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Who does whitewashing hurt?

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Ellen Oh, a Korean-American writer, is one of many people who've blogged about the shameful whitewashing of the cast of M. Night Shyamalan's forthcoming movie The Last Airbender (based on the TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender, which btw has nothing to do with the movie Avatar).

Ms. Oh's oldest (ten-year-old) daughter read the Airbender blog entry, which led to a conversation about racism.

Sample:

Oldest - You said that as long as I study hard and get a good education, then I can be anything I want, but that's not true is it.

Me - It is true, why would you say otherwise?

Oldest - Because when I grow up I want to be an actor, but how can I when they won't give me a chance? If they'd rather have whites be Asian characters then what is left for me?

So, who does whitewashing hurt? I'll tell you who:

It hurts kids.

(Among other people.)

I normally don't make "think of the children" arguments. But Ms. Oh's post is heartbreaking.

If you haven't heard about the Airbender whitewashing, here's a good starting point, on the Racebending website. See also the racebending Facebook group.

And if you have a Netflix subscription, you can watch episodes of the original TV series online. It's fun, and the episodes are short.

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