Remember the quote, “Reading is fundamental?” Well, apparently, that tidbit of knowledge totally skipped some fans of the Hunger Games.

Over the weekend, the film raked in a boatload of cash, pulling in $155 million in just a matter of days. While many were lining up to compare the film version to the Suzanne Collins book, others just couldn’t understand why some of the film’s main characters were black.

On the completely brilliant tumblr site Hunger Games Tweets, one fan decided to highlight some of the racist comments some viewers tweeted after watching the film. Apparently, these folks just couldn’t handle the fact Rue, Cinna, and Thresh were played by black actors…despite their descriptions in the book.

While Cinna’s race isn’t talked about in the book, as Dodai Stewart of Jezebel points out, Rue and Thresh are characterized as having “dark skin.”

Collins describes Rue, played by Amandla Stenberg, as, “A twelve-year-old girl from District 11. She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that’s she’s very like Prim in size and demeanor…”

And she describes Thresh (Dayo Okeniyi)  as, “The boy tribute from District 11, Thresh, has the same dark skin as Rue, gut the resemblance stops there. He’s one of the giants, probably six and half feet tall and built like an ox.”

Despite Collins’ descriptions, some fans seemed to have conjured up images of blonde, blue-eyed people for these characters and are upset about their casting.

While some may brush off their idiotic tweets as, well, stupid, it hints at a train of thought that says that black folks are somehow less valuable, and even less “innocent” as our white counterparts. And seeing the tweets about Rue’s death being more palatable because she was black?? It’s no wonder folks like Oscar Grant, Aiyana Jones, and Trayvon Martin’s lives are discarded so easily.

What do you think? 

  • http://pervertedalchemist.blogspot.com Perverted Alchemist

    White people have been rewriting history in movies and books for ages. Now all of a sudden, when they see a Black person in a film adaptation of a book (that clearly spells out their ethnicity), all of a sudden they want to be offended? FOH saltines, LMAO!!!!

  • CurlySue

    I read about this on Jezebel and couldn’t believe it. The book clearly describes both Rue and Thresh as having dark brown skin. I always pictured them as black. As far as Cinna goes, they never described his skin, so what’s the big deal? I would like all the people who took issue with the casting to bend down and shove their heads up their own ass*s. That way they don’t have to look upon a world that doesn’t conform to their limited scope and we don’t have to hear them speak.

  • Natalie

    I’m officially done with white people. I mean, it was official last week, but it’s even more official now.

  • ginnamarie

    Please do not let these ignorant clowns troll you. Anyone who has read the books can tell you the descriptions i make the people of district 11 out to be “of color”. That may not have meant black..but it damn sure wasn’t white. Now if people are upset because it does not fit the description they’ve made up in their own minds..oh well. But they were cast as described by Collins herself..

  • Yb

    This has made me soooooo mad and ashamed to be a fan of the Hunger Games. It has clearly, CLEARLY stated in the book REPEATEDLY that Rue is black in the book. So why do these silly white readers insists on making these characters white? Are white people so insecure and narcissistic in their whiteness that EVERY character must be white to stroke their egos?!

    The ONLY they are mad that Rue is black, is because she is loved and cherished in the book and when see dyes it strikes a chord with the readers. God forbid these people feel sadness and cry tears for when a little black girl dies. SMH

    There is a tumblr: http://hungergamestweets.tumblr.com/ that highlights the tweets mentioned in this article.

  • Yb

    This has made me soooooo mad and ashamed to be a fan of the Hunger Games. It has clearly, CLEARLY stated in the book REPEATEDLY that Rue is black in the book. So why do these silly white readers insists on making these characters white? Are white people so insecure and narcissistic in their whiteness that EVERY character must be white to stroke their egos?!

    The ONLY reason they are mad that Rue is black, is because she is loved and cherished in the book and when see dyes it strikes a chord with the readers. God forbid these people feel sadness and cry tears for when a little black girl dies. SMH

    There is a tumblr: http://hungergamestweets.tumblr.com/ that highlights the tweets mentioned in this article.

  • Ocean Breezy

    Have any of you ever gone grocery shopping and noticed that the magazine rack is full of White faces? Most of the shampoo, make-up, car etc. advertisements/commercials are full of White faces, so of course these moviegoers were shocked to NOT see themselves.

