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How Hollywood’s Cultural Appropriation is Harmful and Must Stop

As someone who cares deeply about cultural appropriation, I am disappointed to see yet another example of it in the entertainment industry. James Cameron's blockbuster film "Avatar" clearly takes inspiration from the colonization of England and the struggles of Native American indigenous peoples. It's no wonder that Native American groups have called for a boycott of the film.

Using a colonial struggle for profit and romanticizing indigenous battles only serves to further disenfranchise Native Americans. These are peoples who have suffered greatly and continue to fight for their rights and their stories to be heard. Hollywood takes their stories and transforms them to sell movie tickets, ignoring the true histories and experiences of these communities.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time we've seen this kind of cultural appropriation in Hollywood. Walt Disney made a similar mistake with "Pocahontas" in 1995, falsely romanticizing the relationship between Pocahontas' tribe and the English settlers while hypersexualizing Native American women. While Disney claimed to have drawn inspiration from true events, they freely changed the key details of the story, such as Pocahontas' age and her relationship with John Smith, in order to make a more "dramatic" narrative.

Another issue with "Avatar" is the lack of diversity in its cast. Only two actors in the film are non-white, leading to accusations of "BlueFace," a reference to the controversial practice of blackface.

Perhaps most frustrating of all, Native American communities were not consulted or invited to share their stories and struggles with the film's writers. This is a crucial step in avoiding cultural appropriation - by allowing marginalized communities to share their own experiences and stories, we can create more authentic and respectful representations.

In order to avoid cultural appropriation, we must be proactive in seeking out the voices and stories of those from different cultures. We can start by sharing their struggles and standing in solidarity with them - for example, by supporting efforts to protect the Amazon rainforest. By listening to and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities, we can work towards a more equitable and respectful future.