Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Hunger Games and Racist Fans

Last week, I went with my partner to see the new film The Hunger Games, based on the book of the same name by Suzanne Collins. While not a fan of YA literature in general, I read the series fairly quickly over the summer and was curious to see where the filmmakers would take the story. Although there had been doubts and accusations of racism on their part well before the film came out, I was willing to try to look beyond those issues and enjoy the final product. The movie was decent, with some issues here and there, but overall I was satisfied; however, not everyone was so happy with the filmmakers. Here's a small sampling of how people reacted to the casting of the character Rue:

If you have to preface something with the worry that you'll be called a racist, chances are what you're saying is some racist bullshit and maybe you shouldn't be saying it.

I'm so sorry the existence of black characters kinda ruined the movie for you. Not gonna lie it's horrible that the actress matches the description of Rue given in the book.

I was pumped about my day until I saw all these racist tweets. Again, the actress matches the description given in the book, which I'm assuming you read since you knew who Rue was beforehand. Why are you so surprised, then? It's astounding how many people have such poor basic (And critical) reading skills. She and Thresh are explicitly stated to have dark brown skin and eyes, work in a district where they and their peers are forced to harvest crops for the Capitol, and are whipped if they misbehave. That's a pretty overt reference to slavery.

Because young black girls can't be innocent, right? The fact that you immediately associated being white with innocence speaks to the larger sentiment of distrust and fear towards people of color in this country, a sentiment that can lead to tragedy as seen in the Trayvon Martin case.

There are many, many more examples out there, some with extremely hateful and racist language. The casual and public way in which people are espousing these racist statements is worrying to me, as it shows a level of ignorance and hate that is helping to reinforce negative aspects of our society. I was already disappointed in fans of the series after watching the movies (People were legitimately cheering at the deaths of certain characters. You know, kind of exactly like the Capitol citizens that you're supposed to despise for getting joy out of people's deaths?), but seeing this knee-jerk racism on the internet was the final straw. I could somewhat understand younger people not grasping the full message of the series, but posting racist messages online is not a matter of youthful ignorance. It is people not understanding basic human decency, respect, and equality.

Having said that, I don't think these people are inherently bad. Rather, I think that they are part of a system that condones and at times encourages this behavior; they need a lot of education on racial issues and on responsible posting online but that push-back can't come from random people blogging like I am right now. It needs to come from sources people will listen to: call out your peers, have discussions with your friends, take the initiative to educate yourself on issues like these.

Maybe if a larger amount people did that, the odds of a better society would be ever more in our favor.


  1. Thank you for this.

  2. GREATLY enjoyed your response to this hideous racism!

  3. Can't blame racism on a system anymore. Personal responsibility dictates that you own up to your beliefs. End the hate, learn to relate!

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  5. I have not read or seen the movie yet. Perhaps when reading the story, readers assumed the character was white? If these people truly believed the character was white, I can see their shock when the actress playing the character was black. This is not racist, just ignorance. Again I don't know anything about the movie, but all I see here are people trying to make a big deal out of something. This is why race relations are at their current state in the US. Sensationalism.