Tumblr page for Racebending.com - Media Consumers for Entertainment Equality.

Please feel free to browse our tumblr page for the latest community-sourced information about media representation in Hollywood.

    jurgan asked
    Thanks for the in-depth response. "Olive-skin" is a term I don't really remember hearing growing up, so I wasn't clear what it meant. In other words, it's uncertain, but given the location the characters were, there should have been more of a mix? No doubt my white privilege is showing, because I read all three books and didn't even think about this. Thanks for giving me a new perspective.

    Answer:

    If there isn’t more of a mix then it kind of means that the bad guys in Suzanne Collins’s books killed almost all of the Asians, non-white Latin@s, Native Americans, etc. and rounded up a lot of the black folks and stuck them in the worst District.  

    I mean, you’d have to really lack self awareness about the verisimilitude of your setting to write a story in the dystopic American future and only center it around white folks, right?

    jurgan asked
    The post about Hunger Games really confused me. A lot of those "olive-skinnned" women looked white to me. That's no excuse for the casting call saying Katniss HAD TO be white, but if all the book says is "olive-skinned," does that necessarily mean she isn't white?

    Answer:
    • If all the book says is “olive-skinned,” does that necessarily mean [Katniss] isn’t white?
    • If all the book says is “[golden] skin” does that necessarily mean [Finnick] isn’t white?
    • If all the book says is “[dark] skin” does that necessarily mean [Rue] isn’t white?

    If only people spent less time focusing on which characters could be white and more time focusing on characters that could be people of color…media would be a much more diverse place.  

    Even though the books describe a class divide based on physical appearances where the blonde and fair skinned Merchant class faces less oppression than the olive skinned and black haired Seam class, pretty much every single District 12 character described as having olive skin in the Hunger Games books was cast with a white actor.  Katniss.  Gale.  Haymitch.   Even the casting call for freaking Greasy Sae specified that the role had to be Caucasian.   

    Greasy Sae was in the film for all of two minutes and the role was still only available to white actors.    

    The Hunger Games is a book trilogy inspired by poverty and war.  It’s protagonist experienced discrimination from being differentially racialized from her light haired and light skinned family members and neighbors.   The protagonist was purposefully intended to have an Appalachian accent and to hail from an impoverished region of the United States where mixed raced American people known for their dark hair, olive skin, and grey eyes resided. An innocent black girl’s death propelled the hero’s journey.   It’s heroine waxed poetic about how her heteronormative lover’s blonde hair symbolizes rebirth.   It was supposed to contain some deep commentary about media literacy and how institutions of power craft images to manipulate public perception.  Talk about meta.  Did Collins really create a dystopian future America with the intention to focus solely on white characters (with a few black tokens thrown in to die in support of the white lady protagonist?)

    Please pass the olives.

thetrekkiehasthephonebox:

soybeverage:

i made a thing for all the ppl out there who think the hunger games wasn’t whitewashed 

excuse the multiple red lines; i usually write in french so that’s the language i had it set to when i made this

My favorite response to whitewashed Katniss is “But white people can have olive skintone too!!!”

The response is, of course, “But Jennifer Lawrence is not one of those people!”

Yeah, the reason Lionsgate refused to change the “Caucasian” only casting call is totally because some white people have olive skin, and not because they didn’t want to consider olive skinned PoC for the role.

Reblogged from emotionalexhib  1,048 notes

emotionalexhib:

Now watching the behind-the-scenes on The Hunger Games and I’m hearing all these white actors talking about being true to the book and all of these white directors and producers and CASTING DIRECTORS talking about being true to the book.

No POCs asked to audition for Katniss or Gale, who are both olive skinned in the books. And they keep saying “we wanted to stay true to the books” bla bla bla.

They were true to the books about everything else, and honestly I really love the film, and the performances are great and I’m looking forward to the sequel but there’s really SO MUCH HYPOCRISY about what they’re saying.

It just makes me sad, because they really did an amazing job on the movie but there’s this glaring stain on it. The other sad thing is that I almost can’t blame them for it. We’re all so deeply buried in this racist system that says that WHITE IS THE DEFAULT FOR MAIN CHARACTERS IN ALL OF EVERYTHING that so many people don’t think about it, and people who have the power to change that perception don’t try because they just want to keep their jobs half the time.

