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Friday, April 27, 2012

The Hunger Games...and Fan Racism? Part 2

[Image Source:]
Update: 2017-12-22 to remove a direct name mention of a Twitter user.

Part II: Fan Racism

Any decent literary venture is bound to challenge the conventions of the society in which the work was created and/or consumed. Michael Moore forced us to examine news media's objectivity towards the Bush Administration, 9/11 and the lead-up to the Iraq Invasion. Hustler Magazine asked us (and the Supreme Court) to define protected speech. Over a hundred years ago, Upton Sinclair went up against wage slavery and the influential meatpacking barons in his novel The Jungle.

More recently Suzanne Collins' young adult series, The Hunger Games, added itself to that list. There are a myriad of things in the trilogy that could be considered controversial, the movie only added a visual dynamic to the mix and expanded the discussion outside the fan base to those who will only know the series from the movie. But amid the discussions into the "inanity" of the MPAA's rating system [1] and whether actress Jennifer Lawrence's healthy figure took away from the film [2], the most glaring and disturbing controversy to come to light has to do with racist reactions some fans had over the casting of black actors for the beloved parts of Rue (Amandla Stenberg), Thresh (Dayo Okeniyi), and Cinna (Lenny Kravitz). The Twitter-sphere exploded with commentary like the one featured above. These tweets went beyond fans bemoaning loose re-imagining of established lore, they were full of vitriol and were peppered with racial epithets. [3].