Racial backlash against “The Hunger Games” film uncalled for


By Regina Love

A movie poster for "The Hunger Games" features Rue. Amanda Stenberg, age 13, was recently seen in "Colombiana" as Young Cataleya.

Among the praises for the recent release of the first movie in The Hunger Games trilogy there has been a lot of negativity. Millions of readers anticipated the release of the adaptation of the book, but what most people didn’t see coming was the racial backlash going around on the web because of the black actors cast to play characters from the books.

For many people the three characters that were played by the black actors were spot on with the book, but for many others this is not how the readers pictured them in the books by Suzanne Collins. In the movie there are three black characters Rue, Thresh, and Cinna, and in the book there are two, Rue and Thresh. Cinna’s race was never specified in the books, so it was open for interpretation. Lenny Kravitz was cast to play Cinna and he did a very good job.

What people fail to realize is that District 11 is the agriculture district meaning they farm. It is absolutely impossible to stay stark white when you are in the sun all hours of sunlight everyday. Rue and thresh were meant to be dark skinned but how dark does not matter. Really. It doesn’t. When you take into consideration the fact that Suzanne Collins was an assistant writer for the movie and assisted in many things throughout, you can say she definitely intended the characters to be portrayed as “black”.

Jamilah George, the Loy Norrix college advisor said, “I haven’t read the books, but if the book specifies dark skin why would you expect something different?” The book describes Rue as “. . . a twelve-year-old girl from District 11. She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that’s she’s very like Prim in size and demeanor…”  Thresh is described as having “. . . the same dark skin as Rue, but the resemblance stops there.”  Jamilah George also said “ I don’t understand the issue here, if anything, they weren’t dark enough.” I agree. When I think of “dark skin” I think of a person with dark chocolate brown skin, Rue’s character could be considered very light.

The racial backlash is unwarranted and may eventually die down with the continuation of the movies because there are no longer any “black” main characters, but who knows. Had there not been any black actors cast in this movie, people would have complained about the movie then same as they are now, saying the movie was “racist” for not casting black actors.

The movie was an excellent adaptation from the book and was the third highest grossing film behind “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II” and “The Dark Knight”. The Hunger Games earned over 155 million in the box office and was outstanding but all people can seem to remember was that there were three black characters.

The response to this movie is a national reflection of how far we have come and how far we still have to go towards cultural acceptance. It is 2012 and we are still hung up on “black” people being around.