This Thursday, July 1st at 5pm, NAKASEC, Korean Resource Center and other Asian American and Pacific Islander groups are joining MANAA (Media Action Network for Asian Americans) to protest at Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood for the opening of “The Last Airbender” (Director M. Night Shyamalan). It was obvious enough for an 11-year-old Korean American girl from our center who first pointed out to us that this film was racist—unlike the original Saturday morning cartoon series “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” with its cast made up entirely of Asian and Inuit people, the Hollywood version features three white main characters and “Slumdog Millionaire’s” Dev Patel who is playing the villain. Dev Patel joined the cast only after Jesse McCartney dropped out from playing the role. From the start, casting notices called for “Caucasian or other ethnicities”, which primarily highlights Caucasian as the desired race to star in the film.
The “white-washing” of films and mainstream media is prevalent. For example, the film “21,” based on a true story of a MIT professor teaching his college students how to win at blackjack in Vegas was played by a white cast, when in real life, they were all Asian Americans. None of the core cast for the film “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” is of Middle Eastern descent. The main character in the “Prince of Persia” is played by none other than the white actor Jake Gyllenhaal.
Read correspondence letters between MANNA and Paramount:
1. The Last Airbender: Letter to the Producer (February 11, 2009)
2. Letter from Paramount on The Last Airbender (March 25, 2009)
3. MANAA’s response to Letter from Paramount on The Last Airbender (April 9, 2009)
We will be protesting with many children from our community who have seen the problem for themselves. Young Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders do not need to grow up discouraged and feel like they need to seek other avenues to feel proud and confident of their identity and race. This is our America that we helped build and an America we are continuing to make vibrant and dynamic. America is changing and the youth of today will not support continued whitewashing of their history, culture and community. Help us raise their voices.
The event will be a peaceful protest and we will not keep anyone from going inside the theatre. Nonetheless, we will make our voices heard. We want a large crowd for the cameras, to be interviewed and to be covered on the 6pm news.
What: Protest against “white-washing” of mainstream projects/”The Last Airbender” by M. Night Shyamalan
When: Thursday, July 1st Meet at KRC @4pm, Protest starts @ 5pm
Where: Meeting location- Korean Resource Center 900 S. Crenshaw Blvd. LA, CA 90019 Protest Location-Arclight Cinerama Dome. 6360 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA
For those interested and leaving from another location, please contact us for parking and other info.