"The Hunger Games" Sparks Race-Related Controversy

How a family-friendly film turned into a much darker debate.

'The Hunger Games' Sparks Race-Related Controversy [EXPERT]

There has been much debate over the film, "The Hunger Games." Sadly, it isn't the debate fans bargained for. What started as a family-friendly, must-see film has turned into a nightmare for the actors and actresses portraying various diverse characters.

That the writer of a character must somehow answer for her creation, that we are even entertaining this debate, is ludicrous. Are writers obligated to diversify their characters? Anyone can tell you from a creative standpoint that writers are free to imagine the best and worst scenarios for their characters; they are free to dictate the love, if any, their characters experience, their growth, or dimensionality as they so choose. Love Games: Make Him Want You Tonight, Part 1


Similarly, writers can create characters that they identify with, or they can create characters from a variety of ethnicities. James Patterson is one of the many writers experimenting with characters who defy ethnic stereotypes. Likewise, he doesn't employ the narrow-minded concept that his characters need to look like him — a fact that has paid off in more ways than one.

So why does the dark skin of 'Hunger Games' characters Rue and Thresh matter? Why should Lenny Kravitz's portrayal of the green-eyed character, Cinna, be troublesome for many? For some, it isn't. They realize that this is the film directors and writers ultimately invision will be depicted onto the big screen.


For others, a plethora of social networks reminds us that racist mindsets still plague this country. At this point, it's truly disturbing that a film with a sensitive yet hauntingly familiar issue, kids killing other kids, is being downplayed by another issue still dangling in our society: race. Sandra Fluke & The S.L.U.T. Hypocrisy

So why is race in literature and film such a huge deal? These characters are simply meant to entertain; still, there are those messaging bigoted statements, stripping away the cloak we love to believe doesn't exist much in the "land of the free."

As George Takei rightly tweeted, "Some fans outraged that blacks cast in Hunger Games roles. Teens killing each other in futuristic arenas, and they care about what color?"

Some posts went as far as to admit that they weren't sad when Rue's character died because she was played by a black girl. Another post referenced losing lots of tears over Rue's character for no reason. That is, until this person saw the film, stripped the actress portraying Rue (Amandla Stenberg) of her humanity and only saw the color of her skin.


A film that managed to render the lingering "Twilight" fans silent for a bit, this film brought together film viewers young and old alike. People cheered in familiar fashion to a sexy rivalry involving Team Peeta or Team Gale. 16 Essential First-Date Tips

Now, the message of the film is getting lost to issues surrounding race. This is truly disheartening. Many are already in an uproar over the killing of Trayvon Martin. This film should have been used as an outlet to escape the sad trappings of the mindset people harbor in this day and age. Instead, it turned out to be another match dropping steadily amidst the racial fires burning swiftly out of control.

Do writers and film makers have to cast diverse characters? Unfortunately, no. "Titanic," which is being rereleased, is evidence of this fact. However, many writers should do this as today's America mimics not only a melting pot, but as Martin Luther King Jr. explained, a wonderful mosaic (not his literal words here). Love Games: Make Him Want You Tonight, Part 2

Are characters in literature overtly white? Many are. Yet, some socially conscious writers are recognizing and demolishing this trend. These writers realize that we are like a type of kaleidoscope — each hue uniquely different, each person housing their own notions of what's right. Our differences of color, morals, and opinions should be valued nonetheless.


I understand the need for dialogue on certain subject matters. What I don't understand are the ridiculous misconceptions still present in our society. Fans accepted the limited diversity of "Twilight" and "Titanic." But as soon as a book or film steps outside of the norm, readers are usually pummeled, while some readers rebel. 14 Ways To Decode 'Guy Talk' On Dating Profiles

Fortunately, there are enough open-minded people still able to openly reveal their disgust with racists rants. These people stave the torch seemingly being lit on a daily basis. The last thing we need is more racial tension, a race riot, or another dead child regardless of race.

I'm not sure what film makers or author Suzanne Collins had in mind when creating this story, but I'm sure their points weren't meant to incite anger or violence. Let's accept this movie for what it is. It is a family film meant to entertain. It makes us ponder its deeper meanings. It moves us and compels us to question what humanity, if any, clings to us when faced with life or death. "The Hunger Games:" Are You On Team Peeta or Team Gale?

That's my say on this matter. So tell me, what did you think about the film?


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