Tiktok User; Jessica Genadry should not be casted in Netflix’s A:TLA Series

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Jessica Genadry made a viral tiktok about why she should play Katara in Netflix’s upcoming live action series, Avatar: The Last Airbender, she claimed she was a triple threat because of her skill in acting, martial arts, and the fact that she’s Vietnamese. While the first two are very impressive, here’s the problem; Katara isn’t Asian. Which, inherently, means that she’s now only a double threat. After being informed of Katara’s Inuit heritage and culture and having people suggest she perhaps plays Suki or a Kyoshi Warrior, she made a video that came off as very dismissive of the criticism. We all know how much backlash the film got because the girl who played Katara was not indigenous and how important representation is in general but particularly to underrepresented Natives. Genadry basically said, “ I think representation is important, unless it’s a role I want - which by the way, is a fictional one in a world where race doesn’t matter. “ If that were true, then why did she think being Vietnamese/Asian make her a threat when she wasn’t aware of Katara’s actual ethnicity? And while very few of her points she made in the video held merit, that doesn’t dismiss the fact that Katara is Inuit. She also responded to the suggestions to play Suki by saying she just doesn’t look like her, well, she also just doesn’t look like Katara. I personally think that because of her response, she shouldn’t be featured in the series at all. And while she might be “only” 19 and may not know better, I don’t think that’s an excuse because I’m younger and I certainly do. I understand how Katara as a character really made my native friends feel represented when we were younger and we just don’t appreciate how dismissive she is of that. And I also understand how people of color are not interchangeable, and I’m speaking as a person of color. I mean, let me help put it into perspective. Imagine if the water tribe members were black and the cast who played them weren’t? It wouldn’t be okay and neither is what Jessica said. Despite Katara being the role she wants the most; Jessica intends to audition for any role she can and my friends and I wouldn’t want anyone this insensitive in a series as inclusive as A:TLA.