Early on in the casting process, our organization wrote multiple letters and emails and even spoke to the production over the phone with one simple request:   Change the casting call to allow actors of color to audition for Katniss, too.

That was it.   We didn’t say: “Katniss has to be a woman of color.”   We didn’t say: “A white actress can’t play Katniss.”   All we said was open up the casting pool a little bit and give actors from all ethnic backgrounds an equal chance.  Heck, even call your casting “colorblind.”   Don’t only ask for “Caucasian” girls.   See more than just white actors and then decide who is best for the role.

They said no.

Reblogged from fandomforequality  3,601 notes
fandomforequality:

White Until Proven Minority
By Lauren Anthony

It’s nothing new that western society tends to default everyone to white until proven otherwise. This is most common in books and radio shows where there isn’t a visual representation of the character in front of the audience. If a character isn’t explicitly stated as being a person of color, most people just assume the character is white. Things can get complicated when the actor portraying the character is a person of color but passes for white or if a character was incorrectly read by many people as white.

Read the full article at Fandom For Equality

fandomforequality:

White Until Proven Minority

By Lauren Anthony

It’s nothing new that western society tends to default everyone to white until proven otherwise. This is most common in books and radio shows where there isn’t a visual representation of the character in front of the audience. If a character isn’t explicitly stated as being a person of color, most people just assume the character is white. Things can get complicated when the actor portraying the character is a person of color but passes for white or if a character was incorrectly read by many people as white.

Read the full article at Fandom For Equality

Reblogged from gemmaworthington  215 notes

A few thoughts on the Catching Fire promo posters

onetraveller:

As the release date gets closer, we’re being flooded with releases of trailers and promos and posters of Catching Fire! Yes. Very exciting. We get pictures of so many of the tributes! Katniss, Peeta, Finnick, Johanna, Beetee, Wiress, Mags! Oh wait, there’s more! Cashmere … and Gloss? Yeah. Those characters that are killed in the first half of the book. Who maybe have 10 lines? Descriptions and dialogue included. Missing is, Seeder and Chaff. Katniss’s allies. Haymitch’s best friend. Seeder who is described: “The woman, Seeder, looks almost like she could be from the Seam, with her olive skin and straight black hair streaked with silver. Only her golden brown eyes mark her as from another district.” Seeder and Chaff are from District 11 - thus, we all assume she’s a PoC. Both Seeder and Chaff have been cast by black actors. (Funny, isn’t it, how Seeder is supposed to look like she could be from the Seam? How Katniss, Gale and Haymitch look like they’re from the Seam. All black hair, olive skin … oh … wait.) Seeder and Chaff also the only two main victors bizzarely missing from a series of posters that deemed Gloss and Cashmere important enough to be in it (never mind the fact that the most we know about them was that they were very blonde and very pretty). Enobaria is there you say! She’s a PoC. Yes. Yes. Enobaria is there. Enobaria with her sharp, jagged, fang-like teeth as her only defining characteristic. 

I, too, with so many others would have loved to see Finnick and Johanna casted as PoC. I’m really glad they casted Jeffrey Wright as Beetee. But you know what I really wish? That they had cast the actual main characters as PoC - as they were described in the book. 

theneverlandarchitect:

books-and-mylife:

District 2

Kiss my ass, guys. Seriously? Why, of all of the tributes, did the only woman of color in the /entire set/ have to be the one with the fangs? She looks and is described as positively savage. Why did that automatically generate a brown person in the eyes of producers? Why couldn’t Meta Goulding have played Johanna and Jenna Malone been the one with the fangs? Did it not “look right”? Ask yourself that. 

Because this pisses me off. Look at her.

The casting of this trilogy has fallen along warped racial lines from the beginning but people eat it up.

I have found the whistler, a wizened old man in a faded red shirt and overalls. His eyes meet mine.  What happens next is not an accident. It is too well executed to be spontaneous, because it happens in complete unison. Every person in the crowd presses the three middle fingers of their left hand against their lips and extends them to me. It’s our sign from District 12, the last good-bye I gave Rue in the arena.

