So me and Darcy agreed that the blog should probably be called The Laziest Girls You know, because Dancing Shadow is the only one among us who remembers to update occasionally.
This is more of a linkspam and not a full fledged post because other people have already talked about this more in depth and with much more nuance and insightful criticism than I could manage (since my reaction to this is to go into a rage blackout and pull out the uncontrollable strangly hands), but check out Racebending on the whitewashing of Avatar: The Last Airbender. (One of my favorite parts--in which "favorite" means "rage inducing"--is that Jason Rathebone, the actor portraying Sokka, says that to prepare for the role he just needs to get a "tan." Because, you know, the Inuit are just white people with a dark tan!)
I've talked a little about whitewashing here before, mainly in regards to the graphic novel adaption of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, in which the Black Friars, who in the book and the miniseries were black, magically became white.
Whitewashing is not just limited to Hollywood (although they are some of the worst offenders), but is popping up everywhere: books, comics, tv, pretty much in all of popular culture. This isn't, sadly, a new phenomenon, but at this point in time it's infuriating that Hollywood is convinced no one will see a movie without a white hero, because we all know us white poeple can't connect with a character unless they have the same skin color as us!
In the same vein, check out this for a time line of RaceFail '09.
For those of you who weren't around, this was the lj implosion involving science-fiction/fantasy book community and diversity that started up in January '09. While the initial conversation sort of...exploded, what came out of it, for the most part, was a lot of really needed discussion and criticism and analysis.
While maybe the initial controversy that kick started this discussion is past, the conversation is in no way dropped, nor should it be. If anything, the casting of The Last Airbender showed us that this activism regarding diversity and representations of people and characters of color and the whitewashing thereof is absolutely vital for our culture.
ETA: So I am made of fail. In the comments I said the Water Tribe was influenced by the Inuit and referenced "the indigenious population of Greenland." Darcy pointed out how that was confusing and I apologized for the inaccurarcies. To clarify, Greenland's population consits of nearly 90% of Inuit heritage. Therefore I was inaccurate in both my original comment and then the failed and also inaccuarate apology.