Skin in the game
Racist tweets betrayed bigotry among a book's fans
Published: September 5, 2012
The blockbuster success of the book and the film version of The Hunger Games takes on a larger significance when you consider it's not just the work of a female author, but a work featuring a strong female protagonist. Then just when we were feeling all warm and fuzzy about our national progress, a flurry of tweets accompanying the release of the film version of Hunger Games showed just how long we still have to go.
The tweets in question were from ostensible fans of the book dismayed that some of the characters, namely Rue and Thresh, were portrayed by African-American actors.
Remarks, not edited for clarity here, included:
why does rue have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined the movie
EWW rue is black?? I'm not watching
And for the record, im still pissed that rue is black. Like you think she might have mentioned that..? Is that just me, or....
What makes these posts all the more troubling is that fans of the books should have known that the characters were black. Although Suzanne Collins has said that setting the story in a post-apocalyptic future meant contemporary ideas of race wouldn't necessarily apply, she does describe Rue as having "dark brown skin and eyes" and Thresh as having "the same dark skin as Rue." So it isn't just small-minded to object to the casting, it shows an ass-backward level of reading comprehension.
As Dodai Stewart wrote on the Jezebel blog: "The posts go on and on and on. It's not just a couple of tweets, it's not just a coincidence. There's an underlying rage, coming out as overt prejudice and plain old racism." Michael Jackman
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