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Avatar: An Extension of White Supremacy

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Frederick Alexander Meade
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After having viewed the latest box office hit Avatar, themes which seemingly resonate timelessly, find their expression once again.

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The story takes place on the distant planet of Pandora. This planet is bountiful in its natural resources and in particular "Unobtainium." This precious mineral is highly coveted universally, and a business interest from the distant planet Earth seeks to exploit the planet in gathering this resource for its own entrepreneurial purposes. Such an endeavor would be easily undertaken if not for the indigenous population of the planet, the Na'vi.

This group of highly intelligent, disciplined and physically gifted beings are a deeply spiritual people, who demonstrate complete deference for all forms of nature, deriving their sense of being and purpose from their deity known as Eywa, the source of all living things.

Indeed, Avatar's story line has been crafted from World history, for almost all indigenous people of color have had to contend with European colonizers determined to steal the natural resources existing in the lands of these populations. In Europe's quest to secure these resources belonging to foreign peoples, colonial forces demonstrated no regard for the indigenous people, their customs, or their right to exist as a sovereign body.

In the case of Africa, such European acts of unfettered exploitation found their expression no more so than in South Africa, where the British- among other European groups - for more than a century have and continue to subjugate the original peoples of the land while simultaneously raping the region of its most precious commodities - its gold, platinum, coal and diamonds.

Avatar 's plot simply takes a page from this unfortunate segment of Africa's history; it places a group of foreign mercenaries - primarily composed and completely headed by those of European ancestry - in the land of the Na'vi, who seek to rob the indigenous people of their organic capital.

A small band of supposed good doers - who, through technology, are able to mimic the appearance and abilities of other life forms, function as covert agents working on behalf of their mercenary cohorts. They are instructed to make efforts to convince the Na'vi to remove themselves from their homeland so as to create a circumstance where by the theft of the region's considerable deposits of "Unobtainium" would be easily facilitated.

Jake - the lead character - heads this collection of duplicitous individuals and he is successful in infiltrating a Na'vi clan. However an extended stay among "The People"Â functions to civilize the former marine, as he becomes acquainted with the high principles regarding universal respect for life and the environment which govern Na'vi thought and behavior.

Subsequently, Jake undoubtedly concludes that the Na'vi would not surrender their homeland to any outside force.

A now spiritually imbued and morally centered Jake then warns the Na'vi of the intentions of his comrades and informs the group of his role as a secret agent in helping to bring forth their agenda, essentially causing his banishment.

Throughout the early stages of the movie, the actions of the imperialistic business class clearly denote those tenets which undergird the concept of White supremacy; however it is also during this portion of the film, where the less pronounced undertones of such a paradigm emerge.

Jake, through an ancient Na'vi spiritual occurrence, is identified as an anointed savior figure by this population. This absurd reality surfaces in the face of his role as stealth informant working to uproot this group from its homeland in attempt to make the land's spoils available for plunder to his capitalist superiors.

Additionally, as the main character interacts with this Na'vi clan he not only is proven their spiritual superior again by virtue of the fact that ancient spiritual forces suggest he is their redeemer, but also their physical and intellectual superior as he masters all of their practices and customs requiring speed, strength, endurance and intellectual prowess on his way to becoming a respected member.

Jake's final display of his inherent ascendancy atop the Na'vi - African people - occurs when he demonstrates his abilities in regard to combat; he physically subdues this clan's top warrior and future King after the defeated prince publicly exposes the romantic involvement between the supposed hero and the clan's princess and subsequent future Queen.The ethos of white superiority is consummated by Jake's perpetual dominance over "The People" of Pandora, which is demonstrated in every conceivable manner, not withstanding his ability to capture the favor of the future Queen of this clan, an act which violates the group's sacred prearranged pairing of the rightful royal prince and princess.

Fearing its financial interests will not be realized, Earth's occupying business class releases the full breadth of its hired military in an effort to remove Pandora's indigenous people by force, vowing to spare no lives if deemed necessary.

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Frederick Alexander Meade is a syndicated columnist providing analysis on social and political matters. His works appear in news magazines and publications internationally.
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