The Movie Avatar & Colonialism || Avatar Remix and Representations of the Other


Summary:  The caption below this YouTube video remix by Craig Saddlemire and Ryan Conrad describes it as highlighting “
the overplayed 
racial 
tropes 
of 
Hollywood 
cinema 
using James 
Cameron’s 
multimillion‐dollar 
epic 
Avatar as 
its visual 
anchor.” The clip works as a “
media
 literacy 
tool 
for 
deconstructing how whiteness and Other-ness are 
portrayed 
in 
mainstream 
films 
about humanitarian crises,” and I would add, colonialism. The clip draws footage from seventeen different films, all of which tell the same narrative about a white protagonist’s encounter with the “Other.” It would work well as a means of beginning a class discussion on media representations and especially those which pertain to race and ethnicity. By taking footage from so many different films, the clip is able to give students a sense of how ubiquitous and deeply resonant the representations associated with this narrative are. Instructors can encourage students to consider that the story is consistently told from the white colonizer’s perspective, and in each story, a “native,” or person of color, plays the so-called “magical negro” role. This is a character in fiction, typically woven into the story to further the self-discovery of the white protagonist. The magical negro can be seen as a variant of the much older ideal of the “noble savage.”

MrMary’s Comments

images (1)I have talked about this quite often on the blog in some way shape or form. There are racist and imperialistic attitudes and proclivities that are deeply lodged in the American as well as European mind-set.  I was a bit amazed that it was so obvious displayed in Avatar. Tell me what you think about this

4 thoughts on “The Movie Avatar & Colonialism || Avatar Remix and Representations of the Other

  1. This reminds me of “District 9” Brilliant movie about Aliens who arrive on Earth and are kept in camps, imprisoned.
    We do it to our own people.. Brilliant blog. And the meaning shouldn’t get lost on anyone..

    Like

  2. This explains so well why I likes that movie while at the same time was sad about what it portrayed.
    Agree on colonialism and the “need” yo conquer.
    It doesn’t matter which color …. Powerful over powerless natives. History repeats itself. We never learn.

    Like

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