Wednesday, March 28, 2012

‘The Hunger Games’ elicits racist reactions

Last Friday’s highly anticipated release of the movie ‘The Hunger Games’pulled in a cool $155 million and delighted fans nationwide. But for some outright racist fans, the casting choices disappointed them.

Fans went straight to Twitter expressing their upset that two of the main characters Rue and Thresh, Amandla Stenberg and Dayo Okeniyi respectively, were African-American. Some also were disappoinetd that Cinna, Katniss’ stylist was played by Lenny Kravitz.

In her books however, Suzanne Collins clearly describes Rue and Thresh as having dark brown skin and dark eyes. Cinna was not specifically described as having dark skin, but that he had green eyes and short brown hair, meaning he was open to interpretation.

The tweets range from users saying they weren’t impressed by Thresh being a black man, losing excitement over the movie because Rue would be played by a black girl to the ever callous use of the “n-word.”

There are many obvious things wrong with these people’s reactions (besides their lack of reading comprehension), but the fact that American readers assume characters are white is the just the tip of the iceberg as the Tumblr ‘Hunger Games Tweet’ recognizes.
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  1. Why can't the characters be white? Are you anti-white??? How many blacks want black characters/what's wrong with whites wanting whites? Im tired of whites being label "racist" because they behave like all the other races. Its okay to call the black stranger "bro" if you're black but God forbid a white guy feels solidarity with those of his own race!!!

  2. When I'm reading a book I always assume the characters are white. What else are you supposed to assume, that they're Iranian? Maybe they're Indian (some of them have "white" names) or Asian. Unless the author tells me otherwise, they're white, dammit!

    Of course, sometimes the author does tell me and I forget, like with James Patterson's Alex Cross. I kept seeing him as white and had to make a conscious effort to picture Morgan Freeman in my mind instead.

    Dark brown skin? Hey, coulda been a sun tan!

    1. When you read Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," do you picture Nigger Jim as white?

      Har har har...

    2. Well, no, because the text clearly indicates that Jim is a slave and black (also, to make it easier, the original editon of the novel was illustrated). You might have more difficulty correctly picturing the slaves in Pudd'nhead Wilson , though.

      Interesting that you bring up Twain, however, since the race-baiters so often label his masterpiece "racist".

  3. Here's basically what I see...

    I see my post, which mentions people being racist (using epithets, saying they didn't fit the role, etc.) on a Twitter feed for a children's book... and some white people defending it.

    Am I correct in picturing you guys as toothless and inbred?


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