Racism Rears Ugly Head In 'Hunger Games' Tweets
March 27th, 2012 12:34pm EDT
On the heels of "The Hunger Games"' record-smashing debut at the box office, some truly disturbing but sadly unsurprising news has emerged on what some fans have been complaining about the movie on Twitter.
According to the Tumblr page Hunger Games Tweets, a crop of racist remarks concerning the film's diverse cast -- particularly aimed at the characters Rue (Amandla Stenberg) and Thresh (Dayo Okeniyi) -- began appearing in the Twitterverse over the weekend.
"Why does rue have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined the movie," tweeted one clueless fan, because obviously any black character that elicits sympathy and love is bound to ruin a racist's day at the movies.
"Why did the producer make all the good characters black?" posted another upset moviegoer, referring not just to Rue but to Cinna, who is played by Lenny Kravitz. Technically Cinna's skin color was never specified in the books, so in this case, Ross did cast a biracial (Kravitz' father is white) star in the role. Guess that didn't sit well with certain prejudiced folks.
"And for the record I'm still pissed that Rue is black," said another, and the list goes on and on, with upset fans decrying the fact that Ross dared to "go all the way to black," instead of just "darker white," as one guy mentioned.
In light of these hateful comments, we can't help but wonder if the fans making such overtly ignorant remarks actually read Suzanne Collins' books. If they did, then they must have skipped some key descriptive paragraphs in which the author clearly states that Rue, Thresh and the majority of District 11 residents had "dark brown" skin. Therefore, when Collins helped director Gary Ross cast the parts of the two tributes from District 11, of course they selected young black actors.
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When Katniss encounters Rue for the first time, she thinks the following: … And most hauntingly, a twelve-year-old girl from District 11. She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that's she's very like Prim in size and demeanor…
Later, Katniss sees Thresh and describes him as well: The boy tribute from District 11, Thresh, has the same dark skin as Rue, but the resemblance stops there. He's one of the giants, probably six and half feet tall and built like an ox.
Perhaps the young objectors (we'll give these Twitter users the benefit of the doubt and hope they're in fact not fully grown adults) skipped over parts of the story or imagined "dark brown skin" referred to the sort of burnt-sienna spray tans that the "Jersey Shore" cast enjoys. Maybe they didn't even read the books and are just prejudiced filmgoers who don't like paying to see any people of color on the big screen. Regardless of the motivation, this hate speech is downright disgusting.
This is not the same as nitpicking that Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth are too old or tall or blonde and fair-skinned (in the book, they're described as having olive skin, black hair and gray eyes). This is ignoring Collins' description of characters in order to suit a need for characters to be white. The highlighted comments make it obvious that what really angers these moviegoers is that characters (especially Rue) they grew to love in the book can't possibly be black.
As the person who started the Hunger Games Tweets blog so eloquently wrote, [Spoiler alert]: "These people are MAD that the girl that they cried over while reading the book was "some black girl" all along. So now they're angry. Wasted tears, wasted emotions. It's sad to think that had they known that she was black all along, there would have been [no] sorrow or sadness over her death."
On the bright side, Hunger Games Tweets also reports that several of the Twitter users exposed on the site have abandoned their accounts or hidden their hateful messages in protected pages.
Photo Credits: Lionsgate