The Deluge of Hate

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

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7 comments

  1. *Claping hands silently* I really didn’t think we would still have to deal with this in 2012, but for those who disagree with Them There Eyes, here are two very old documentarys to put something inside your racist head. And don’t worry! They were produced by a white, blond and american woman. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/divided/etc/view.html (this is the original)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiTDAUWmYa4&feature=related (the consequences, part 1 of 12)

  2. I didn’t pay attention to the colour of Rue’s skin at first. So when I saw the girl they cast, I was a bit taken aback (same thing for Cinna). Then I checked the book. And I noticed I had skip a line. And I watched the movie. And Amandla Stenberg is just perfect for the role. That’s all I had to think about her. She’s just perfect. No matter if I hadn’t picture her when I was reading. Same for Cinna. Lenny Kravitz? Why? Then he does a great job with Cinna and I was thrilled to see him, because it’s Cinna.
    I didn’t know people could react about skin colour. I mean, we all rage about the cast when a book adaptation is on its way. But, when the movie is out, you have to admit when actors do a great job with the characters you like. Even when you didn’t picture him/her that way.
    That’s all that should matter.
    When Rue died, I just cried while reading the book and watching the movie. Because she’s a little innocent girl, who didn’t deserve to die that way. Because the Hunger Games is a book about revolution and unity, people who says those ugly things about Amandla missed a great point in the books and in life too.

  3. Bravo! You said it wonderfully!

    It truly bothers me that these few narrow-minded fools have some come to represent THE WHOLE FANDOM in the eyes of the media. It not just that there are a few horrible people out there who had stupid comments on the film, it’s “LOOK! Hunger Games fans are a bunch of racists!” ..NO! Most of us have common sense.

    Also, the people saying these things aren’t actually fans. They didn’t pay much attention to the books nor did they follow casting or filming for the movies, so it disgusted me to see that THEY were the people being credited as fans of the series when they completely missed the point of the novels!

  4. It also bothers me that these people are being referred to as “Hunger Games fans” because they’re actually not. I never thought racism would be something that will be associated with this fandom since my experience with the THG fandom has been about smart, interesting people interested in making things better. But apparently there are still people out there who think the world is only inhabited by white people. And some of these people apparently feel the need to expose their ignorance to the world via social media.

    I don’t like that this issue is now associated with the THG fandom but as a non-white person, I’m glad that we’re talking about it and it’s out in the open so we can make it clear that yes, other races exist in the planet and no, we don’t tolerate racist comments in our fandom.

  5. Can I add a little derision, too, for people who think Josh Hutcherson is too short to be a romantic lead? I’ve seen it said too many times online, and it drives me nuts. I think it’s really refreshing to see an onscreen couple where the female is a bit taller than the male. There are plenty of real life examples, and while it may not be the “norm,” it shouldn’t matter a bit.

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