  • Samantha

    I was never a fan of the Hunger Games and I’m not about to start now. I have a thought though, from the usernames and pictures it’s not so easy to say the people who wrote these comments are white. I would not be surprised if they were Asian or Hispanic. My goodness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maria-Jackson/22608618 Maria Jackson

    I wrote about this for Nerdgasm Noire back in November, following the release of the character posters. The facebook comments on The Hunger Games page went wild with everything from mild surprise to “Eww, he’s black?”
    http://nerdgasmnoire.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/yes-there-are-black-people-in-your-hunger-games-the-strange-case-of-rue-cinna/

  • apple

    they always do this: they did it with twilight when they found out jacob black the native american, was actually cast with a native american… they did this with harry potter when they cast the 2 indian twins and asian girls as their actual race inspite of their obvious ethnic names. white people want everyone to be made in their image.

    *When POC characters are turned white: “this isin’t about race, if you think it is then you’re the racist one, lets just enjoy the book/film as it is, this is about the character’s personality god you’re so sensitive, the new skin tone actually fits the character’s personality IMO, I never imagined them as POC anyway, not all whitewashing is racist god get over it!!”

    When white characters are turned into POC: “omg how could they!?!?!? this is soooo racist and unfair! why cant they present that white character as WHITE, how dare they change the original skin color to suit their own terms! this is reverse racism!! this is about race! I NEVER imaged that white character to be a POC that is so weird, it doesn’t fit, this is political correctness gone crazy!!”

    When POC characters stay POC but readers/viewers imagined them as white: “THIS IS SO WRONG. This isn’t how they looked. i don’t care what it says in the booooook because i imagined they lookd different. ugh the film is ruined now. Ruined.”

  • dhonesty

    oh Fck them.. they think they belong in every fcking them.. i watch “the walking dead” and mfers was mad because micchone is black.. Helloooooooo, she’s black in the comic so she should be black in the show.. they act like only white ppl can act.. so sick of them..

  • B.Payne

    Can’t please everyone…I mean seriously, how can I let my feathers get ruffled by someone who used “Sense when” instead of “Since when”.

    You guys need to realize that racist ppl (that includes non-whites) are extremely ignorant and lack growth and if I got mad at this then this means I’m ignorant and lack growth….

    Now my question…Has anyone seen this movie? I want to check it out

  • chardonnay

    I guess when they read “dark skinned”..they imagined someone with a lifetime tanning salon membership….ignorance is bliss!!!

  • omfg

    white people are sooo funny.

  • Nnaattaayy

    ***NEWS FLASH*** All those people who claim to be Hunger Games fans are clearly illiterate. The author Suzanna Collins clearly describes Rue’s district as the Agriculture District. Citizens from this district pick crops from sun up until sun down, with no breaks. It isn’t until Rue does her little whistle that they know their hard work is over. Their district is also one of the poorest, despite their profitable agriculture because the Capitol reaps all the benefits.

    I think this story is very familiar. How can they say Rue is not black?! Wtf?

  • http://www.shawnpwilliams.com Shawn P Williams

    When I read the book I always had Rue and Thresh as being black. The description is right there. But ignorance and stupidity know no bounds.

  • CurlySue

    I saw the movie last night. It was very good. Jennifer Lawrence was great as Katniss. I see a big future for her.

    I picture most of the morons mad about Rue’s race as a bunch of 16 year old morons with minimal reading skills. The tone of the tweets just sounds very….teen…to me.

  • Bren82

    TO HELL WITH THE HATERS!!! Read the book…AGAIN!!

  • http://method2hermadness.blogspot.com/ girlformerlyknownasgrace

    AND this is why Black actors and actresses don’t thrive. Because white people can not get enough of seeing themselves. In movies, in music, in magazines.

  • http://theposhbrownboutique.bigcartel.com/ jenna pearle

    while reading ‘the hunger games’ series, it actually didn’t cross my mind that any of the characters were black (despite the description). in fact, race didn’t enter the picture one way or another. however, i was pleasantly suprised to see rue was black (and gorgeous). i did imagine cinna with dark skin looking more like prince than lenny kravitz. and as for katniss, i imagined someone with a more angular face, not one with those chubby cheeks. this is based on the description of the lack of food and also angular features are thought to give off a not so friendly vibe .
    it all worked for me (the movie). i’m not surprised to see that ignorant people had something ignorant to say. don’t they always?

  • http://afrikanmami.blogspot.com African Mami

    what’s the uproar about?! If our sons are being killed for being black, this right hurr is just the starting point of how zimmerman and em out there begin. No, I won’t let TM’s murder rest!

  • Plathismo

    The racism in some of these comments almost matches the racism of those idiots on Twitter. Get some perspective, folks.

  • Devan

    Just wanted to note that Clutch should label this article with a *SPOILER ALERT*. I read the tweets thinking that I was simply going to read about the race of the characters, only to find out a pivotal piece of the damn story. Hiss and boo!