Reblogged from amethystarcher  106 notes

amethystarcher:

part of the reason Katniss isn’t white to me is people thinking she and Gale were cousins

not because people who are unrelated can’t look alike

but because white people so often think PoC who are unrelated look exactly alike or all the same or whatever

do you know how many people think there are tons of pretty East Asian women who all look the same

or think that anyone from any race that isn’t white could look plausibly related within their race just because they’re PoC

people believing Gale and Katniss had to somehow be related just indicates to me that “Seam” was a race separate from whiteness, and that the people of the seam often looked the same and interchangeable to them

Reblogged from nestofstraightlines  5,446 notes
nestofstraightlines:

racebending:

nestofstraightlines:

alisonofagun:

alemonlemoned:

michelleeeeen:

averagesparrow:

iconsidermyself:

Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress and she did a wonderful job in the role of Katniss. That being said, I would have preferred a biracial actress to play this part because I can think of so few heroines with “olive colored skin” that when one finally appears she ought not to be white washed.
(spoilers) Think how much more incredible the scene where Katniss covers Rue in flowers would have been if Katniss and Rue were both women of color. Think how much more powerful it would be if it weren’t a white woman mourning the loss of a black woman. (We’ve seen that before. We’ve seen privileged characters learn from less privileged ones.) Think how amazing it would be for women of color to see themselves represented in every scene that Rue and Katniss share. The Hunger Games has already shown itself to be an incredibly popular film. Just imagine if such a successful film contained scenes which included only actresses of color. I would trade in Jennifer Lawrence’s performance for that.

ALL OF THIS.
Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress and a lovely human being and normally I would be very happy to see a movie that features her. But that image of two women of color bonding, helping each other, impacting each others lives? We need that. As a people. With the way they cast this movie we have three notable characters (Rue, Thresh, and Cinna) playing the role of the Black Best Friend to a white person. And that’s so old. So tired. We need to show people of color as people. Not just as a White Person’s Little Helper.

I understand and appreciate the criticisms previously mentioned, but in defense of the movie, it’s set far into the future. That could mean that all people during that time period are equally oppressed by The Capitol. Sure color blindness doesn’t exist in this day in age, but when an entire nation is being oppressed by one super force of a government, a black person’s struggle is equal to the white person’s struggle. Not to mention each came from communities seemingly entirely composed of people of their own race, which means that they wouldn’t have experience white privilege in Katniss’s district because everyone was white. There was class segregation based on profession in District 12 but no room for race segregation or disadvantage. My thoughts are all hypothetical and forgive me for playing devil’s advocate but the movie is based on the book which is set way in the future. 

The problem is that the audience the book/movie is intended for are NOT from the future, which means that all of the problems of today’s movie industry (whitewashing roles, intentionally restricting casting calls to only white actors and actresses - which happened when casting Katniss, etc) are always relevant. Again, as said: “I would have preferred a biracial actress to play this part because I can think of so few heroines with “olive colored skin” that when one finally appears she ought not to be white washed.” The lack of POC characters in our media, more particularly those portrayed in a positive light and as heroes instead of supporting roles, is always a relevant and important issue and a byproduct of a society with institutionalized racism. 
Other important points were already expressed in the original commentary. 

“That could mean that all people during that time period are equally oppressed by The Capitol. Sure color blindness doesn’t exist in this day in age, but when an entire nation is being oppressed by one super force of a government, a black person’s struggle is equal to the white person’s struggle.”
Oh my god, did we even read the same book? The Hunger Games has an explicitly racial dimension. The conditions of District 11 is a recreation of enslavement—everything from its geographic location (U.S. American South, based on the fact that it borders Appalachia and you take a train south to get there) to the type of labor they are made to do to (fieldwork) the way the people are punished (that would be brutally, with whips.) Then there’s dichotomy established between the way the Black intellectually disabled boy was treated (i.e. he was murdered) versus the way the intellectually disabled boy from District 12 was treated (“like a pet.”)
“Not to mention each came from communities seemingly entirely composed of people of their own race, which means that they wouldn’t have experience white privilege in Katniss’s district because everyone was white. There was class segregation based on profession in District 12 but no room for race segregation or disadvantage.”
Everyone in District 12 WAS NOT WHITE. DISTRICT 12 WAS EXPLICITLY SEGREGATED BY RACE. The people made to do dangerous physical labor (the coal miners of the Seam) are all olive skinned and dark haired, and they routinely starve to death. The white people in District 12 were also oppressed by the Capitol, but they were definitely privileged over the people of color in the Seam.

