe Saldana, who in my opinion doesn’t seem like the type of person who would blatantly participate in a racist film to advance her career. But that’s just me.

Many claims have stated that ‘Avatar’ follows the same formula of African Americans and other ‘non white’ cultures needing the white man to come and rescue them. The same thing was also said about ‘The Blind Side’, but that’s another post for another day. My response to that is, if after almost three hours of sitting in the theater you walked away deeming that it was ‘racist’, what film were you watching? If you are going to argue anything, argue the fact that ‘Avatar’ is pretty much Pocahontas in 3D.  But deeming it racist??  I think that is taking it too far, to say the least.

A good friend of mine who has seen ‘Avatar’ a record amount of times put it best when she said, “I think it was an accurate depiction of modern society; the references of African and Indian were more symbolic than racist.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Another friend stated that ‘people need to stop thinking that racism and slavery are the central force of life,” and then he proceeded to tell me not to get him started on the subject. Quite frankly I wish I had.

Putting it out there, I’m a young black woman and honestly during my viewing experience I saw nothing racist about ‘Avatar.’  If anything, Jake Sully wanted to be like the Na’vi’s moreso than rescue them.  My perception of ‘Avatar’ was that it mirrored the history of the white settlers and the Indians. And it also mirrored ‘Fern Gully’ and the story itself literally put me to sleep. But again, that’s just me.

Maybe I’m too young to understand or maybe I’m just smart enough to know when to pick my battles.  But why live in a constant state of oppression when I don’t have to? Its a movie!  Meant for entertainment value; its not something that requires the energy of picking apart for racial undertone. There is power in thought just as there is power in words;  so by submitting to the notion that ‘Avatar’ is racist, it would be me giving the ideology power.

I could go on about the topic but to be honest I’m getting a bit of a headache. However I would love to hear what you guys have to say on the subject because, of course, this is just MY opinion on the matter.

Sound off!!


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