  • Paula

    I havent read the book but did see the movie this wknd. What got me was that the district that was predominantly black started rioting. The first thing that came to mond was Rodney King riots. Just feeding into the old stereotypes. Smh.

  • lostluv224

    Just ridiculous.

    Sidenote: while the movie was great, I felt that the supporting cast (Woody, Kravitz, the crazy lady, and Rue, etc) were the best characters.

    I think i’ll read the books now

  • A.

    all this proves to me is that there is a strong correlation between racism, bad grammar, and the concept of reading being fundamental.

  • CurlySue

    The premise of the book series is the entire country rioting and rebelling against the Capitol. It’s just that Rue’s death begins to spark the rebellion.

  • Bee

    I’m just going to ask the question Paul Mooney asked in Spike Lee’s BAMBOOZLED, “Why they (that includes not only whites but racist non-white) hate us so much?”

    I know all the theoretical and academic reasons why, but it still doesn’t tell me WHY. How can people live with such evilness and hate within them? I wish I had the privilege of being white so that I could go one day without seeing/hearing a slur or microaggression against me and my people. Maybe I’ll go see the film just to support these black actors. Btw, not assuming that these commenters are white, I second Natalie above.

  • ginnamarie

    I think you should give the book a go, at least skim through to get more detail. Most of the districts have wanted to rebel for years, Watching Rue die on national television sparked some push back from them all. It only STARTED in 11. They were all being oppressed

  • http://sisterescape.blogspot.com Fiore Scott

    My friend wrote a fantastic article on her feelings about the hunger games book and movie. Check it out: http://sisterescape.blogspot.com/2012/03/not-sorry-one-bit-i-hated-hunger-games.html

  • Shay

    Soooooo, where are the comments blasting these ig’nant racist phukktards for their tweets?

    Are there any of those? Otherwise, it makes me seem like the black HG tweeters were silent and complacent about this.

  • mamareese

    Well let them hate…still doesn’t change the fact the main character is black. And thanks to George Lucas…. you are gonna see more black leading roles. SOo ha! Take that!

  • Bisous

    @Bee I can’t wrp my head around it either. Did you see this ridiculousness slandering Trayvon Martin and sympathizing with his killer!? smh. http://patdollard.com/2012/03/was-trayvon-martin-a-drug-dealing-gangbanger/

  • JaeBee

    Suzanne Collins has actually confirmed the fact that Rue and Thresh were African American in interviews before: http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/04/07/hunger-games-suzanne-collins-gary-ross-exclusive/

    She has also stated in interviews that District 11 is located in what we know today as the “deep south” and has used imagery that attests to the fact that residents of this district are treated like slaves (forced to work from sun up to sundown, do mostly agricultural labor, public whippings are a more common occurrence than in any other district, etc.). “Fans” who read these books, missed all that information, and are now upset that the characters from these districts are black, are clearly idiots who lack reading comprehension skills.

  • http://cupofjo-jo.blogspot.com bk chick

    Yea wasn’t some there some study saying that racism is linked to lower IQ?…IF this isn’t a clear example..

  • binks

    Poor little tink tink….I remember someone going off during the Twilight saga because their was too many Asian people in the first movie. Some people are so…sad if it isn’t lily white then it’s a problem

  • Tiffany

    +1

    I cannot with white people anymore. I just cannot

  • Nnaattaayy

    Ha! Absolutely true, even Suzanne Collins confirmed it.

  • Yeahright2011

    You have to laugh at the fact that there was so much diversity in the Bigot Brat Brigade. Goes to show that just because they’re not white doesn’t make them your friend.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    There’s a Tumblr that really lets them have it: http://hungergamestweets.tumblr.com/ Apparently, some of these smartypants couldn’t take the heat, because several of the Twitter accounts were closed by the time I got around to check.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    I still can’t believe that they read ‘Padma and Parvati Patil’ and actually thought ‘white’. *head desk* Flipping morons.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    It’s worse than that. They took the part where Katniss says Rue reminded her of Prim*, and just ran with it. The amount of blonde/redheaded white Rue fan art out there…whoa.

    *and even then, the resemblance was ‘in stature’. Not in appearance.

  • Kat

    Don’t forget the murder of Rekia Boyd. Wake up! It’s open season on black people.

  • chanela

    i am absolutely speechless……. i can’t stand people anymore!

  • cupcakes and shiraz

    Third- stick a fork in me cos I’m done.

  • ThisIshRightHere

    *nods head*

  • Shay

    Thank you, Leo! I hate social media and I refuse to join Twitter or any other site. Too much ignorance out there.