While I understand the sentiment of this, isn’t it a massive stretch to call book-Katniss a woman of colour? She is described as ‘olive-skinned’ which is certainly racially ambiguous. People have used the term to describe me, and I’m white British. Equally, it could refer to someone of, for example, Central American descent.
But isn’t any racial ambiguity there might have been cleared up by the fact that Katniss has a blonde little sister pretty? Since Katniss and Prim share the same genetics (they’re not from different marriages or anything) this makes the Everdeen sisters pretty unambiguously white, right?
Please correct me if I’ve missed something here. I totes agree that there’s racial subtext in The Hunger Games. And I certainly would have been all in favour of them casting Katniss as a person of colour in the film (and doing the same with Prim, to make sense). There are plenty of good arguments in favour of that casting - I just don’t see that authenticity to the book is one of them.

Race in Panem does not perfectly match up to race in the United States in modern times (racial categories are socially constructed) but Katniss experiences differential racialization for resembling someone from the Seam even if she is half-Merchant. Meanwhile, her sister Prim is able to be “passing.” (This is common in mixed race families where some kids may look more white than others, while others have darker or olive skin.) In that sense, Katniss doesn’t have access to the Merchant racial privilege that Prim or Peeta have. And she talks about this a lot. There are also scenes in the book where Katniss compares her skintone to that of people from Rue’s district, District 11. That and I mean, come on, Panem is some sort of future dystopic North America, and all of the heroes are white?

Fair enough. I see your point about racial identification. Skin tone is something Katniss brings up a fair bit in connection with her identity and how she relates to others. Just because it doesn’t match our present catergories of racial catergorisation doesn’t mean it’s any less divisive in the world of Panem.
Your whole reply makes a lot of sense - except I don’t get your last line there.
No one said anything about all the heroes being white, though - in the canon of the books, Rue is explicitly black and Thresh (if you can count him as a ‘hero’). And the film cast Cinna black too. So I’m not sure who has ever claimed that ”all of the heroes are white”. I certainly didn’t - I just pointed out a perceived flaw in the logic of saying Katniss is canonically non-white (and I see your argument on that front).
Neither do I think that because there are a couple of non-white heroes, the film gets a pass on the race front. All I’m saying is that not all of the heroes are white. And if people read a racially segregated society in The Hunger Games (which I can see, yeah) then surely it makes SENSE that there’s not much POC visibility in that world? Of course, if the film was taking this line it ought to support it with actually explaining this idea a bit. Otherwise it’s just another film with low POC visibility because that’s the world Hollywood lives in.

I can’t think of a single character of color in The Hunger Games films that will be in and survive all three movies.  I can think of several white characters who will be in and survive all three movies.  I suppose one could quibble about the definition of “hero,” but I’d argue that the actors in the lead heroic roles are the ones who are going to be in all three films.

nestofstraightlines:

racebending:

nestofstraightlines:

alisonofagun:

alemonlemoned:

michelleeeeen:

averagesparrow:

iconsidermyself:

Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress and she did a wonderful job in the role of Katniss. That being said, I would have preferred a biracial actress to play this part because I can think of so few heroines with “olive colored skin” that when one finally appears she ought not to be white washed.

(spoilers) Think how much more incredible the scene where Katniss covers Rue in flowers would have been if Katniss and Rue were both women of color. Think how much more powerful it would be if it weren’t a white woman mourning the loss of a black woman. (We’ve seen that before. We’ve seen privileged characters learn from less privileged ones.) Think how amazing it would be for women of color to see themselves represented in every scene that Rue and Katniss share. The Hunger Games has already shown itself to be an incredibly popular film. Just imagine if such a successful film contained scenes which included only actresses of color. I would trade in Jennifer Lawrence’s performance for that.

