Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why "The Legend of Korra" is so important to our generation

Come on admit it? You've all glanced at it. Or watched it. Or fangirled/boyed it, stalking it religiously every Friday night(or Saturday morning, if you watch it online like me). People tuned in due to the massive impact Avatar: The Last Airbender had on children AND adults. We even tuned in to that EPIC FAIL of a movie M.Night Shyamalan directed(which I respect him having his own interpretation on, but he had every tool in place already put there for him. All he really had to do was show up, the story and the right cast would've done all the work!). But I think many of us take for granted how extraordinary a character like Korra is.

I believe highlighted this issue best with it's examination on how the the the lack of diversity in the media, especially television, effects the self esteem of children. Particularly girls, and boys and girls of color. And if you hop on over to this article by awesome author Ellen Oh, you will also see how greatly she impacts 6th graders, including a boy who stated "girls cant superheroes, and that they were boring." No child or adult for that matter can argue how something as simple, but as epic as "The Legend of Korra" had greatly impacted how people look at marginalized groups in animation.

A lot of people will disagree with this, as Aang was awesome! He was not created to be hyper-ly aggressive like most boys and men in comics, animated series' and live action series' for that matter. He didn't have to solve things with his fists, and actually wanted peace over violence. So he's definitely a step in a great direction. But Korra? She is a woman of color. And what makes her so great is how racially ambiguous she is. The Water Nation is explicitly based off more specifically Inuit culture. But as a black female, I interpret her as Black. My cousin also did. But when you look at her, she could be easily interpreted as Native American/ First Nation/ American Indian(whichever term is politically correct), she could fit the mainstream look of how most interpret Latina to look(I say mainstream, as I am Afro-Latina, so I don't fit the mainstream Latina look), but she could also be South Asian or South East Asian, Indian, Sri Lankan, Palestine, or mixed race.

How many mainstream characters can we say that about?

I've seen many argue that Korra hasn't received the strong plot lines Aang did in his time as "The Avatar."  That could be true, if you interpret it that way. To be honest, one person's truth is a matter of opinion, and where it may struggle with plot(which I HIGHLY disagree, but like I mentioned, it's only my opinion, and Im entitled to it as well) it makes up in it's strong images of diversity. How many noticed all the mixed raced families from the comics, and much more highlighted from season 2, Aang's children? Even Mako and Bolin are mixed race. Otherwise how could one explain that one can fire bend, and the other can earth bend?

Regardless on how you see the show, you cant deny that it's very rare when a network is even willing to put a person of color, let alone a woman be the front runner of their own series. But you know what will happen if people don't support it? Networks wont dare consider a woman or a person of color someone worth marketing. If Korra fails, they'll blame it on the fact that she's a woman or a person of color. And that my friend, would be at a disservice for all the kids who don't think Korra is boring.


  1. Hee hee, I've LOVED Legend of Korra so far! Avatar: the Last Airbender was great but followed a traditional "end the evil overlord" storyline, so I really loved the complexity of the story with Korra, who instinctively fights with her fists, having to go up against Amon, who was a shadowy manipulator type and fed on the simmering resentment between benders/non-benders. This season's really been great with the focus on the spirits and balance--I've always appreciated how the Bender world has Eastern/indigenous philosophy behind it with its emphasis on balance and doesn't cater to any particular race. The world's just so colorful and well-imagined with all the different peoples. I could keep raving, but I'll just leave it at Korra is a bada** and takes no prisoners! I want to see more heroines like her :)


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