I will freely admit to my love of The Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen is one of my favorite literary characters. One of my favorite parts of the book is that Susanna Collins had characters in the book who weren’t white. I know this sounds like a small thing but when someone white write a book, rarely do they include persons of color unless those people need to be of a different culture for a reason. I feel that Collins included people of color in her stories because they exist in the world, why wouldn’t they in this future she created?
When I heard about the books being made into movies I was ecstatic because I love movies just as much as I love books. I was excited to see the characters in the book come to life. Granted, I wouldn’t have cast Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, partially because I didn’t know who she was, now that I have seen the movie, she is, without a doubt, Katniss Everdeen. After I saw the movie last week, I felt relief and a bit of pride. Most the movie looked the way I pictured it in my head. It felt good to be a Hunger Games fan. At least until this week.
When I heard about the fandom reaction to the persons of color who were cast in the movie, I was, lets say, a jumble of emotions. I was confused how these readers could have missed the explicit descriptions of the characters in the book. I was hurt that young people have these views in this century. I was irate that people dare be angry they cared about someone with skin a different color than theirs. I wanted to talk to each of those people, ask them why those characters had to be white and why did they think it was okay to think this way.
I say think because a lot of people voice the negativity they feel about other races to their friends or people of their same race. Rarely will someone of the same race call out someone of the same race for making negative remarks about another culture or race. as uncomfortable as it would be, I feel this is a key action in unseating racism in someone’s mind and heart. Unless someone who is white holds accountable a white person when they say racist things, that white person will never think they are wrong. The same goes for every other culture on the planet.
Until we take a stand to change the way we think, racism will always be apart of our culture. I’m afraid that too often, we either agree with those negative remarks or feel it is not our place to say something which is completely untrue. We don’t stand up for racial inequality in private, why wouldn’t we in public?
Also, here is an interesting blog post on negative fandom reactions to black women. Be sure to get into some of the comments as the people who are replying are making some serious points.