People are calling for others to boycott Avatar: The Way of Water because it’s ‘racist’

Charisa Bossinakis

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People are calling for others to boycott Avatar: The Way of Water because it’s ‘racist’

Featured Image Credit: 20th Century Studios

People are calling for others to boycott Avatar: The Way of Water, accusing the film of being 'racist'.

As the sequel centres around extraterrestrial humanoids called the Na'vi, who live on the fictional planet of Pandora, it’s no secret the film is an analogy for colonisation.

And while the first film copped criticism over its white saviour storyline, NPR reports, James Cameron’s past comments have landed the franchise into hot water... again.


During a 2010 interview with The Guardian, Cameron said: "I felt like I was 130 years back in time watching what the Lakota Sioux might have been saying at a point when they were being pushed and they were being killed and they were being asked to displace and they were being given some form of compensation.

"This was a driving force for me in the writing of Avatar— I couldn't help but think that if [the Lakota Sioux] had had a time-window and they could see the future… and they could see their kids committing suicide at the highest suicide rates in the nation… because they were hopeless and they were a dead-end society—which is what is happening now—they would have fought a lot harder."

Credit: 20th Century Fox
Credit: 20th Century Fox

As his comments began resurfacing all over the internet in the wake of the sequel’s release, the United American Indians of New England (UAINE) accused the director of ‘victim blaming’ indigenous people back in 2010.

They wrote: "I already had no use for Avatar movies.

"But WTF with the racist victim-blaming comments from the white saviour a**hole director James Cameron, such as this one calling Lakota society ‘dead-end’ and saying 19th century ancestors should have somehow 'fought a lot harder'.

Another user shared: "It's white saviour-ism wrapped up in fake sympathy. Just another guy looking to exploit something he doesn't understand."

While another chimed in: "Yes. If the indigenismo in Avatar 1 wasn’t racist enough, maybe what Cameron said about the Lakota will make folks think twice before watching. Stay woke."

In response to the film’s racist and cultural appropriation accusations, Cameron said he was open to listening to the feedback.

He told UNILAD exclusively: "The people who have been victimised historically are always right. It's not up to me, speaking from a perspective of white privilege, if you will, to tell them that they're wrong.

"I have to listen. I have to say, 'Okay, if that's what you're feeling, that's what you're feeling.' And it has validity.

"It's pointless for me to say, 'Well, that was never my intention.'"

Cameron went on to tell us how the sequel moves away from the 'white saviour motif', adding: "Jake is just a father, he's part of the tribe, he's much more submissive in a way.

Credit: 20th Century Studios/ FlixPix / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: 20th Century Studios/ FlixPix / Alamy Stock Photo

"When he shows up to the Metkayina as a refugee and says 'take us in', he's not running things. He doesn't want to run things."

Discussing the cultural appropriation critique, the filmmaker acknowledged the mistakes from the past and said: "We're trying to create our own indigenous cultures, and see them and how they express themselves through their art, through their weaving, through their clothing, hairstyles, everything else.

"We try to draw from everything so we kind of average it out and we're not extracting from any individual culture without their permission.

"But still, it's a tricky, tricky thing, and there may be people that object."

Topics: Film & TV, Film and TV, News, James Cameron, Racism, Social Media

Charisa Bossinakis
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