ALL OF THIS.

Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress and a lovely human being and normally I would be very happy to see a movie that features her. But that image of two women of color bonding, helping each other, impacting each others lives? We need that. As a people. With the way they cast this movie we have three notable characters (Rue, Thresh, and Cinna) playing the role of the Black Best Friend to a white person. And that’s so old. So tired. We need to show people of color as people. Not just as a White Person’s Little Helper.

I understand and appreciate the criticisms previously mentioned, but in defense of the movie, it’s set far into the future. That could mean that all people during that time period are equally oppressed by The Capitol. Sure color blindness doesn’t exist in this day in age, but when an entire nation is being oppressed by one super force of a government, a black person’s struggle is equal to the white person’s struggle. Not to mention each came from communities seemingly entirely composed of people of their own race, which means that they wouldn’t have experience white privilege in Katniss’s district because everyone was white. There was class segregation based on profession in District 12 but no room for race segregation or disadvantage. My thoughts are all hypothetical and forgive me for playing devil’s advocate but the movie is based on the book which is set way in the future. 

The problem is that the audience the book/movie is intended for are NOT from the future, which means that all of the problems of today’s movie industry (whitewashing roles, intentionally restricting casting calls to only white actors and actresses - which happened when casting Katniss, etc) are always relevant. Again, as said: “I would have preferred a biracial actress to play this part because I can think of so few heroines with “olive colored skin” that when one finally appears she ought not to be white washed.” The lack of POC characters in our media, more particularly those portrayed in a positive light and as heroes instead of supporting roles, is always a relevant and important issue and a byproduct of a society with institutionalized racism. 

Other important points were already expressed in the original commentary. 

“That could mean that all people during that time period are equally oppressed by The Capitol. Sure color blindness doesn’t exist in this day in age, but when an entire nation is being oppressed by one super force of a government, a black person’s struggle is equal to the white person’s struggle.”

Oh my god, did we even read the same book? The Hunger Games has an explicitly racial dimension. The conditions of District 11 is a recreation of enslavement—everything from its geographic location (U.S. American South, based on the fact that it borders Appalachia and you take a train south to get there) to the type of labor they are made to do to (fieldwork) the way the people are punished (that would be brutally, with whips.) Then there’s dichotomy established between the way the Black intellectually disabled boy was treated (i.e. he was murdered) versus the way the intellectually disabled boy from District 12 was treated (“like a pet.”)

“Not to mention each came from communities seemingly entirely composed of people of their own race, which means that they wouldn’t have experience white privilege in Katniss’s district because everyone was white. There was class segregation based on profession in District 12 but no room for race segregation or disadvantage.”

Everyone in District 12 WAS NOT WHITE. DISTRICT 12 WAS EXPLICITLY SEGREGATED BY RACE. The people made to do dangerous physical labor (the coal miners of the Seam) are all olive skinned and dark haired, and they routinely starve to death. The white people in District 12 were also oppressed by the Capitol, but they were definitely privileged over the people of color in the Seam.

While I understand the sentiment of this, isn’t it a massive stretch to call book-Katniss a woman of colour? She is described as ‘olive-skinned’ which is certainly racially ambiguous. People have used the term to describe me, and I’m white British. Equally, it could refer to someone of, for example, Central American descent.

But isn’t any racial ambiguity there might have been cleared up by the fact that Katniss has a blonde little sister pretty? Since Katniss and Prim share the same genetics (they’re not from different marriages or anything) this makes the Everdeen sisters pretty unambiguously white, right?

Please correct me if I’ve missed something here. I totes agree that there’s racial subtext in The Hunger Games. And I certainly would have been all in favour of them casting Katniss as a person of colour in the film (and doing the same with Prim, to make sense). There are plenty of good arguments in favour of that casting - I just don’t see that authenticity to the book is one of them.