  • Bridgette

    I was not interested in the Hunger Games before now but after all this brouhaha my curiosity is piqued. I didn’t read the book but I’ve heard that two of the main characters were described as dark-skinned. If people read the book the casting choices should not have come as a surprise. In “post-racial” America any reason to bitch about race is good enough even a movie.

  • http://method2hermadness.blogspot.com/ girlformerlyknownasgrace

    +1000

  • Logic

    I’ve read the book and all characters in the movie are portrayed exactly as they are in the book. Rue’s character IS black and if these illiterate racists couldn’t figure that out from the description of her having brown skin and curly hair, then there’s just no hope.

  • So Over This Ish

    I often wonder the same, Bee, but some things just can’t be explained. Racism hurts.

  • So Over This Ish

    I agree w/you. She is a pretty little girl, but little Black and brown girls are often devalued in this country, hence the racist Twitter comments that Rue should be an “innocent” blonde instead.

    I believe that some people are unable to identify with or to see the humanity in anyone who is different from themselves…and this explains the reactions to Trayvon’s murder, as well as the comments about Amandla playing Rue.

    Many white people are unwilling to admit that they are still the dominant image of what is “right” or “acceptable”….and even fewer will admit that racism is real because we’re all supposedly living in a “post-racial” society now.

    I’ve talked to lots of white people who complain about President Obama while conveniently ignoring the fact that he is the only person of color in America to ever achieve his position. It speaks volumes when every POTUS has been a white Christian male since the founding of America and the first president of color was only elected in 2008.

    It is the same with beauty pageants, most TV shows, and most movies. Only a handful of Black women (I am also including women of mixed race) in the film and beauty industry have been able to move beyond racial barriers or have their beauty acknowledged by the mainstream. Many white people seem to be more comfortable with seeing a white girl or woman playing certain roles, especially if she has the blonde hair and blue eyes that they tend to glorify so much. Seeing this cute little brown girl playing the part of a beloved character in this movie really unsettles them because they feel that one of their own deserves to play that role. They just can’t see how a Black girl could embody the qualities of sweetness, innocence, and purity.

    I hope she won’t allow the racism to affect her self-esteem. She handled it well, but I wonder how she really feels about it.

  • So Over This Ish

    Yes, ma’am. I’ve noticed it since I was a child. I’m of mixed race and I look at all magazines if I like them, but I still tend to seek out the ones with Black women on the covers. This is the only reason I still read Essence and Ebony.

    What you said is very true. How about the Pantene commercials? I remember when they would feature white models with straight hair and the commercials would sometimes fool young Black girls into believing that they could have flowing hair if they used Pantene. I’ve never really seen commercials that show Black women in the same way, depicting them as beautiful. I would love to see more Black women rocking natural hair in commercials and looking as flirty and carefree as the white models.

    Makeup is another good point, just like hair care. Most beauty products are not tailored for African Americans or people of Caribbean descent. Some people say that this is because Black people are the minority but I don’t believe that anymore. I will often see rows and rows of shelves filled with products for white people or others with straight hair. Then there’s a tiny little section for “ethnic” hair. Most of the stuff is below par when you compare it with the stuff for white people and other folks.

    I guess it all comes down to the fact that Black people (and sometimes other POC, it depends) are constantly marginalized in different ways. Some white people don’t want to see a pretty little brown girl on the big screen because they can’t identify with her the way they do with a little white girl. In their minds, there is a difference in humanity and worth between themselves and people unlike them.

  • So Over This Ish

    Very true! I’m not sure that all of the people who posted those hateful comments are white.

  • So Over This Ish

    LMAO! Yes, yes, yes…all of this is the truth @ Apple.

  • Alison

    In the book ” The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, It clearly states that Rue and Thresh have darker skin. To make such a comment about that is upsetting. I mean is this what we want our kids growing up in? The only difference between us is the color of our skin. You may say they talk different or act different, but thats the way they were raised. I know several whites who wear there pants below the their butts. Who are we to judge? Do we have the right to put people down like that? I know me saying something may not help, but i’m tired of hearing the negative comments. If you feel like you are going to use your words to hurt other, think again, because im sure that there are words to describe you too.

  • Jay

    I was going to see this movie but because of all the hateful inciteful comments by these bigots I have decided to not support this film with my dollars.

  • shy kendrick

    This is soooo sad like seriously come on guys i freakin cried when Rue died honestly i also did picture her being like white with light brown hair (must have not noticed tht part in the book) but who cares? she looks just as innocent probably even more so and is just as adorable as some of you probably imagined ALSO wtf? is wrong with u guys? when did Rue become a nigger? seriously have a little respect. (this comment was dirrected at the ppl who posted thos tweets)

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