Welcome to this weekâ€™s supporter spotlight!
Every Wednesday, weâ€™ll be spotlighting a different member of the community. We all believe in working to cure ignorance and celebrate the many faces of America â€“ and the world. Now each week, youâ€™ll have the opportunity to learn about other people in our network of supporters, who hail from all over the United States and across over fifty countries of the world.
Today weâ€™re learning about Racebending.com supporters Carolyn Lee and Jennifer Gutierrez – the women behind Remodelminority.com.
1. Who are you?
C: Iâ€™m Carolyn Lee.
J: Iâ€™m Jennifer Gutierrez.
2. What’s your story?
C: I come from a Chinese immigrant family. Iâ€™m a recent college graduate with a B.A. in English and a hopeful-graduate-prospective-student for now. On the side I run Remodelminority.com with Jen, a blog that focuses on issues of race, gender, mass media, etc. Itâ€™s a new blog so weâ€™re hoping to gradually build a strong community-base around it.
J: I permanently emigrated from Mexico to the U.S., in the early 1990s. I recently graduated with a B.A. in Comparative Literature and a B.A. in Chicana/o Studies. I will begin my Comparative Literature Ph.D. work in the fall. For now Iâ€™m mostly unemployed and an organizing committee intern for an upcoming literary conference. I help Carolyn run Remodelminority.com.
3. Why do you support Racebending.com and how did you learn about us?
C: I was a BIG fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender (still am) when it was running on Nick and was excited to hear that they were making a live-action version. Of course, after I found out about the casting I was so disappointed that I had to find out if others felt the same. Somehow I stumbled onto Racebending.com, probably via LiveJournal, and Iâ€™ve been keeping up with it ever since.
J: I was also a fan on Avatar: The Last Airbender when it was running on Nickelodeon, when I found out what the final casting choices were I could not help but be disappointed and, honestly, disgusted. Carolyn introduced me to Racebending.com which I support because it is a necessary, critical, vehicle for interrogating racism within and beyond the context of the The Last Airbender.
4. What makes you passionate about The Last Airbender film controversy and similar Hollywood choices?
The Last Airbender was one of the rarer shows on television that focused on a multicultural multiethnic world that was heavily influenced by Asian cultures. In a society where Asians and other people of color are allocated to be the butt of the jokes in the media, The Last Airbender was a breath of fresh air and empowering to marginalized peoples.
Many people have been arguing that characters such as Aang do not look Asian, but we think the identity the creators intended for him to be is clear. Unfortunately, Paramount, Shyamalan and crew, chose to ignore that and instead decided to appropriate the story for profitability and marketability. For us, they have destroyed the Avatar (the Last Airbender) canon in their support of hegemonic traditions.
5. What other issues interest you?
We are interested in many things! To name a few: LGBTQ issues, representations of and objectification of Indigenous peoples, representations of Asia and Latin America in the media, distribution and influence of mass media, globalization and cultural imperialism, citizenship and rights discourse.
6. What are your hopes for the future of American media?
Holistic diversity, not tokenism, in both the production and execution of various mass media. We would also really like to see less corporate and state influence on American media and the survival and proliferation of productive-proactive independent media.