I can’t believe I’m writing about this again, but it’s making a racket AGAIN, and it’s just dying to be addressed AGAIN. First of all, I am immeasurably tired of all the racist bullshit that’s surrounded The Hunger Games since the 1st day the principle cast was announced, be it on the side that some people are, and/or were under the impression that casting Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Liam Hemsworth as Gale, and Woody Harrelson as Haymitch was “white washing”, and now that casting Amandla Stenberg as Rue, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, and Dayo Okeniyi as Thresh, is a disappointment on a monumental scale.
Yes, this is about the tweets, yes this is about the article on Jezebel, which was subsequently then picked up by The Huffington Post, and then the Chicago Tribune, and so on and so forth. Great, now that that’s out of the bag, let’s try to be adults about this (if that’s at all possible). First of all, race is an entirely socially constructed concept, and those who believe that it holds any bearing on one’s intellect, personal character, ability to chew solid food, or voting proclivity — you’re wrong, you’re dead wrong, and you need to get your ass into a sociology class and go re-learn some things, ’cause you’ve been ill-informed your entire life. You may also want to go interact or hang-out with people of different cultural, ethnic, or racial backgrounds from yourself — get a little perspective. I don’t even really want to talk about Panem today, because I’m not interested in waxing philosophic about a fictional place, because we’ve got enough problems in the real world right now, and they’re bleeding into this series like a bandage in need of replacing. I’m only writing about this because at the gym, of all places, I was asked about this incident of extremely bigoted written diarrhea, because I am The Hunger Games go-to-girl. This is unfounded, people, when something like this is not just being passed back and forth on Facebook and Twitter, but people at your gym are speaking about it face to face, this is a sign that it’s bled through the bandage at an inconceivable rate.
I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be Amandla Stenberg right now, but I’m sure she’s had to deal with a fair amount of racism in her life being a person whose background would make some people angry. I’m speaking of the fact that her parents are not of the same race, there’s that word again — race! What does it even mean?! Oh, okay — let’s do a google search and find out, because all my sociology text books are gone now — girl’s gotta eat (not the text books, I don’t eat paper).
- Race is defined as a social category or social construction that we treat as distinct on the basis of certain characteristics, some biological, that have been assigned social importance in the society. It is not the biological characteristics per se that define racial groups, but how groups have been treated historically and socially. That is, society assigns people to racial categories such as Black, White, and so on, not because of science, logic, or fact, but because of social experience.
Amandla Stenberg and by default, Rue — does not deserve to be thought ill of because she’s categorized as black. Rue was an innocent child, in the worst situation any parent would ever deem to have a nightmare about, and thinking that she deserved to die the way she did, or at all, because of the color of her skin or the texture of her hair, is deplorable, sick, twisted, and so reprehensible that it makes me have to write about racism in The Hunger Games casting situation yet again! It has to be said, even though it’s been said before — but the people who wrote those tweets were not careful readers, and careful readers breed for careless citizens of a global world. The fact that they thought that tweeting their thoughts on the film and the casting in the manner that they did, and likely thinking they would go without receiving any backlash from the world at large — that’s ignorance on a scale that’s frankly unprecedented. I’m somehow glad to know that all of their Twitter accounts have been deleted, because of the deluge of hate messages they received. But they’re still out there, and I can only hope, we can only hope that with the amount of play this episode of hate got, and there will be more, that they’ve turned a new leaf and become a little less racist, a little less ignorant. If not — I fear to even imagine.
I don’t want to talk about this again, but I know I will — we’ve still got the Catching Fire castings to contend with.
Them There Eyes