Monday, December 28, 2009

Race Card Strip Poker

Nate decided to download the movie Avatar off the internet,
(therefore the movie was stripped of all its CG grandeur that has glamored the
unsuspecting masses), and I watched bits and pieces of the film that reinforced
the basic reasons why i resisted watching the film in the first place.
(I do have to admit that Michelle Rodergize kicked some major ass!)

Sure I laughed at ridiculous nature of the "going native"
premise that was a clear cookie cutter plotline from Dances with Wolves.
We also rolled our eyes and sighed with utter contempt and frustration at the
romanticized Pocahontas/John Smith relationship between Jake and Neytiri.

I can go one and on about how painful this movie was to watch. One of my friends
warned me not to watch it because he said I would be pulling the "race card" through
out the whole movie. The "race card" term, to me, seems to be a cop out explanation
to blame someone or something on race rather than taking personal responsibility for
a specific situation. To me, the "race card" also means to see certain things that
don't exist and that are not there in the first place.

To me, I saw some things about this film that comes from my personal background
as a Native American. There is a history and a culture that I can not strip myself from when I walk into a movie theater. When I watch movies like Avatar, Indian in the Cupboard, or Dances with Wolves, I see a portrayal of my ethnic group that I know is pure BS. I can't help that and I am not trying to pull the "race card" when I see something that others do not.

I don't know if that makes sense, but watching movies like Avatar and other
stereotypical, alien, or archaic portrayals of Natives really makes me sick. I really
can't explain it, and I know this is just my own personal opinion, because there
are many Natives out there who have no problem with these films.

Anyhow, A fiend of mine said that Avatar reminded him of me, most likely because I am his only Native fiend. Am I that stereotypical? LOL. It never occurred to me that I am that token Native friend for many people! LOL. Righteous!


skellyable said...

Hey, I totally get it. One of the benefits of being masters of the universe is you get to retell the story in such a way where you get to be hero. What stories would a filmmaker have to tell if not for these epic fairytales?
I'm also native and yet forked out my dinero to see this movie and enjoyed it. I also refuse to feel bad about enjoying it. I knew all along that it is pure mythology. We all do. Even my 13 year old son walked out understanding it was a "total rip-off" of our culture. I'm still willing to see past all that bullsh*t and exploitation to find a good underlying message that needs to be packaged with CGI sugar for most to get it, if they get it at all.
1. If we don't change things now, by 2154 our planet will be dead and we will be at the mercy of corporations.
2. The value of our natural world is not visible like Pandora, but it is there.
There was another stuck in there I find it hard to miss.
3. We would have won if we had somehow united all tribes and been 20 feet tall and blue. So, clearly the state of our planet in 2154 will be our fault, too.
Anyway, let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Anonymous said...

I can understand how you feel and not every Native feels the same. I know it was very uneasy for some people to watch it and some it doesn't I guess it just depends on how much you willing to see into these things.

crownless said...

Pride is ok, but dont be that serious!