After the film the Hunger Games racked up massive numbers at the box office, a few people took to the tweets to express their dismay that a few of the main characters were black. Despite the book describing the characters in question as having dark skin and eyes, many were shocked (and offended) that the Hunger Games included black characters. As if!

Some of the offensive tweets collected by the Hunger Games Tweets tumblr went so far as to call Rue, one of the film’s central characters, a “n**ger,” while others proclaimed they weren’t sad that she–a black girl–died in the film.

Things got ugly. But have those folks who fired off those offensive messages seen the error of their ways? L.V. Anderson of Slate tried to track them down to find out.

Although the majority of the people whose racist tweets went viral didn’t respond to Anderson’s request to chat, two brave souls did speak out. Predictably, these two folks had some of the least offensive (and probably not really offensive on their own) tweets.

First up, Preston:

 The tweet that earned Preston inclusion in Hunger Games Tweets?

file

Preston is a fan of the books but hasn’t seen the movie yet; he’s waiting for a break from school so he can see it with his friends from home. But he caught a glimpse of Amandla Stenberg, the actress who plays Rue, in the trailer, and says he was surprised. “I just was picturing someone else,” he told me in an email. “It did not change my excitement to watch the movie nor did it change my view towards it.”

Preston felt his tweet was misunderstood because his words “didn’t have an once of racism,” but it hasn’t changed his mind about wanting to see the film or his views on race.

Next up, Zoee whose “Why Is Rue Black” tweet was included in the bunch.

Anderson writes:

Zoee says she was “majorly pissed off” when she found out the creator of Hunger Games Tweets had published her tweet, which she described as tantamount to “slandering me.” (Zoee’s tweet appeared alongside the comment, “Why so sad? Is it really such a bummer that her casting stayed somewhat true to the book?” How this amounts to slander is unclear.) Zoee received a number of responses from strangers on Twitter, who “said stuffs [sic] like I was ruining humanity, I was fcking [sic] ugly and that I couldn’t read.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, being told that she’s f*cking ugly and ruining humanity didn’t make Zoee reconsider the content of her tweet. “Maybe I could have phrased my surprise of Rue not looking like Prim in a less offensive way even if I had no intention of being racist AT ALL,” she wrote.

While its no surprise those who had the most offensive tweets chose not to speak out, Anderson questions whether or not shaming people via the internet really causes them to rethink their actions.

Anderson notes:

“If the highly visible mockery of teenagers leads to a serious examination of the practices and institutions that perpetuate racism, perhaps it will be worth it. But I have my doubts. This kind of drive-by scapegoating does not seem conducive to genuine reflection (and it definitely doesn’t encourage reflection in the individuals it scapegoats).”

How about you? Should we be publicly blasting folks for the views they share, well, publicly? Speak on it! 

 

  • apple

    yep, they get what they deserve.

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    I think one of the main reasons people like to shame others is so they can feel better about themselves. It’s like, “Well, I’m not like _that_ , so that must make me a good person.” The reality is we all do screwed up things from time to time.

    Whether or not it will make the people rethink their actions: Who knows? People change in a very convoluted fashion. Maybe it planted the seed, maybe it didn’t. Only time will tell…

  • QCastle

    Policing peoples words? Slippery slope? No thanks.

  • Whatever

    When you put bold statements like those on a public forum then you have no one to blame but yourself. How these idiots were shocked a character described as having dark skin could possibly be black is still a puzzle to me. The creator of the hunger game tweets blog got is right when she stated that these people just didn’t want to feel sad and get emotional over a black character.

  • Alexandra

    I don’t feel bad for them at all. Common sense is to watch your mouth, especially when you’re making such comments on a public websites with a face/identity to go along with it.

    One of the commentators above is an expert on that…

  • Donella

    Nobody got “scapegoated.” They used nasty and prejudicial language in a public forum. The public corrected both their illiteracy and prejudice.

  • entro

    Sometimes people need to be shamed in order to correct they’re behavior. There are consequences to every action positive or negative. There is nothing wrong with calling out bad behavior. If they felt bold enough to comment on the race of the character and expose their inability to read and their prejudice then why not be called on it in the same public manner ?

  • Tiffany W.

    It. Is. Twitter. If they don’t like the responses the receive from a public forum, then they should either go private, log off, or keep their dumbass thoughts to themselves altogether.

    Funny how the most egregious tweeters did not respond to Slate. I wanted to hear what “nigger bitch” McGee had to say. I tried to @ him, but then punk deleted his account.

  • AfroStyling

    Yes. Shame them all.

  • http://www.reasonsandroses.com Nichole O Nichols

    It’s amazing to me that many people still don’t get the fact that “their page” on any social media outlet isn’t really theirs. For some, I think that being called out will cause them to rethink their philosophy on race at the most and/or be more careful about what they post online at the least. For many others, I think that this just created resentment that they will express in other, more covert ways. I think the comments that were made to Zoee during the fallout were over the line. These are teens, after all, and I hope they learned a very valuable lesson from this. Still, it’s disappointing that their reaction to the casting seems to back up many long held thoughts that black people have had for years about how the majority perceives us, yet these thoughts are constantly dismissed as being “too sensitive”.

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    This post was a waste of cyberspace. If they couldn’t get the most racist of those who tweeted to speak then why bother. There is nothing to be learned from this, nothing.

  • binks

    I don’t see the problem with it; you should be responsible for your words and what you put out there especially on a public forum. People get a bit too loose via the Internet. So other people have the option to call you out on it or critique your point of view/statements, especially if it is skewed as in this case regarding a fictional character that was clearly described as having brown skin.

  • Bren

    If they share those views publicly then they should be blasted publicly. Makes sense to me.

  • Bunni

    Freedom of speech makes this a non-issue, but people should use this as a warning: Internet is not as anonymous as some like to think. Any/everybody can be tracked to comments they post, despite clever screen names. If you’re bold enough to make a nasty comment, you should stand behind it.

  • Shirl

    A bunch of melanin challenged folks are gonna be surprised come judgement day and they don’t find the blue eyed blond haired Messiah they expect there to greet ‘em.

  • Zaza

    It’s not like they were secretly taped in their home then their comments were broadcast without their permission. They chose to post those public comments on a public website.
    Make public comments, expect to receive public replies. These people will all have grown up in the internet age, surely they realise this by now?

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

    From the way that people like to talk reckless online on the basis of anyonymity, I don’t see why we shouldn’t.

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