Race in Panem does not perfectly match up to race in the United States in modern times (racial categories are socially constructed) but Katniss experiences differential racialization for resembling someone from the Seam even if she is half-Merchant. Meanwhile, her sister Prim is able to be “passing.” (This is common in mixed race families where some kids may look more white than others, while others have darker or olive skin.) In that sense, Katniss doesn’t have access to the Merchant racial privilege that Prim or Peeta have. And she talks about this a lot. There are also scenes in the book where Katniss compares her skintone to that of people from Rue’s district, District 11. That and I mean, come on, Panem is some sort of future dystopic North America, and all of the heroes are white?

Fair enough. I see your point about racial identification. Skin tone is something Katniss brings up a fair bit in connection with her identity and how she relates to others. Just because it doesn’t match our present catergories of racial catergorisation doesn’t mean it’s any less divisive in the world of Panem.

Your whole reply makes a lot of sense - except I don’t get your last line there.

No one said anything about all the heroes being white, though - in the canon of the books, Rue is explicitly black and Thresh (if you can count him as a ‘hero’). And the film cast Cinna black too. So I’m not sure who has ever claimed that ”all of the heroes are white”. I certainly didn’t - I just pointed out a perceived flaw in the logic of saying Katniss is canonically non-white (and I see your argument on that front).

Neither do I think that because there are a couple of non-white heroes, the film gets a pass on the race front. All I’m saying is that not all of the heroes are white. And if people read a racially segregated society in The Hunger Games (which I can see, yeah) then surely it makes SENSE that there’s not much POC visibility in that world? Of course, if the film was taking this line it ought to support it with actually explaining this idea a bit. Otherwise it’s just another film with low POC visibility because that’s the world Hollywood lives in.

I can’t think of a single character of color in The Hunger Games films that will be in and survive all three movies.  I can think of several white characters who will be in and survive all three movies.  I suppose one could quibble about the definition of “hero,” but I’d argue that the actors in the lead heroic roles are the ones who are going to be in all three films.

Reblogged from nestofstraightlines  5,446 notes
nestofstraightlines:

alisonofagun:

alemonlemoned:

michelleeeeen:

averagesparrow:

iconsidermyself:

Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress and she did a wonderful job in the role of Katniss. That being said, I would have preferred a biracial actress to play this part because I can think of so few heroines with “olive colored skin” that when one finally appears she ought not to be white washed.
(spoilers) Think how much more incredible the scene where Katniss covers Rue in flowers would have been if Katniss and Rue were both women of color. Think how much more powerful it would be if it weren’t a white woman mourning the loss of a black woman. (We’ve seen that before. We’ve seen privileged characters learn from less privileged ones.) Think how amazing it would be for women of color to see themselves represented in every scene that Rue and Katniss share. The Hunger Games has already shown itself to be an incredibly popular film. Just imagine if such a successful film contained scenes which included only actresses of color. I would trade in Jennifer Lawrence’s performance for that.

ALL OF THIS.
Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress and a lovely human being and normally I would be very happy to see a movie that features her. But that image of two women of color bonding, helping each other, impacting each others lives? We need that. As a people. With the way they cast this movie we have three notable characters (Rue, Thresh, and Cinna) playing the role of the Black Best Friend to a white person. And that’s so old. So tired. We need to show people of color as people. Not just as a White Person’s Little Helper.

I understand and appreciate the criticisms previously mentioned, but in defense of the movie, it’s set far into the future. That could mean that all people during that time period are equally oppressed by The Capitol. Sure color blindness doesn’t exist in this day in age, but when an entire nation is being oppressed by one super force of a government, a black person’s struggle is equal to the white person’s struggle. Not to mention each came from communities seemingly entirely composed of people of their own race, which means that they wouldn’t have experience white privilege in Katniss’s district because everyone was white. There was class segregation based on profession in District 12 but no room for race segregation or disadvantage. My thoughts are all hypothetical and forgive me for playing devil’s advocate but the movie is based on the book which is set way in the future. 

The problem is that the audience the book/movie is intended for are NOT from the future, which means that all of the problems of today’s movie industry (whitewashing roles, intentionally restricting casting calls to only white actors and actresses - which happened when casting Katniss, etc) are always relevant. Again, as said: “I would have preferred a biracial actress to play this part because I can think of so few heroines with “olive colored skin” that when one finally appears she ought not to be white washed.” The lack of POC characters in our media, more particularly those portrayed in a positive light and as heroes instead of supporting roles, is always a relevant and important issue and a byproduct of a society with institutionalized racism. 
Other important points were already expressed in the original commentary. 

