Being Wrong Has Never Tasted So Sweet

Where to begin!? Oh, right– I LOVE BEING WRONG! No really, I love it, but only in this particular case, because well– I really, truly, and honestly did not want (erm, gonna be mean), a wannabe Victoria Secret model embodying Johanna Mason. Alright, if you’ve been camping, living under a rock, or generally without Internet access for the last 27 hours +, we got confirmation yesterday, the third of July, that Jena Malone has been offered the role of Johanna Mason. Gotta be confession-y now, I cried when I read The Hollywood Reporter headline. No, wait, first I shot up in my seat, shouted “oh my god!” wrapped my hand over the bottom portion of my face (mouth), and proceeded to sob, and then cry. I’m so glad no one else was home, people would have thought someone had died. No worries, they were tears of joy, and the elation lasted for about 40 minutes. Yep, only 40, because then the deluge of hate starting souring my high.

I’m just gonna say it, but what is with this fandom, and off shoots of it, and its outright

Stop being baby stank faces!

pooh flinging in the name of race, and racial equality, or just completely misplaced hate, or justice, or whatever. I don’t know how, or why, or when The Hunger Games became the poster child franchise of “whitewashing”, but last time I checked, i.e. last time I read the bloody books, all the characters who were clearly described to be not white, or white, were later cast properly, and well with actors and actresses of stellar talent, and also with genuinely good people. Note: “Not white” means people who did not receive a description of their skin color, i.e, Cinna, or Johanna, this means their casting is and/or was open to interpretation, that is why we got Lenny Kravitz, and probably why we also may have got Jena Malone.

Let’s get this out-of-the-way, shall we? Johanna Mason’s description was NEVER “Johanna Mason, the only surviving female District 7 victor, a young woman who was proud of her Latin origins, who stood 5’9′ at the round age of 20, her tan colored skin shone with a healthy luster, and her pitch black hair was glossy in the sunlight, her strong sturdy legs were imposing, and she had a physique of a person who spent the majority of their time doing hard physical labor, her arms cut with lines and grooves of muscle, her posture confident and prideful…” Yeah, I didn’t read that description anywhere, did you? Pretty sure no one did, unless they got boot-leg copies of the books, and they were frankly edited to within an inch of their paper-y lives. Let’s count it off, all the things we know about Johanna Mason.

  • She’s the only surviving female victor hailing from lovely, wooded, District 7!
  • She “won a few years back by pretending she was a weakling.” (p. 190 American Hardcover edition)
  • “Wicked ability to murder.” (p. 214)
  • Spiky hair, and wide-set brown eyes. (p. 214)
  • Exhibitionist, i.e. totally flaunts her bits in front of everyone.
  • Attitude problem.
  • Dislikes Katniss.
  • Likes Finnick.
  • Handy with an ax.
  • Lost everyone she cares about at the hands of the Capitol.

That is all we know about her, we don’t know her cultural heritage, because frankly all cultural heritage has pretty much lost its hold on people thanks to the Capitol’s hold, except in their names, and in minute traces in foods, music, and marriage

Spiky isn’t a color!

customs. Speaking of names, Johanna’s name is a strongly European name, in fact my great, great, great grandmother who was born and raised in Germany in the 19th century, her name was Johanna. And the name Mason is Anglo-Saxon, meaning it’s from the Island of Britain, take those snip-its, and run with ’em– m’kay.  But no one can truly pin-point if the origins of the Districts customs are IRISH, LATIN, GERMAN, SCANDINAVIAN, IRANIANENGLISH, PUNJABI, EGYPTIAN, NIGERIAN, or any number of other nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. We don’t even get the color of Johanna’s skin described to us, let alone the color of her hair. I know everyone claims that she’s a brunette, but I just spent a good amount of time scouring my copy of Catching Fire, and literally the only description of Johanna’s hair is “spiky”, and “spiky” last time I checked isn’t a color, or a cultural marker. Also, face it, guys– skin color, and hair color are not markers of one’s heritage, because you could have mocha colored skin, and red hair and your family just happens to have never left the subcontinent of India. So, folks who are currently fuming because Jena Malone isn’t a Latina goddess with shiny black hair, with muscular arms, and tan skin, get off your unicorns, ’cause they don’t exist. I’ve seen some disturbing stuff out there on the Internets claiming that Hollywood isn’t trying hard enough to diversify the casts of their films, however to me– and in the case of this franchise, I know they filled out the cast with a wide variety of people. Hell, I even remember a friend of mine claiming that they didn’t like that Liam Hemsworth was Gale, because he looked too Native American, so there! Also, if the multiple rumors are even remotely true, Lionsgate wanted a Latina actress in the role of Johanna, but perhaps that actress wasn’t interested, and then there’s the rumor that they want Cicely Tyson, a black actress, in the role of Mags. So, they are still supposedly trying to fill out the cast with a spectrum of people, so please for the love of Peeta’s damaged soul, calm your tits!

