Demand Cultural Representation & Age Appropriation in Netflix's ATLA-Live Action Series

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After the announcement of Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino's departure from the production of the Avatar the Last Airbender live-action series, fans are fuming to find that the ideas Bryan and Mike brought to the table will not be on-screen and the opposite of what they've envisioned for this series. 

As we all know, all the characters in the series are either Asian or Inuit, an indigenous culture. We fear that the casting of the live-action will lack proper cultural representation, and we DEMAND that all the cast members are properly representing their character's origins; for instance, the cast members for Katara and Sokka MUST be Native, not white but NATIVE. Casting WHITE people in the series will render the original series and ruin the entire ATLA live-action, as seen with the horrible ATLA movie back in 2010 by M. Night Shyamalan. 

Because of this, more and more BIPOCs (black, indigenous, person of color) voice out their insights and concerns on the awfully veiled cultural inaccuracies that the show provided, as well as the subtle insensitivity toward certain subjects  (Lake Laogai, Tibetan genocide) and promotion of harmful stereotypes (Arab/Muslim barbarians, etc). 

The show is problematic as it is, but in light of Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino’s decision to leave and not take part in the project, despite working on it for two years, we fear that the show is going to be butchered even worse, and could lead to microaggressions in real life, and contribute to racial injustices because people fail to see minorities as real people with real voices. 

Perhaps one has thought that it could be in better hands, but Konietzko expressed on his Instagram post that his and DiMartino’s decision is due to the negative and unsupportive work environment, and then later on implied that what Netflix wants weren’t in line with the spirit and integrity of Avatar. Although they had mistakes, to mess with the essence of the show would be a greater downgrade than Shyamalan’s infamous Avatar disaster.

Next, we demand that the characters' age is age-appropriate, as seen in the animated series. These characters are MINORS and shouldn't be aged up to sexualize them. It is not okay to age the characters to fit the casting's ideal image, and we DEMAND that the cast members fit their actual age in the series. 

Next, we demand that there are NO colonizer/colonized romance in the live-action series. Pairing any fire nation members with other nations is wrong because it fits the colonizer/colonized dynamic, which is extremely offensive towards Native individuals. This dynamic reflects on Native people's history where a lot of Native individuals were stolen/taken away from their tribes by colonizers to harm them. It is a harmful stereotype that indigenous people deal with constantly, and we NEED to listen to their voices and inputs to properly represent them.