Commentary: How The Hunger Games Fallout Foretells a Racist Future

It may be just a movie for tweens, but the ignorant reactions of many following the release of the film adaptation of the post-apocalyptic movie should give you nightmares.

Posted: 03/27/2012 02:10 PM EDT
Hunger Games, global news, Amandla Stenberg, celebrity news, movies

The insanely racist tweets about Black actors being cast for some of the most beloved roles in The Hunger Games are, of course, ridiculous. But when you consider that most of the comments came from children, they suddenly change from ridiculous to terrifying.

 

Ironically enough, the entire plotline ofThe Hunger Games centers around children placed in brutal situations children should never have to face — in essence, behaving like adults. Now, instead of brushing off the reactions of the few fans bold enough to make racist statement via Twitter, the country should use the words of its young people to examine itself and the future we may have lying ahead.

 

Despite being described in the book as having dark hair and dark skin, the character Rue caused one of the biggest casting upsets when viewers realized she would be played by biracial teen Amandla Stenberg.

 

One fan posted, "Ewwww rue is black?? I'm not watching," and another said, “Sense when has Rue been a n------r.”

 

Still, another lamented he could no longer feel compassion for Stenberg’s character because of her skin color.

 

WARNING: Spoiler Alert Ahead

 

“Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn’t as sad #ihatemyself.”

 

Sitting in the theater Sunday night, clutching my tissues, I looked around and wondered why I seemed to be the only one bawling after the cherubic child was killed. Now I understand. They probably didn’t care because she was Black.

 

In elementary school, when I was called a n----r by one of my white classmates who I’d previously assumed was my good friend, my mother explained to me that, as a child, my classmate couldn’t possibly have understood the deep ramifications of what she had done, but was merely repeating something she’d obviously heard at home.

 

I know my mother's words were meant to comfort me, but they have always haunted me, because from then on I always felt that racism would never be able to die out if children were constantly fed a diet of hate by the very people who are raising them to be adults.

 

It's very clear that the people who tweeted the myriad ignorant comments are young people. And what has become clear by their public commentary is that not only does racist thinking exist today, but racism can haunt us well into the future.

It is impossible to think about how race affected people’s reaction to the death of the fictitious character of little Rue and not think of Trayvon Martin and the countless other young men and women whose lives were considered expendable because of their skin color. For, if you can’t weep for the death of a frail, angelic little girl, how easily can you accept the killing of a “suspicious,” hoodie-clad young Black man?

 

 

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

 

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(Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

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