They’ve chosen a reputable, seasoned, and talented actress to potentially portray a woman of substance, not a teen idol, or a fledgling actress who just graduated high school, or an actress who just graduated fictional high school at that. I think this is a win win situation, and if you don’t, you probably will when you see Malone in action next November. Yes, I think she’ll take the gig, she’d be insane not to.

Them There Eyes

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39 comments

  1. No offense but anyone who says Liam Hemsworth looks “too native American” isn’t a credible source in my opinion. He is as white as they come…..

    1. That’s what I was proving, because everyone has a different view on other people, and sadly according to that friend Liam’s Native American looking. Of course, I told him right after that that “um, he’s actually Australian by way of England.” But he still stuck to his guns that Liam looked too Native American for his taste. I also told him that a lot of people wanted someone who was outrightly Native American cast in the role.

  2. People who argue Hollywood try to hard not to be racist are hypocritically racist for thinking that way! Jeez, Francis Lawrence is not going to look at someone and say ‘Oh, you’re black, we have no black people in this film. Let’s go!’ He’ll match them as best he can to the physical description and work from there. I hate when people look so narrowly at things like that. I remember the jabs about Liam…like, Native American? He’s bloody Australian! Also got someone saying ‘Naya Rivera is my idol and she is the VISION of Johanna!’ which I scoffed at, but seeing as her dp was Justin Bieber I didn’t take that one to heart. As usual, everything that had to be said was said and I agree with you.

    1. Sadly, I have seen many people flippantly spout off that they should grab up every out of work actor who is a person of color, regardless of talent, having an agent, or what not… and cast them in every un-cast role… y’know, just ’cause they can. I’m not kidding.

      Naya, I’m of the opinion that until Naya tweeted a year or more ago, that she’d read the books, and thought she’d make a good Johanna, most people didn’t even envision Johanna as a Latina person. Honest, up until that point the most common fan-cast was Shannyn Sossamon, and then over night it was all Naya all the time.

      I’m glad they’re going for talent above the populous opinion of a characters so-called appearance.

    2. Of course Francis Lawrence won’t pass over an actor just because he’s black; after all, Lawrence is probably best known for directing the incomparable Will Smith in I Am Legend — playing someone who in the book and earlier movie version was (gasp!) white.

      “Oooo! Oooh! So how about Will Smith as Boggs?”

      Voice from The Sky: “Earth to Hana! Earth to Hana!”

      Hana to Earth (sobering up a little): “Well, maybe he’d do it if Meryl Streep agreed to play Coin?”

  3. The thing that has always concerned me about Johanna’s fancasting is because of the absence of a physical description, people have been casting based on her personality– which has lead to a lot of ethnicity-based stereotyping going on.

    Like a LOT of people were saying she HAD to be a Latina or African American because she had a ‘tude or was fiesty. AND THAT IS A VERY BAD THING TO ASSUME.

    Personality traits do not come from a person’s ethnic background- they stem from the circumstances they are raised in. I talked with Luly (who is a Latina) who was mildly distressed about all of the ethnic labels being ascribed to Johanna because of her personality.

    Frankly, I’m happy with anyone who can pull the part off.

    And this franchise is nowhere, and I mean NOWHERE, near as whitewashed as The Last Airbender where ALL of the characters were of Asian descent and were ALL cast as white people– with the exception of the villain. Hunger Games is nowhere near that. Suzanne Collins descriptions were vague enough to leave casting almost up in the air for every character.

    Do I wish there were more people of color in the film? Yes, but I wish that of all films. I don’t think Lionsgate has committed any cardinal sins here.