“That could mean that all people during that time period are equally oppressed by The Capitol. Sure color blindness doesn’t exist in this day in age, but when an entire nation is being oppressed by one super force of a government, a black person’s struggle is equal to the white person’s struggle.”
Oh my god, did we even read the same book? The Hunger Games has an explicitly racial dimension. The conditions of District 11 is a recreation of enslavement—everything from its geographic location (U.S. American South, based on the fact that it borders Appalachia and you take a train south to get there) to the type of labor they are made to do to (fieldwork) the way the people are punished (that would be brutally, with whips.) Then there’s dichotomy established between the way the Black intellectually disabled boy was treated (i.e. he was murdered) versus the way the intellectually disabled boy from District 12 was treated (“like a pet.”)
“Not to mention each came from communities seemingly entirely composed of people of their own race, which means that they wouldn’t have experience white privilege in Katniss’s district because everyone was white. There was class segregation based on profession in District 12 but no room for race segregation or disadvantage.”
Everyone in District 12 WAS NOT WHITE. DISTRICT 12 WAS EXPLICITLY SEGREGATED BY RACE. The people made to do dangerous physical labor (the coal miners of the Seam) are all olive skinned and dark haired, and they routinely starve to death. The white people in District 12 were also oppressed by the Capitol, but they were definitely privileged over the people of color in the Seam.

While I understand the sentiment of this, isn’t it a massive stretch to call book-Katniss a woman of colour? She is described as ‘olive-skinned’ which is certainly racially ambiguous. People have used the term to describe me, and I’m white British. Equally, it could refer to someone of, for example, Central American descent.

But isn’t any racial ambiguity there might have been cleared up by the fact that Katniss has a blonde little sister pretty? Since Katniss and Prim share the same genetics (they’re not from different marriages or anything) this makes the Everdeen sisters pretty unambiguously white, right?

Please correct me if I’ve missed something here. I totes agree that there’s racial subtext in The Hunger Games. And I certainly would have been all in favour of them casting Katniss as a person of colour in the film (and doing the same with Prim, to make sense). There are plenty of good arguments in favour of that casting - I just don’t see that authenticity to the book is one of them.

Race in Panem does not perfectly match up to race in the United States in modern times (racial categories are socially constructed) but Katniss experiences differential racialization for resembling someone from the Seam even if she is half-Merchant.   Meanwhile, her sister Prim is able to be “passing.”  (This is common in mixed race families where some kids may look more white than others, while others have darker or olive skin.)  In that sense, Katniss doesn’t have access to the Merchant racial privilege that Prim or Peeta have.  And she talks about this a lot.  There are also scenes in the book where Katniss compares her skintone to that of people from Rue’s district, District 11.   That and I mean, come on, Panem is some sort of future dystopic North America, and all of the heroes are white?

nestofstraightlines:

alisonofagun:

alemonlemoned:

michelleeeeen:

averagesparrow:

iconsidermyself:

Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress and she did a wonderful job in the role of Katniss. That being said, I would have preferred a biracial actress to play this part because I can think of so few heroines with “olive colored skin” that when one finally appears she ought not to be white washed.

(spoilers) Think how much more incredible the scene where Katniss covers Rue in flowers would have been if Katniss and Rue were both women of color. Think how much more powerful it would be if it weren’t a white woman mourning the loss of a black woman. (We’ve seen that before. We’ve seen privileged characters learn from less privileged ones.) Think how amazing it would be for women of color to see themselves represented in every scene that Rue and Katniss share. The Hunger Games has already shown itself to be an incredibly popular film. Just imagine if such a successful film contained scenes which included only actresses of color. I would trade in Jennifer Lawrence’s performance for that.

ALL OF THIS.

Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress and a lovely human being and normally I would be very happy to see a movie that features her. But that image of two women of color bonding, helping each other, impacting each others lives? We need that. As a people. With the way they cast this movie we have three notable characters (Rue, Thresh, and Cinna) playing the role of the Black Best Friend to a white person. And that’s so old. So tired. We need to show people of color as people. Not just as a White Person’s Little Helper.

