My final thoughts (because, you know, my first post wasn't long enough) on the defenses and excuses made for the casting decisions and the perceived proper whiteness of the characters themselves:
1) If they truly do believe that these characters ARE WHITE, then what does it say that everything else about these characters and their environments are Asian/Inuit/generally non-western? Do they not see how insulting that is in and of itself IF that were true?? "All Asian setting--all white people!" Why do they believe that's a defensible, and preferable, canon?
2) If they don't believe they are any particular set of races that could correspond to ours IRL, but understand that due to the roughly homogenous appearance of each respective nation in the Avatar-'verse that certain casting choices MUST be made to reflect that in a live-action version, here's the thing: If the entire culture of the nations are broadly Asian or Inuit, shouldn't the burden of proof be on THEM to make a really good case for why on earth these people should be white? Why is the burden of proof on US to make the argument that the people in a broadly non-white culture should be, well, NON-WHITE?
Finally, a roundup of posts, ranging from the introspective to the proactive:
glockgal: Reactions to common defensive/dismissing/condescending/uninf
I'm glad you think it's just a movie. Must be really nice to have such a life where you don't feel discrimination, and therefore cannot possibly conceive how it must feel to have something that clearly celebrates multiculturalism taken away from you. Great! Just don't tell me to 'chill out' because I'm angry. I can make my voice heard and I want to entreat others as well.
aang_aint_white: Saving the World with Postage: Why this is worth doing, how to write your letter and where to send it, tips, example letter, what to do after you've sent your letter.
tablesaw: Fear of a Black (Fantasy) Planet: Revisits old discussions on how our own cultural perceptions affect what we "see".
The revelation caused some shock among the Ojousaw household because of, you know, the racism. ojouchan was particularly upset yesterday. She's worried about our children, who will be brown, and who will look to the few characters who look like them, then wonder why they get changed to look like the people who don't. She's worried about her niece, who recently told her momma, "My favorite color is going to be brown, because that's what color my skin is, and nobody likes it." She's only four.
peri_peteia: It's offensive. No, really.
I do not need Hollywood or marketing or network and studio executives explained to me, believe me, I understand all of these things very well. Each and every one of these things is completely irrelevant to and has no bearing on the fact that it is offensive to go: LULZ WELL IT JUST HAPPENS TO BE A CULTURALLY, LINGUISTICALLY, AND SPIRITUALLY ASIAN CULTURE POPULATED ENTIRELY BY WHITE PEOPLE FLUENT IN CHINESE XD XD XD!
vagabondsal: Angry Asian Man: A break-up, of sorts. Why it's more than just a movie/series.
They loved and honored east Asian culture (clarified, as pan-Asian is not what the show was), so they set out to share that love and that respect. Why was every speculative world out there set in a vaguely European world, anyway? We don't have to subscribe to Eurocentricism. We don't have to acknowledge the tyranny of the default. We don't have to do things that way, so we won't. We'll be diverse and inclusive and our show will be all the more awesome for it.
Nenena: On character design "neutrality" (something animu fans have probably heard before):
In the Avatar world, the default state of characters is some sort of fantasy Asian ethnicity; they’re obviously not white. But because they don’t need to be contrasted to white people (there are no white people!), they don’t need to be drawn with explicitly racial markings, either. And some people see the characters drawn without stereotypical racial markings and assume that they must be white, because the default is always white.