    1. This is partly why from the beginning of the whole Naya, Naya, Naya is the perfect Johanna debacle of the past year, I just sat there thinking “so, because she plays an angry Latina chick on Glee, you think she’d make a great angry, traumatized, Hunger Games victor… way to go with the type casting!”

      I never read Avatar or saw Air Bender, but I’ve heard nothing but good about the novels, and nothing but bad about the film adaptation. They did that film poorly, and they paid the price for it in spades as far as I’m concerned, but in the Hunger Games’ case, they did nothing wrong with the casting– and those that think they did boggle my mind.

      You’re right though, the continuous fan-casting of Latina women in the role of Johanna was and is ethnic stereotyping, and I never got on board with it. To me, it’s ALWAYS been about talent. If they had got Catlina on board, that would have been great, but not because she’s a Latina woman, but because she’s an extremely talented actress who has never played into stereotyping her own ethnicity with the roles she has taken.

  4. Bravo! While I do think that it was not cool for the Katniss casting call to SPECIFY caucasian actresses, I was kind of shocked by the number of people who thought she couldn’t possibly be caucasian. My father is from Portugal and he has olive skin, dark hair, and dark eyes, though they’re not gray (me and my mom have gray eyes though, and she’s of English/French descent.) My mental first image of Katniss was a badass Portuguese chick, which would make her caucasian by all technicality. I feel like I can’t even SUGGEST that without someone accusing me of being a giant racist.

    I believe we learn in Mockingjay that Johanna had brown hair. But brown hair and brown eyes is half the female population.

    1. You so racist, Kait! No you’re not! Look, olive toned skin by vast majority is present in people who are of European decent, usually people with ancestry that originated around the Mediterranean Sea, so your dad totally foots the bill, as do people from Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Armenia, Jordan, and many other middle eastern countries, also France, Spain, North Africa, and even Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, and even Ireland– because ancient Ireland was in part populated by Greeks, this in theory is why the term Black Irish came about, because it’s believed that those with dark hair, and olive toned skin who are from Ireland are ancestors of these ancient Greeks. Those damn Greeks and their amazing sailing capabilities.

      Anyway, I have no idea why so many people envisioned Katniss to be not white, especially when her mother was blonde with blue eyes, and her sister was blonde with blue eyes, I know genetics is tricky, but it’s just really hard to have one kid that’s white, and one kid who’s not, unless they have different fathers, and there’s no evidence except crack-pot theories that say that Prim and Katniss were not of the same genetic stock.

      Blah, blah, blah.. did you know that the first “none white” white people who were allowed into the spectrum of white-ness were Armenian? Ah, yeahhhh sociology classes! And up until the 1940s my family wasn’t white either. *slow clap* But for Panem… they don’t have to contend with American census speak, they deal with District pride.

      Blah, blah, blah… blah.

      1. See I know that the Everdeen family hair/eye coloring can exist, because that’s my family. My father is olive skinned with black hair, my mother has gray/green eyes and red hair.

        The result of that is my older sister is Katniss, all olive skin and dark hair. I am Prim-ish, blonde hair and light gray eyes. So it can happen like that in caucasian families. But again, when I say that, it’s not because I’m trying to explain simply that the dynamic is possible, it’s because I’m a big, fat racist. *facepalm*

  5. I am very pleased with Jena’s casting. However, if I had had my way, Johanna would have been played by no other than Rutina Wesley, who plays Tara from True Blood. Why? Not because she is black and they need more black characters in the books, but because Rutina is an exceptional actress in True Blood, and can play Tara’s situation amazingly, and Tara has been through some of the same trials Johanna has been through. She is also fiesty and exceptionally snippy. Rutins has a strong personality, and in my opinion, could pull of the roll very well. But Jena is, in my opinion, just as good.

    1. I can’t get on board with this fan-cast, Rutina Wesley is talented, but I would never want to see her playing Johanna, because it would be type casting her. Tara for all intents and purposes IS a version of Johanna, and I would never want to put an actress as talented as Rutina into a corner like that. If Rutina’s going to branch out, which I hope she does, I would hope she would get as far away from angry, traumatized, and feisty women characters as possible, otherwise the only roles she will ever be offered are versions of Tara.

      1. True, but she plays the role extremely well. Also, Johanna isn’t just angry, traumitzed, and fiesty. She is also extremely sad and weak beneath all that outside shell she projects. I think Rutina would have an amazing opportunity to give that character another amount of depth, such as in the District 13 hospital. Just an idea.

