Some see racist theme in alien adventure 'Avatar'?

Do you really think that Avatar has racist theme ? I found this statement on the yahoo home page. I know is does state that a small group see it this way. But really? I saw the movie and must have seen a different movie than " the small group ".. I don't know what do you think ?

11 Answers

  • Steve
    Lv 5
    10 years ago
    Best Answer

    1. First, Jake Sully if anything hurts the Navi. Jake fails to focus on negotiations and instead simply enjoys the adventure, he fails to warn the Navi, and he mucks things up by creating a rally of Navi which brings about a large attack on them. Jakes actions are less about defending the Navi and more about exacting retribution. And when it comes down to it, actually Ewya, the moon or God himself, comes to the rescue before as the entire Navi tribes are nearly wiped out. Without Ewya, Jake, and everyone else would not have made it.

    2. Second, the movie also portrayed a Latina, an Indian, and an African American in heroic roles defending the Navi. The character Trudy Chacon, played by Michelle Rodriguez, is a character with a Hispanic name played by an American with Dominican parents. It's not like anyone is suggesting that the "latina" saved the Navi. Actually Rodriguez's character was more powerful in some ways. First, she didn't need 4 months living with the Navi seeing life through their eyes, and the love of a beautiful native to convince her to respect other races. She quickly identified right from wrong, and unlike Jake Sully, she died for her beliefs. Then there's Dr Max Patel, an Indian actor, who also joins to save the Navi. Dr Patel seems to lack any possible skill to fight but nevertheless goes up against marines and an entire security force without ever having met a Navi. Again, we don't hear about how the depiction of a altruistic and heroic "Indian" is an example of racism. Then there's private Fike, played by the African American actor Sean Moran, who also joined the Sigourney Weaver's coalition (not Jake Sulley's) to protect the Navi. And then there is Norm Spellman, played by Joel David Moore, who respected the Navi before even arriving on the moon, which was a 5 year journey.

    I believe Cameron made these character castings from diverse ethnic and racial groups deliberately to show that the movie is not about race but rather about respecting others, choosing right from wrong, and the process that different people go through to reach that epiphany to make the right choices. For Jake it took the whole movie, for Trudy it took one bad order, for Dr Patel it took the indignation of his colleagues, and for Norm it happened so early on we don’t even know why.

    2. Second, the movie is much like Titanic. In Titanic we have this beautiful cinematography capturing the elegance and beauty of the ultimate ship. It's this greed coupled with technology that sets the stage for a tale of a ship that is unsinkable sinking due to blind arrogance.

    But as we witness this tragedy unfold we watch it through a love story. It's not any love story, in Titanic; Cameron has a high class woman due to marry give up her future to be with a pauper, a common boy. We see strong social conflict, and in many ways Cameron seems to show the rich as stuffy, boring, corrupt, and greedy. We even see the mother and others criticize and fight Kate Winslets Character for choosing a man so socially different it’s like they are from different worlds. Yet Kate see’s Leonardo for what’s on the inside, his knack for adventure, and his passion for life even though she couldn’t stand him from the beginning.

    And in Avatar, we see the same thing. We see beautiful cinematography showing an amazing world. Yet at the same time despite massive technology the humans still which to achieve "UNOBTANIUM". We have a woman from a world where she is destined to be a Queen choose to be with a man from another world. And like in Titanic, she doesn’t even like Jake Sully when they first meet. But again she see’s Jake for what’s inside, his knack for adventure and his passion for life. In fact, she almost murdered Jake Sully simply because he was of a different race. We see the characters are greedy, apathetic, judgmental, and fail to respect others rights.

    3. While it’s quick to for some to cry foul when a “white man” saves the native population. No one seems to be crying foul depicting white men destroy a culture. Imagine, if the movie depicted the company headed by an arab and the security chief and Jake Scully clearly as Arabs. Would critics cry that the movie is racist for having an Arabs save the native population or would they call the producers racist for casting the leadership as heartless, cold, and greedy casting further negative stereotypes against Arabs and Muslims in general. Funny, how it’s not racist to show evil white men but it is racist to show a white man who can choose good over evil.

    4. Even the Navi have trouble respecting the humans from the onset, with the female princess planning to kill Jake Sully for the sake of killing him. It's not even the Navi who spare his life, but rather "Mother Nature", an actual living interconnected world, that spares his life. Cameron even makes the planet literally alive, not just figuratively, to make this point clear the planet or God saw past the race.

    5. Outside of the theater, while so many African American and Native American Groups cry out that this is a racist movie there is a bigger yet related issue occurring. Right now Native American Indian groups are tackling big issues. For example over 150 years ago many tribes had black slaves. After slavery ended on the reservations the former black slaves were allowed to stay, often doing the same job for little pay. Many stayed because they had no money and nowhere to go. Over 8 generations later many of their direct decedents (now mixed from relations with Native Indians) have known no life off the reservation. Yet, several tribes have been evicting the descendents now that those tribes are receiving huge casino revenues and profits.…

    6. To me the movie is a masterpiece because it touches heavy on the idea of respect of others, seeing beyond their skin, despite differences. It shows a spirit of brotherhood while clearly identifying the fight against good and evil. But most of all, I find it ironic that some would criticize Avatar for being racist because they themselves see not a beautiful 9 foot tall blue alien named Jake Sully, but the soul of a white man inside, and nothing else. And perhaps it’s not that Jake is part of the effort to save the Navi, but that he is so well accepted and akin in adapting to life with the Navi—by the end of the movie the Navi see him as one of them and not as a being from another world. If only the Cherokee Indians could see the descendents of slaves living amongst them as their neighbors instead of as outsides who should be kicked off their own land.

