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In the dog-eat-dog universe of The Hunger Games, heroine Katniss is the moral center: tough yet fair, a yardstick of strength and compassion against the forces of inequality.
Given Katniss’ innate humanity, how would she react to fan outrage over the casting of black actors in the book-turned-blockbuster? While the mega-hit film based on Suzanne Collins‘ trilogy continues to go gangbusters at the box office, a torrent of disturbingly racist tweets is being directed at Lenny Kravitz, who portrays stylist Cinna, and Amandla Stenberg, who plays gentle Rue, the young innocent who bonds with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) during the epic death battle.
On the social-blogging site Tumblr, the blog “Hunger Games Tweets” — which aims “to expose the Hunger Games fans on Twitter who dare to call themselves fans yet don’t know a damn thing about the books” — has compiled some of the most offensive messages.
“Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn’t as sad #ihatemyself,” tweeted one fan, while another wrote: “Why does rue have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined the movie.”
“Uuuuhhhhh Rue looks NOTHING like I imagined her,” sniped a (spelling-challenged) fan. “Isn’t she supposed to be a pale readhead (or was that just in MY head?)? Why is she black?!” Other tweets are unprintable.
Meanwhile, Collins’ book characterizes 12-year-old Rue as having “dark brown skin and eyes” and a small stature — much like Stenberg. Also in the debut novel, Katniss is described with “straight black hair” and “olive skin,” prompting many readers to view the character as Native American. (Lawrence dyed her blonde hair dark brown for the role.) Cinna’s skin color is not mentioned; Thresh (Dayo Okeniyi), Rue’s comrade from District 11, “has the same dark skin as Rue,” according to the book.
As of Tuesday morning, many of the Twitter accounts exposed by “Hunger Games Tweets” have been shuttered.
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