  6. When I read the books, I pictured Emily Blunt. She has showed she can play snarky and cunning in a way that still garners her sympathy, like her roles in The Devil Wears Prada and Sunshine Cleaning. Plus that English rose look she has could make people mistake her for being weak and frail, which was Johanna MO.

    But, I did like Jena Malone in Saved! and while I can’t yet picture her as Johanna, I’m positive she can pull it off.

    And about the race thing. I think the society in The Hunger Games is post-racial. That’s why no one is referred to as “black,” but rather dark-skinned, for example. And there are people walking around with their skin dyed green, for Pete’s sake! And Katniss mentions blending by saying everyone in the Seam kind of looks alike. I kinda think that the people who take note about the proportion of “white” actors to “ethnic” actors are the ones who have some issues around race. Race isn’t real anyway. A person who identifies as black could have white European ancestry, as much as a Hispanic like myself could have Indian, Native American, Spanish and African ancestry (which I do). The definitions all fall flat if you look far back enough in anyone’s family tree.

    And I think The Hunger Games has a pretty diverse cast, actually. If Cicely Tyson is really being considered for Mags, that’s rad, considering most people read that and yell, “BETTY WHITE!”

    1. I pictured Shannyn Sossamon, and then I pictured someone like Gemma Arterton, yep another English Rose, and then I was “please, dear god, don’t let them cast…” And now I am here, and wondering why the hell people are hung up on the appearance of a character who was never fully described, except in her attitude.

      You’re right, Panem is post racial, it’s also post heritage, because they have no ties to other districts, or the past, everything is so very controlled. I personally love the idea that perhaps the “gibberish” that Mags is speaking in Catching Fire is actually Spanish, and if they cast Cicely Tyson, whose family is from the West Indies, perhaps they could have her speaking a Spanish, or even Creole, both are spoken heavily in the Caribbean. Other characters that have yet to be cast, like Mags, could still be cast with people of varying backgrounds. Chaff for one, is written plainly as black, and many speculate that Beetee and Wiress are Asian.

      Is it November, 2013 yet?

      1. I think that’s such an interesting observation that I hadn’t thought about — The Hunger Games being post-heritage, with no ties to other districts or the past. Heritage can be such a huge part of one’s identity, and the last thing Panem wants is for its people to develop any sense of identity beyond “I’m a coal miner, my parents were coal miners, and that’s the way it goes.”

  7. Thanks for this article. I’m sick of people arguing about this (“this” being Johanna’s race).

    And if you burst into tears when Jena is cast as Johanna what’ll you do if Armie gets Finnick?!?!?!?

  8. What’s annoying is you and everyone else who keeps saying, “Johanna’s race wasn’t specified so it’s okay for her to be white!” are just completely missing the point. It’s not that people are mad Johanna isn’t black, but that this is just another character in a long list of characters within this series alone that have ambiguous racial identities, but are then cast as white actors. It’s as if white is the default.

    There is no real reason why Johanna can’t be white, but on the flipside there is no reason why they couldn’t have cast a POC actor as well. And the fact that it very rarely happens that way (Cinna is one of what, 6?7? ambiguous characters in this film, and so far, has not had a major role in the films), is what people consider problematic. ESPECIALLY when you consider that these films are set in the far future, where race is hardly even a concept anymore because most people are racially mixed–hence, the reason why Collins left these characters skin colors in the first place.

    1. I will never believe that they cast people by default by their skin color. If you want to believe that, go for it, I for one think they cast people for what they bring to the table in their talent, not their ethnic, racial, cultural background. Johanna’s role has been offered to a reputable, talented, seasoned actress, and I for one could care less that she’s white. If they got Catalina for the role, I’d be happy with that too, bottom line for me has, and always will be talent, not race.

      1. “I will never believe that they cast people by default by their skin color.”

        ….Lol are you kidding? This is the franchise that specifically sought out a white actress for the lead role, and you’re choosing to believe race has nothing to do with it?

        And I would think that even if you choose to believe “they cast the best actor” (though I wouldn’t know why you would, considering how upfront Hollywood is with it’s effed up racial politics), at some point you would start to ask yourself why all the so called “best actors” are white.

