The Hunger Games and Racism
So, I didn’t mention much about the other characters in The Hunger Games movies, but Amandla Stenberg as Rue was beautiful and charming (and exactly how I imagined the character to the letter) and Lenny Kravitz was fantastic at bringing depth to Cinna, Katniss’ stylist. They were wonderful, and as a whole the cast was great.
However, racist fans have come out of the wood work complaining about how deeply disappointed that Rue and Cinna are black. Not only that, and far more disturbing, the feel the movie was worse for it and that they cared less about Rue’s death because she wasn’t a little white girl.
I want to hurl things.
I can understand that everyone imagines characters differently, so that even though Suzanne Collins described Rue as having “dark brown skin and eyes,” maybe they imagined her as Asian or Latino or some other nationality, and yeah, maybe they read with a “white default” and saw her as just really tan. Either way, you’d thing that if someone read phrase “dark brown skin,” they could at the very leas understand that other people would imagine her as being black (which is what the author confirmed she intended anyway).
But, no, they are very disappointed, claiming that “Rue wasn’t black!” Never mind, all the white washing that occurs in movies ALL THE TIME (i.e. Airbender and Prince of Persia to name just two), which I’m sure these same people would be happy to excuse away as being “best for the movie” or the “best actor”. Gah!
Which ties into a recent discovery (for me) that producers allowed only white actresses to even audition for the part of Katniss. While I loved Jennifer Lawrance in the role, it makes me kinda sick that women of color weren’t even given a chance. (I wish I was surprised, but I’m sadly not.)
In the wake of the Trayvon Martin murder (which is still not resolved and in which people are tryng to blame Trayvon for being murdered in the same way rapists blame women for “asking for it”), this just reiterates shows again that there is prevalent racism still in the world. It’s a serious problem and it needs to be addressed — and not just by people of color, but all us white people (and that includes myself) who have ignored it, or let it slide in the past, because we were afraid or because we let ourselves pretend there wasn’t a problem because it wasn’t happening to us. Racism needs to be addressed and acknowledged, or it won’t ever go away.
Also, a rather amusing comic about Hollywood’s love of whitewashing and racebending.
Comments are welcome, but keep in mind that if you have to start your comment with “I’m not a racist, but…” then what you are about to say is probably going to be racist. (Think before you speak.)
In other news…
There’s a rather awesome project going on at kickstarter for Scherhezade’s Facade: Fantastical Tales of Gender Bending, Cross-Dressing, and Transformation, an anthology that includes some rather great authors. It was originally going to be published by a traditional publisher, but that fell out, so the editor is planning to publish it anyway he can. (I had planned to submit a story to this anthology, but it grew out of proportion to the length of a novella and besides, I missed the deadline, but I LOVE the idea.) At any rate, it’s a good way to preorder the book, while helping make it come about.