Hungry For Sanity: Race Issues In Film

Although I have yet to see the film version of the Hunger Games, I am a big fan of the book series. And for the last time, IT IS NOT TWILIGHT. I enjoyed the book for its quick pace, unique story idea and its fleshed out characters. It is that last part that I want to focus on. I love Jennifer Lawrence and rightly she can has been getting a lot of attention lately. Not as much however as Amandla Stenberg and Lenny Kravitz. Rather than focusing on the talents of these two (which is what should be done when reviewing a film), bizarrely, Kravitz and Sternberg (who is only 13 years old) have become the targets of racist tweets. Die-hard fans seem to be appalled that Cinna a little Rue are portrayed by black actors. Perhaps the most shocking was “Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn’t as sad,” with the added hashtag #ihatemyself. Did these fans even read the book? Rue (and her fellow District 11 tribute) are described as black in the book. What is all the fuss about?

It seems, a lot of the time, that filmmakers cannot win. In the awful 2010 film, The Last Airbender, director M. Night Shyamalan was ridiculed for casting a white American in the lead role of Aang. (This was warranted, as the name is clearly Asian and so is the character in the original animated series). To go back a year or two previously, Tropic Thunder was mocked for having Robert Downey Jr. in blackface for the majority of the film. (It should be pointed out that Tropic Thunder had the African-American Brandon T. Jackson and the Asian-American Brandon Soo Hoo in its main cast; clearly the joke was lost on people who are easily offended) Now Gary Ross is getting blasted for casting a black actor in a black role. So let me get this straight: First we criticize a film for not being racially diverse enough, then we criticize Hollywood for being too racially diverse? Maybe its because I’m Canadian, but I simply do not understand that logic.

So who is to blame for this racist stupidity. Parents? The Media? Yes and no. While deep down both those are partially responsible, they are not the sole cause of this idiocy. No, we have no one to blame but our sorry-ass selves. Whether its because we’re uncultured, inherently bigoted, or just plain ignorant, we must do better at educating ourselves before we go on saying remarkably untrue facts. Unless, of course, you are a GOP candidate running for President. Then you wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing. The most important thing to keep in mind however is that the Hunger Games is a fictional story; it is a piece of art. Race shouldn’t matter. At all.
“Art never expresses anything but itself”

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