Hatred Over ‘Hunger’

Amandla Stenberg as Rue in 'The Hunger Games'

I haven’t seen The Hunger Games.

I haven’t read The Hunger Games.

In fact, I had never heard of The Hunger Games until news about the casting started hitting the web. The concept seemed interesting enough, but wasn’t something I felt I had to see – completely unlike The Avengers, which I’m practically foaming at the mouth to lay my peepers on. But back to the subject…

The movie opened recently and, as expected, made a shit-ton of money – $152,535,747 to be exact. What wasn’t expected, though, was the shit storm that followed, focused primarily on the appearance of one of the book’s most popular characters – Rue – played in the film by 13-year-old Amandla Stenberg. Apparently, a much too sizable number of viewers weren’t aware that Rue was, for all intents and purposes, Black.  Or could be; the book describes Rue and her people as being dark, having brown skin and eyes. If these angry viewers read the book (which they apparently had, or else why be so upset about Rue’s race?), how did they miss that description? Are they – are we all – so programmed to see white as the default that it’s there even in the face of overwhelmingly contradictory evidence? I’ve been cognizant of the “white default” for a long time, and what this recent dust-up makes crystal clear is that this idea is more than mere speculation.

It is, apparently, an unmitigated fact.

For an excellent outline of the entire Hunger Games controversy, check out this piece from The New Yorker. It’s an enlightening – if not distressing – read.

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (2012)

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson

Director: Gary Ross

Genre: action, sf, thriller

Trailer The Hunger Games

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