  • 10 years ago

    There is definitely a theme of an "us" vs. "them" which can be interpreted as racism because racism occurs when people see a group as inferior because of their differences. Some of the people in the movie saw the inhabitants of Pandora as inferior, because they were not human. I do not think that the movie supports racism in any way, because those racist people end up having a grim fate...

    Think of it in terms of Pocahontas, the Disney movie. When the English settlers meet the natives, some English men are racist and see the natives to be inferior, but then again, others like John Smith see the natives as more than "the others." He sees their intelligence and their humanity.

    So yeah, I don't think Avatar is racist, but I think it definitely touches on racist themes and one of its goals is to show viewers that groups should not be targeted just because they are different. Good moral! Well, hope this helps!

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Honestly I think that people are thinking way too deep into this. Even if you even hint at racial differences in any movie there is always a huge uproar even though it wasn't meant to be racist but just to show cultural differences. I am so annoyed with people who can't just sit down and enjoy movies for what they really are. It is obvious that the message of the movie is that we need to all live harmoniously, coexist with the natural world, and to respect all people no matter who they are. Those critics are tearing apart a moving and powerful movie for their own little nit-picking comments that have absolutely no relevance to this film whatsoever.

  • 10 years ago

    I didn't see anything racist about it. Some people read into things too much and take it the wrong way. Maybe I'm deaf/blind but I seen a whole different story, not anything racist. The movie was more like a good vs evil thing (I don't want to go into detail, I don't want to spoil it for anybody)

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Hmm i think it was more patriotic than racist. Im african-american and honestly i didnt see anything racist about the film. I think people are just over-reacting. Yes they used mainly colored actors to play the aliens but if the aliens were identical to humans than they wouldnt be considered "aliens" in our view. Anyways i think people are just hating James Cameron film is being so succesful. Props to the man! This is one of the few films i actually worship.

  • 3 years ago

    Yeah, yet Avatar is racist. those pathetic ***** human beings (Senator Reid's term for blacks) necessary a white guy to save them, because of the fact they have been too inept to combat decrease back against their white oppressors. It in simple terms is a racist action picture. yet worse than that, it replaced into boring. 2 hours of the comparable stuff lower back and lower back and yet lower back.

  • 10 years ago

    The racism, or perhaps a better term is racial subtext, is obvious if you're sensitive to the history/oppression of people of color in America and thus, familiar with 20th century Hollywood referents to its reality. In Avatar, the beautiful blue Na'vi boldly carry those referents into the future...

    Cameron's vision employs the same ol', same ol' White Man as Hero/Savior (of the "savages") script. Back in the day, the White Man Hero used to be a given in film. We all accepted it as natural because we were taught via superficially innocuous movie images that white men just naturally are superior to everyone who is not, thus we accepted without thought, or comment movies with Old West and Tarzan narratives, or any movie with people of color in subservient, non-authoritative roles because of course, those movies had nothing to do with race per se, they only showed the way things were (as perceived by the majority). Simple. Natural.

    Here in our critical thinking/ubiquitous information age, however, those old concepts no longer apply. For example, it is not as realistically acceptable as it once might have been that no African American actors were hired to occupy strong, pivotal roles in Avatar's human world, but conversely, show up all over the place in the alien Na'vi jungle-parallel world. In addition, although the Na'vi are referred to directly as savages only by the "bad white guys," they are nevertheless presented precisely that way by Cameron. Sure, they have a spiritual connection with the planet, but they lack technological knowledge, which -- apparently -- makes them weak and unintelligent and easily victimized and manipulated, as illustrated by Jake Sully. (WARNING! SPOILER FOLLOWS) Despite the fact that he has lied to them by withholding his true purpose for being with them, the devastated, newly widowed Na'vi queen nevertheless begs him to help them fight those bad humans! Apparently, the Na'vi are not smart enough to figure out how to strategize to fight humans without the help of the one lone (lying) white man in their presence. At the very least, Sully could have partnered with a smart fight-wise Na'vi and they could have worked on a joint defense (Sully being the "human" consultant).

    A few years ago, no one would have raised a fuss about the subtext of a sci-fi movie, of all things! Perhaps the reason for this focused attention is that Cameron presented Avatar on such a beautifully, technologically huge platform, he's made his very literal and richly anachronistic racial subtext impossible to miss! Furthermore, the fact that this question did come up on Yahoo today, or that there is a dialogue about it at all, is telling. It leads me to believe that the "small group" that is criticizing is not all that small...

    Besides its revolutionary high-tech graphic advances, it looks like Avatar will also shine for years as a multimillion dollar race-in-cinema history lesson! Bravo on both counts!

    Source(s): Personal experience as a born-in-the-USA citizen and an uncommon love of movies!
  • Lana
    Lv 4
    10 years ago

    I haven't even seen the movie and I think their reasons for it being racist are ridiculous.

  • 10 years ago

    James never struck me as the kind of guy who has an axe to grind, but yuo can find whatever youwant if you look for it

  • 10 years ago

    Honestly people need to stop nit-picking at such stupid little things. I don't think it had anything to do with racism. People just like to complain.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    i think that people are reading way too much into it. its just a movie made to make money and for peoples entertainment.

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