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3.26.2012

Everyone Hates Rue


It was a good weekend for Hunger Games, setting a record of $155 million over the weekend. Suzanne Collins--like JK Rowling--is rolling in money, sleeping in money, wiping their asses with fifty-dollar bills. It's a happy time--except for Amandla Stenberg who plays the character Rue.

Fans of the book were outraged that she was a black girl, not the innocent blond white girl they had imagined. Here are plenty of pics of tweets from Hunger Game Tweets:






















This despite the passage from the book:



As the author of the blog states, this is troubling:

Here's what scares me…
All these… people… read the Hunger Games. Clearly, they all fell in love with and cared about Rue. Though what they really fell in love with was an image of Rue that they'd created in their minds. A girl that they knew they could love and adore and mourn at the thought of knowing that she's been brutally killed.
And then the casting is revealed (or they go see the movie) and they're shocked to see that Rue is black. Now… this is so much more than, "Oh, she's bigger than I thought". The reactions are all based on feelings of disgust.
These people are MAD that the girl that they cried over while reading the book was "some black girl" all along. So now they're angry. Wasted tears, wasted emotions. It's sad to think that had they known that she was black all along, there would have been [no] sorrow or sadness over her death.
There are MAJOR TIE-INS to these reactions and the injustices that we see around the world today. I don't even need to spell it out because I know that you're all a smart bunch.
This is a BIG problem. Think of all the murdered children. Think of all the missing children that get NO SCREEN TIME on the news.
It is NOT a coincidence.

Reading the tweets makes me shake with disgust--how can people be so...blantantly racist? It underlines the fact that we are far from living in a "post-racial" society. It shows that our imaginations are quite racist. It's assumed whiteness, unless obviously stated--as in, the author is nonwhite or the cover as nonwhite people (you would never mistake, for example, that the characters in the books of...say, Eric Jerome Dickey). Such books are considered niche, doomed to failure in the bigger scheme of publishing, or else tokenized, to be repeatedly compared to each other (She is like Alice Walker who is like Toni Morrison who is like Zora Neale Hurston). Part of the problem is minority literature has been continually ghettoized and historically been left out of the cannon. The cannon read in school is predomindently written by white, straight, male writers. Thus, readers are more prone to visualize characters as white, empathize with such white characters; meanwhile, minority characters are in the background, or else parodied or demeaned. Blatantly racism in the classics are tolerated--for example Jack London.

To make a point: the only black authors I was assigned to read in high school were: Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Langston Hughes. The only Latin@ writers I was assigned was Rudolfo Anaya and Richard Rodriguez. I read no Native American writer, nor Asian writers. I was in multiple English courses in high school, many of them Advanced Plancement. It was only in my own reading that I encountered them. Diversity in the literary cannon as taught in schools might not solve everything, but it's a necessary step. Heck, just make sure kids read as it helps them understand better the people around them, as this NY Times article shows.

What makes it more sad is that we're just weeks from the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

We are such disgusting people.

1 comment:

  1. And equally as bad, these people comment as though they are the biggest authority on the books, when their reading skills are so shallow they can't comprehend a small sentence of description.

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