I understand and appreciate the criticisms previously mentioned, but in defense of the movie, it’s set far into the future. That could mean that all people during that time period are equally oppressed by The Capitol. Sure color blindness doesn’t exist in this day in age, but when an entire nation is being oppressed by one super force of a government, a black person’s struggle is equal to the white person’s struggle. Not to mention each came from communities seemingly entirely composed of people of their own race, which means that they wouldn’t have experience white privilege in Katniss’s district because everyone was white. There was class segregation based on profession in District 12 but no room for race segregation or disadvantage. My thoughts are all hypothetical and forgive me for playing devil’s advocate but the movie is based on the book which is set way in the future. 

The problem is that the audience the book/movie is intended for are NOT from the future, which means that all of the problems of today’s movie industry (whitewashing roles, intentionally restricting casting calls to only white actors and actresses - which happened when casting Katniss, etc) are always relevant. Again, as said: “I would have preferred a biracial actress to play this part because I can think of so few heroines with “olive colored skin” that when one finally appears she ought not to be white washed.” The lack of POC characters in our media, more particularly those portrayed in a positive light and as heroes instead of supporting roles, is always a relevant and important issue and a byproduct of a society with institutionalized racism. 

Other important points were already expressed in the original commentary. 

“That could mean that all people during that time period are equally oppressed by The Capitol. Sure color blindness doesn’t exist in this day in age, but when an entire nation is being oppressed by one super force of a government, a black person’s struggle is equal to the white person’s struggle.”

Oh my god, did we even read the same book? The Hunger Games has an explicitly racial dimension. The conditions of District 11 is a recreation of enslavement—everything from its geographic location (U.S. American South, based on the fact that it borders Appalachia and you take a train south to get there) to the type of labor they are made to do to (fieldwork) the way the people are punished (that would be brutally, with whips.) Then there’s dichotomy established between the way the Black intellectually disabled boy was treated (i.e. he was murdered) versus the way the intellectually disabled boy from District 12 was treated (“like a pet.”)

“Not to mention each came from communities seemingly entirely composed of people of their own race, which means that they wouldn’t have experience white privilege in Katniss’s district because everyone was white. There was class segregation based on profession in District 12 but no room for race segregation or disadvantage.”

Everyone in District 12 WAS NOT WHITE. DISTRICT 12 WAS EXPLICITLY SEGREGATED BY RACE. The people made to do dangerous physical labor (the coal miners of the Seam) are all olive skinned and dark haired, and they routinely starve to death. The white people in District 12 were also oppressed by the Capitol, but they were definitely privileged over the people of color in the Seam.

While I understand the sentiment of this, isn’t it a massive stretch to call book-Katniss a woman of colour? She is described as ‘olive-skinned’ which is certainly racially ambiguous. People have used the term to describe me, and I’m white British. Equally, it could refer to someone of, for example, Central American descent.

But isn’t any racial ambiguity there might have been cleared up by the fact that Katniss has a blonde little sister pretty? Since Katniss and Prim share the same genetics (they’re not from different marriages or anything) this makes the Everdeen sisters pretty unambiguously white, right?

Please correct me if I’ve missed something here. I totes agree that there’s racial subtext in The Hunger Games. And I certainly would have been all in favour of them casting Katniss as a person of colour in the film (and doing the same with Prim, to make sense). There are plenty of good arguments in favour of that casting - I just don’t see that authenticity to the book is one of them.

Race in Panem does not perfectly match up to race in the United States in modern times (racial categories are socially constructed) but Katniss experiences differential racialization for resembling someone from the Seam even if she is half-Merchant. Meanwhile, her sister Prim is able to be “passing.” (This is common in mixed race families where some kids may look more white than others, while others have darker or olive skin.) In that sense, Katniss doesn’t have access to the Merchant racial privilege that Prim or Peeta have. And she talks about this a lot. There are also scenes in the book where Katniss compares her skintone to that of people from Rue’s district, District 11. That and I mean, come on, Panem is some sort of future dystopic North America, and all of the heroes are white?