“The Hunger Games” and Racism Today

“The Hunger Games” became the third-best movie debut ever, with a $155 million opening weekend. To many people’s surprise, the movie also sparked a debate about racism on the internet. The movie is based on the first book of a three part series. Set in the future, the Capitol of the totalitarian nation of Panem, selects a boy and girl from each of the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television. The young adults and children are randomly selected by lottery to participate. The main character, 16-year-old Katniss volunteers herself for the Hunger Games when her younger sister Prim, 12 years of age, is selected. Katniss is matched up against others, some bigger and stronger individuals who have trained for the Hunger Games their whole lives.

"The Hunger Games," opening night on 23 March 2012

Since opening night on 23 March 2012, fans began to post their comments online. There were many racist comments made about the selection of actors and actresses to play the characters. In the book, author Suzanne Collins describes another main character Rue: “Up close she looks about ten. She has bright, dark eyes and satiny brown skin…” Looking at Amandla Stenberg, the talented young actress, she fits the description almost perfectly. Many of the racist comments came from people’s Twitter accounts. One tweet reads “Why does Rue have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined the movie.” Another tweet reads “Awkward moment when Rue is some black girl and not the innocent blonde girl you picture.”

Amandla Stenberg who plays Rue

Other characters in the movie, including Cinna played by Lenny Kravitz, are also played by actors of color. Among the many tweets, there were also some extremely upset bloggers who voiced their opinions as well. One blogger reportedly wrote “why did the producer make all the good characters black.” Another individual wrote “Kk call me racist but when i found out rue was black her death wasn’t as sad #ihatemyself.”

In a recent statement to Us Weekly, Amandla Stenberg addresses the fans “As a fan of the books, I feel fortunate to be part of ‘The Hunger Games’ family. It was an amazing experience. I am proud of the film and my performance. I want to thank all of my fans and the entire ‘Hunger Games’ community for their support and loyalty.” The debate will continue to unfold online as other’s respond to the racist comments, bringing more attention to the movie and the racism issue that still exists today.

To read more on “The Hunger Games” and the racist tweets visit the following websites:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/28/the-hunger-games-amandla-stenberg-respons-racists-tweets-rue_n_1386027.html

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/03/30/hunger-games-tweets-spur-debate-about-racism/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1392170/

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