Critics Slam 'White Messiah' Avatar as Racist

Director accused of perpetuating colonial stereotypes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2010 2:58 AM CST

(Newser) Avatar employs cutting-edge technology but its storyline is outdated and racist, say critics outraged on behalf of the movie's fictional race of blue-skinned aliens. By having a white American rescue the race, it perpetrates the "white Messiah" myth and suggests non-whites can't help themselves, say critics, including David Brooks at the New York Times who calls it "a racial fantasy par excellence."

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The accusations don't seem to have slowed Avatar's surge toward record ticket sales, the Telegraph notes. Director James Cameron firmly denies any racist intent. The movie "asks us to open our eyes and truly see others, respecting them even though they are different, in the hope that we may find a way to prevent conflict and live more harmoniously on this world," he said. "I hardly think that is a racist message." (Read more Avatar (film) stories.)

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