    2. I was on the Catalina train pretty hard before this announcement, but it kinda of baffles me that you think Johanna specifically NEEDS to be a POC. Hunger Games society is post-racial and many characters are described as racially ambiguous (though Johanna is not really one of them– she’s just not described at all), and you’re response to that is to say Lionsgate shouldn’t be considering white actors? Do you see why this is also unfair?

      From the rumored auditions, at the very least, it seems like Lionsgate considered actresses with different ethnic backgrounds and overall, chose the best actress for the role. Would you rather they chose someone who didn’t portray the character as well simply because they were not white?

      1. Can you please show me where I said white actors shouldn’t be considered? I’m confused about where you are making that assumption.

        Also: Why is it so hard for people to have nuanced discussions about race? The issue is more complex than “she should have been black!!’ like you guys insinuate. When you are dealing with a movie that takes place in a distant future where races have comingled to such an extent that race itself is a thing of the past, yet the MAJORITY of the actors–especially the leads–are white, the topic of race is going to come up. The lack of opportunity for poc actors is going to come up. It has to. And that’s not a bad thing. You can still enjoy a text while recognizing that hey, the fact that there is documented preference for white actors in this post-racial movie is kind of messed up. Boiling down legitimate concerns to “you’re just a whiny teenage blogger!” like some have done below (btw I’m 21), or “you’re just mad your fancast didn’t get it!” (I didn’t have a specific actor in mind for Johanna) is just insulting.

    3. If you’re saying that POC actresses should have been chosen because the society is post-racial and the hiring of a white actress is problematic, aren’t you saying they shouldn’t hire a white actress?

      It would be all well and good if it was mostly nuanced discussion about race around the Internet, but the the majority of it is not. It’s two things.

      One: People claiming that hiring a white actress is a racial conspiracy theory. While I don’t deny that Hollywood doesn’t have the best track record in all cases (the casting call for Katniss was a shining example of that idiocy, though I love Jennifer Lawrence and couldn’t picture anyone else there.) However, if the rumors hold any weight, there were a lot of actresses who auditioned for Johanna and not all of them were white. There are lots of people saying Jena was only given the role because she is white, which is a huge insult to her tremendous acting ability. The role of Johanna will probably be pretty small in the film, when you think of all they have to squeeze into 2 1/2 hours of less, so I doubt the studio had reservations about making a “lead” a POC. Everyone wants to turn it into a conspiracy, but does anyone ever stop to think that maybe Jena just out-acted everyone else who auditioned, regardless of race, or do they assume that the white candidate couldn’t possibly do that?

      Two: People stereotyping Johanna as a minority because she has an attitude problem, then implying that anyone who disagrees with them is a racist because they don’t believe Johanna could be white and still have a serious ‘tude. Suggesting to them that Johanna could be ANYTHING besides their fancast makes anyone and everyone a racist. These are the people who fall more into the whiny teenage blogger crowd, because frankly they’ve got their head stuck so far into the mud they believe that anyone who disagrees with them is discriminating.

      All we’re saying is that Johanna could be any race, that actresses with different backgrounds were considered, and Jena Malone was chosen because she’s a really solid actress, not simply because the Hollywood media is conspiring against minorities.

  9. I agree with the poster of this article. Everyone just needs to calm down… Of course the cast won’t match your “dream cast” or the way you pictured them in your head… It would be impossible to satisfy everyone so the cast is what the crew sees to fit based on acting ability and basic looks. So everyone please just calm down and enjoy the movies. Damn.

    1. Thank you! Hopefully people will get off the anger train to anger town, and learn to love the cast as they are slowly announced to the public, regardless of their racial/cultural/ethnic background.

  10. I think it’s more of people complaining because their idol didn’t get cast. I’ve seen so many people say “OMG SHE’S NOT HOW I IMAGINED HER! WHO IS JENA MALONE? I’VE NEVER HEARD OF HER!!” once again the human population jumping to conclusion that because they don’t physically resemble their imagined up character, that they’re wrong for the role. Look at the ridicule Jennifer got when she got cast as Katniss and those same people worshiping her now.

    We don’t know who auditioned, whatever happens in that audition rooms is only between those who were in there. They cast Amandla as Rue, rightfully so, and people still complained! I firmly believe they are casting based on who they deem best fit the role and have rightfully earned so. I give them the benefit of the doubt because anyone who questions their casting in the first movie, clearly don’t know what they’re talking about.

