The thing no one seems to mention in all these discussions of race in the Hunger Games is that Katniss, the protagonist, is not white in the text. Sure, Jennifer Lawrence is super white, but in the text Katniss has dark gray eyes, she has black hair, she has olive-hued skin. She ain't white.
Race is a subtle thing, surprisingly, in the Hunger Games. Most of the capitol citizens when their race is alluded to, are white. Most of the tributes (the kids forced to battle to the death) when they are described, are described as people of color.
But apparently a lot of fans of the books miss these details. And a lot of them were furious when one of the tributes, the young and innocent little-sister-stand-in Rue was played by an african-american actress.
The New Yorker takes its time with the story.
The Book Bench: White Until Proven Black: Imagining Race in Hunger Games : The New Yorker
Like the conversations found on message boards, some of the opinions were vitriolic, if not blatantly racist; unlike the postings on fan forums, however, the Twitter comments were usually attached to real identities.
“Naturally Thresh would be a black man,” tweeted someone who called herself @lovelyplease.
“I was pumped about the Hunger Games. Until I learned that a black girl was playing Rue,” wrote @JohnnyKnoxIV.
“Why is Rue a little black girl?” @FrankeeFresh demanded to know. (she appended her tweet with the hashtag admonishment #sticktothebookDUDE.)
Adam was shocked—Suzanne Collins had been fairly explicit about the appearance, if not the ethnicity, of Rue and Thresh, who, along with twenty-two other kids, are thrown into the life-or-death, Lord of the Flies-esque battle that the book is named for. He began taking screen grabs of the offensive tweets and posting them to Instagram. Adam soon decided that Instagram’s functionality was too limited for his purposes—users can look at the photos of people they follow but can’t easily share them—so he played around with different social-media technologies and switched to Tumblr, which, like Twitter, allows users to reblog the posts of people they follow, thereby exponentially broadening their reach.
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