Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Not to Be Racist But..." Questioning the Casting Choices of 'The Hunger Games'

File:Hunger games.jpgThe Hunger Games set records this past weekend when it raked in $155 million at the U.S. box office.

Fans of the book series were more than a little miffed by some of the producers' casting choices.  The lead role of Katniss went to Jennifer Lawrence.  No problems there as the book version of Katniss and screen version of her arguably matched. 

However, the supporting roles of Rue and Cinna caused a bit more consternation. 

The roles of Thresh, Cinna, and Rue went to Black actors. 

For example, Lenny Kravitz plays Cinna, whose racial makeup was not discussed in the book.  Rue is played by newcomer, Amandla Stenberg, also Black.  The book describes her as having "dark brown skin and eyes."  Thresh, a male character, is described as having the same dark skin color as Rue.   

[Sounds like the author intended for them to be people of color.]

While many fans expressed approval of the film, many others were left annoyed, disappointed, and angry.  Why? 

One person asked via Twitter, "why did the producer make all the good characters black smh"?

[I can't really tell if this person means good as in 'good versus evil' or good as in characters with good story lines that people should care about.]

File:Twitter 2010 logo.svg

These fans claim to have read the books and are dismayed because the author did not stay true to what she had written in the stories. 

[Even if these scamps couldn't comprehend the complete depth of what they were reading, "dark brown skin" is a pretty clear descriptor in a book with a majority of white characters.  Plus, it's not as if the books aren't available on Audibook for the literacy-challenged.  It really seems as if many of these disgruntled moviegoers just took out the parts of the books that they didn't like and replaced them with "cleaner", more palatable versions of what they would like to read.  After all, we know all heroes and beloved characters in fantasy books for young adults must be of the porcelain-skinned variety.]

The sad thing is that these bigots have no problem with calling Stenberg the N-word and the B-word publicly on social media forums.  As I always say, I like an open racist.  And these people aren't hiding the ball.  There doesn't seem to be much subtlety here.    
Here are some examples:

John Knox IV
I was pumped about the Hunger Games.  Until I learned that a black girl was playing Rue.

Lexie Browning
And for the record, im still pissed that rue is black.  Like you think she might have mentioned that..? Is that just me, or….

Nikki Eggers
After watching the hunger games preview 6 times in a row, I realized Rue is black. Whaaaat?! #shocked

Joe Longley
@KatrinaOrsini EWW rue is black?? I’m not watching

Cliff kigar
Sense when has Rue been a nigger

EJ Santiago
HOW IN THE WORLD ARE THEY GOING TO MAKE RUE A FREAKIN BLACK BITCH IN THE MOVIE ?!?!?!??! lolol not to be racist buuuuut…. I’m angry now ;0

 Haylee Franklin
Why is Rue a little black girl?
#sticktothebookDUDE @The HungerGames

jashper paras
Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn't as sad #ihatemyself

Maggie Mcdonnell
why does rue have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined the movie

Seriously, people, you may be able to whitewash things in your mind but you can't do it in the real world.  


Read more here

Also, see this great post by Jen of Disgrasian here.  She relates these fans' disappointment and lack of sympathy for the Black characters with the current Trayvon Martin controversy.