I didn’t mean my art to be racist and done it with the only intention to be a good drawing. I didn’t consider many aspects of the things,however I just want to say sorry if someone felt offended by it. I am not one for speeches but i just want to say that what i did was not intentionally made to hurt or offend anyone.

Just wanted to say a couple things:

a) Your art was Great. The style is lovely, clean, I really enjoyed it! I reblogged immediately and it made me check out the rest of your blog because I thought it was so good.

b) Just because you did an AU of a disney movie that does not depict a true version of a part of history (because it’s disney and None of them are accurate), and that story shares SOME qualities with a potential of zutara, doesn’t make it or you racist or insensitive or inconsiderate. The fact that disney portrayed a historical story innacurately and romatacized it is Not your doing and certainly warrants a discussion all its own, but that discussion doesn’t involve a great piece of literally harmless fanart.

I’m not going to go into the myriad reasons why people going off on calling zutara awful and colonial fetishization is pretty goddamn wrong because it’s really too late right now, but I honestly wanted you to know your art is fantastic and that people jumping down your throat over an incorrectly told story that’s not even yours reflects WAY more on them than it does you.

I’m looking forward to more AtLA art from you btw!

Great. You a racist too. The Disney movie is racist. Anything that romanticizes and woobifies colonialization is racist.

No one’s got an answer that excuses Zutara outside of nostalgia for an angstier time, but everyone wants to say that Zutara is not in anyway problematic. It’s always “antis are wrong, but I’m too tired/bored/busy/good to say why in a definitive and irrefutable way.” I would just beg literally anyone who’s been following this to ask themselves why there isn’t any irrefutable answer to Zutara criticisms.

Even if it were just me making these criticisms, maybe you could brush me off but it has been several posts and thousands of notes from different, unconnected users in recent months that have echoed similar criticisms of Zutara. Why would that be?

And are we really still in a place in 2018 where we are pretending like intentions matter more than impacts when we’re discussing axes of oppression? I feel like you understand that that isn’t the case because you, OP, have removed the piece of artwork, but I guess it bears repeating.

Nah it’s not nostalgia. It’s the fact that the Water Tribes themselves were not colonized. The SWT was decimated, people aken from their homes and outright murdered, yes, but not there are no Fire Nation colonies. Different war crime. It’s that Zuko was raised to think the Fire Nation was doing good by invading other nations and colonizing parts of the Earth Kingdom, but when he actually saw what his nation had subjected others to, he realized the indoctrination he, and most everyone else, had been raised in, and changed. He did have a redemption arc that not only emcompassed him going through personal fundamental change within himself, but also on behalf of the nation he would one day lead.

Which, of course, was why he initiated reparations to the other nations all his forefathers has harmed. He withdrew the colonies as best he could (which is an extremely messy business and one of the few things in the comics I think they illustrated well in Yu Dao with the complicated comingling of peoples). He sent resources to help bolster the rebuilding of the Southern Water Tribe. And, knowing the kind of character Zuko is, he probably bear himself up over not being able to do more, and that his forefathers had done such terrible things to begin with.

Had Zutara become canon, it would have been a ridiculously excellent step forward. Katara is a direct victim of the crimes of the Fire Nation, but she also is a character that believes in progress and moving forward. Neither she nor Zuko can change the past, but they can both change the future for the better. Having Katara be with Zuko would give the rest of the world the very public statement that things can move forward in a better direction. She would have had a much bigger hand in the world’s political stage in bringing about positive change and helping mend wounds, instead of just individual Avatar journeys here and there where she frequently felt sidelined by Aang’s infatuated new Air Acolytes and the attention he gave them. (No, I’m not saying that’s right or wrong in this particular rebuttal; it’s not the point I’m covering here. That’s a different topic.)