    I don’t care if they cast someone with purple skin with horns growing out of their head and gigantic wings. He/she can act and portray the role, that’s the most important thing.

    1. You’re probably right, and it’s a suspicion I’ve been harbouring for awhile, that people who are pissed about Jena being cast, are pissed because she’s not Naya, or Mila. But honestly, I for one don’t think Mila Kunis was interested in the project, and likely turned down the offer to audition or even read the script/sides. And Naya, I don’t think she got an audition, sure she was vocal about wanting the role, but that may have been the kiss of death for her. Jena was an idea I had for the role a long time ago, but I never thought they’d go for her, because she is so experienced, I could have only dreamed that they’d pick someone who comes with a resume as interesting as hers. And those who have never heard of her, shame on them for being so bloody ignorant, because she’s been in some pretty big films, and not in parts that people could ignore. Lyida Bennet is not a character you can ignore, Gretchen from Donnie Darko is not a character you can ignore, and if they’ve never seen those films– frankly I feel sorry for them.

      What I think we all have to keep remembering is that majority of people who are being vocal about their not liking casting now and even in the past quick to judge, and probably very young. I don’t know how young you are, but I’m not so… good on you if you are a teen and you think people are being asshats about all of this race shite, because when push comes to shove, picking the best talent in the room is most likely the way they are going, not skin color.

      1. That’s very true. The most vocal among the online community are usually among the teenage population. Yes, I am among them and it is frustrating reading the ridiculous things they post. However, I shouldn’t hold that against them because I was once like that and it’s just something you grow out of.

        I think they need to understand that Naya is tied to Glee and it’s tough for TV stars to star in blockbuster movie franchises because of scheduling conflicts. Also the fact that not everyone wants to be tied to franchise which will dictate future jobs and what you can and cannot take for years. So much more goes into the casting process that people don’t even realize. The first thing they pinpoint and blame solely on is race, which is absolutely ridiculous.

  11. The matter is tricky, and I don’t think I’ll articulate it well, but here goes.
    Diversity is not the media’s strong point. Many roles that could or should be played by actors of color are given to white actors. And it is naive to say that roles will be given to the most talented actor, when in many cases, race is a strong determining factor (media bigwigs don’t think POC in prominent roles will make money). A lot of fans think that since many THG characters are described in racially ambiguous terms, why not cast POC in those roles? Although I love Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, it was problematic that the casting call was for white actors only. I’m not saying that Jena Malone doesn’t deserve the role of Johanna–I’m sure she’ll be great–but I’m not saying that the concerns of fans regarding race are bad.

    As for people stereotyping Johanna as the spicy Latina, Cinna as the sensitive gay white guy, etc. That’s a different issue.

    1. But see, the auditioning process for Johanna, according to media reports, seems to be different. They’ve considered a smorgasbord of different actresses, not all of whom were white. To say that Jena Malone was ONLY chosen because she was white, especially when she’s proven herself to be a talented actress, is a little too racial conspiracy theory-ish for me and also a HUGE insult to her. Not to mention that most of the people putting her down aren’t even familiar with her, they just don’t like the way she looks.

      Not saying that Hollywood is always fair when it comes to racial issues, but we genuinely believe this was a case of Lionsgate choosing the best actress in our current NON post-racial world after auditioning several actresses rather than trying to favor white people, which is what fans seem to take it as (though you seem much more reasonable than them, mind you!) Also, when you consider the breakdown of the story and how much we really see Johanna, I wouldn’t even consider this a lead role.

      The fancast stereotyping is part of this problem, though. Not a separate issue. People who stereotype Johanna as black or Latina are very upset that she is not, but a lot of their opinions are based on the idea that only a minority actress could pull off the attitude because they think minorities are the only people who can be that fiesty. It’s really fucked up, when you think about it.

      1. I can’t help thinking how weird this whole discussion is. Not the one here at Victors Village, that oasis of fairly intelligent life forms, but the racial fancasting discussions. Of course I’m sort of ancient. At one point I was deeply in love with Sidney Poitier after I saw him as Inspector Tibbs in “In the Heat of the Night” and when he starred in the super-controversial film “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” I couldn’t understand why any woman would not want to marry this guy. My ‘Black Irish’ family, on the other hand, was less enthused with racial integration but ultimately welcomed Latinos, Asians and Jews into the family. It would be sad if, as a Nation, we are moving backwards.

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