Problems with Avatar

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Emma Mehnert, Web-Editor

The new Avatar movie has struck a lot of controversy. Not only are there mixed reviews on it, but many people have come out saying that the film is racist due to its “white savior” narrative. 

An Indigenous influencer, Asdzáá TI’éé Hona’éí, made a post on Twitter that described her thoughts and opinions on the movie. She explains that “[indigenous] cultures were appropriated in a harmful manner to satisfy some [white] man’s savior complex. No more blue face!”

This racist savior complex is when a group of struggling non-white characters are helpless and can only be saved by one or many white characters. 

Another statement made by another Indigenous influencer, Autumn Asher BlackDeer, asked her followers “[w]hy watch a ridiculous movie about blue aliens when you could just support actual Indigenous people and our struggle for clean water here on Earth?”

Many of the actors playing the Na’vi, who are a representation of Indigenous people, are played by white actors, which is also problematic because white actors portraying non-white characters is always an issue, even if in this case they’re blue aliens. It would be better for POC actors to be cast as these roles because many can relate to some of the struggles of these characters.

Other Indigenous people have disagreed, however, saying that this movie is “versatile enough for the general public to swallow the big pill of talk around colonization”. The divide continues.

Wherever one’s stance is on this topic, it is important to respect different opinions and take others’ feelings into consideration.