And, no, to head off any comment that Katara does not have to forgive those who hurt her, she didn’t. She didn’t forgive Yon Rha, who murdered her mother. She didn’t forgive Ozai, who perpetuated and worsened the state of the world. She forgave Zuko for antagonizing—but never actually personally hurting (aside from the accident of Toph’s feet)—them. And, she had a hand in helping the younger Fire Nation generations learn better things by being a part of the Harmony Restoration Movement and traveling with the Avatar. (Not as big of a hand as she could have—and would have been suited for—to have imo).

This isn’t racist, nor is it colonization apology or fetishization. Zuko can’t change the past, but he can try and beg forgiveness for what his forefathers did and repair the world moving forward, which is exactly what he did. Had Zutara been canon, we would have seen much more of that first-hand. The point of the end of Avatar was that the divided four nations were supposed to be a thing of the past, and that a globalization was better moving forward. There are schools of thought on that concept, but the thrust of AtLA, Team Avatar, and the Avatar themselves is that the world is better when in harmony together, rather than split apart and in chaos. Canon Zutara would have been a buch bigger representation of that, in showing that two people from opposites sides of war can come together, overcome obstacles, and find harmony and balance with one another (sounds familiar amirite? Oma and Shu).

Had Zuko wed an Earth Kingdom person, the argument of colonization apology would be much stronger imo, but between Zuko and Katara? It’s not.

And, I also know that others have made similar arguments/refutations/meta posts about this, so I have to ask if you just haven’t seen those as well? Or if you’re just refusing to acknowledge and ignore the arguments refuting this you claim don’t exist.

This argument depends on the following assumptions, all of which are untrue:

– ethnic cleansing not accompanied by settler colonialism is somehow more forgivable or less violent (it’s not)

– the fact that Zuko redeemed himself to some degree in canon somehow negates the fact that john smith, the person the artist parallels him with, was a colonizer and rapist til the end of his life

– selecting pochahontas as this person’s zutara au is somehow coincidental, and not blatantly playing upon the racial imbalance of zutara and katara being native coded while the entire FN’s imperial trajectory is modeled after manifest destiny

– this entire argument is about you shipping zutara, not your fetishization of a real woman that existed, and the historical revisionism of her trauma

– social progress apparently requires an oppressed person assimilating into the upper class of the oppressive nation, and to not make this writing decision is a “missed opportunity”, and also you assume this somehow excuses putting zk in pochahontas au – when the real pochahontas was raped, abused, and died while assimilating into her colonizers world

-it’s not, and I never said it was. just that the SWT suffered different acts of war that were not colonization

-it does not, but let’s remember two things here: 1) an au is not a direct analogue, it is not a direct replacement. It works around and very often subverts the tropes and problems of the au source. We’ll never know what the story behind this disney pocahontas au was because it was squashed immediately. 2) Zuko is not John Smith. Zuko is a fictional character. John Smith in the disney movie is an inaccurate depiction of a real person. The disney story itself—by itself—is not inherently a bad idea to start with and fix. The artist said themselves they didn’t intend anything more than an au of a disney movie. For all you know the artist op wasn’t aware of the historical events of Matoaka, especially considering that their native language is not english and tbey may not even be american to know the real story behind the movie’s events.(and yes I am aware the movie does not exist in a vacuum and the real events should absolutely be learned about over the movie’s version. This is also about a single fanart done by a fan of a fictional set of characters who are not direct analogues of either the disney version of the people or the actual people themselves)

-there is absolutely no fetishization going on here, in op’s art or in anything that I, or other people, have said.

-it doesn’t, and literally no one is saying that it does. Katara and Zuko are equals with one another in the war, and after, and also consider each other as such. And, the charater of Katara that I understand would not have assimilated into Fire Nation culture. Even as Aang’s girlfriend, and later, wife, despite giving precedence to what he wants in order to help bring his culture back (absolutely an important thing, but Katara should not have been relegated to baby-maker and care-giver for him), she retains her cultural identity. To think that she’d give that up if she’d been with Zuko is to fundamentally misunderstand her character, imo.


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