Saturday, March 31, 2012
Saturday Discussions: Race and Racism in YA
Now, this topic idea is stemming from all the racist remarks that the African American cast of The Hunger Games is getting. I was reading several articles about it on E! News and was completely disgusted by what people have been Tweeting.
One person wrote "why does rue have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined the movie". Another tweeted "why did the producer make all the good characters black".
There was another example given too: "call me racist but when i found out rue was black her death wasn't as sad #ihatemyself."
Of course, you know by know that these Tweets were directed at the young actress who played Rue as well as Thresh and Cinna. May I be the first here to say WHAT THE HELL? I've said it before and I'll say it again until I'm blue in the face, THE INTERNET DOES NOT FORGET. Just because you can hide behind anonymity doesn't give you the right to treat people rudely. I mean, you are talking about a 13 year old girl and not judging the merit of her acting talents but making states based solely on the color of her skin.
So here's where the book part comes in. I have to admit that when I read The Hunger Games, I didn't picture Rue and Thresh as African American. I pictured them as either Chinese or Indian. Call me crazy all you want. I'm not here to argue about their race, I'm just here to tell you what I thought. Cinna was a 24 year old white man in my head. But when the movie casting news came out and I saw who they cast in the roles, it didn't bother me. I thought they did an awesome job selecting the right people for the right roles, even if they aren't how I pictured them when I read the books. These feelings were justified when I went and saw the movie.
Rue doesn't have a lot of screen time but little Amandla Stenberg makes every second count with an honest and believable portrayal of Rue. I too didn't feel as sad when Rue died but it is because Katniss and Rue didn't get enough screen time together to make her death have as much of an impact as it was in the book.
Seriously though, to complain about the choices of characters based solely on the color of their skin is complete bullshit and I am shocked that that trash is still around. I love reading articles and novels that highlight different cultures and races. I think that the YA community is changing this with each new story at a time and I'm glad for it.
What do you guys think about this? Do you know any good books that highlight different races or cultures? Sound off in the comments!