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Opinion: Are we doing enough to make sure our kids aren't racist?
Some"Hunger Games" fans have expressed disappointment that the character Rue is black.
April 2nd, 2012
04:01 PM ET

Opinion: Are we doing enough to make sure our kids aren't racist?

Editor’s note: Jose Vilson is a math teacher, math instructional coach and data analyst in a New York public school. He can be found at TheJoseVilson.com. Vilson is also on the board of directors for the Center for Teaching Quality and the steering committee for the Save Our Schools Movement.

By Jose L. Vilson, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Recently, there’s been controversy over the motion picture “The Hunger Games” and the casting choice for Rue, a character that the book’s author, Suzanne Collins, intended to be dark-skinned at the very least. Amandla Stenberg, a young black actress, plays Rue in a cast that also includes rocker Lenny Kravitz and actress Kimiko Gelman.

Some fans expressed disappointment all over social media that they didn’t think the character should be black and that they hadn’t envisioned a black child as this character to whom they gravitated to so ardently in print. One search on Twitter for Rue leads to a set of tweets ranging from subtly questionable to strangely racist.

Teens are the predominant target group for this movie. At some point, don’t we as a society have to step in and question what we’re teaching our children about race? Isn’t it our responsibility as caring adults to tell our children that our differences only make our country richer in experience? How do we get our young boys and girls to understand that the difference they see in skin color, facial features and accents don’t make other people any less human? How can we change the climate of America’s race relations to the point where more people believe that Rue, a fictional character, is still every bit the relatable figure for fans of the novel regardless of the race we assign to her?

Read the full post on CNN's Schools of Thought blog

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Filed under: Age • Black in America • Education • Race • What we think
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Tamara

    Undine, in the most ridiculous mehtod of justifying the name un (one in French) + deien (ten in Old French.) In another messed translation mehtod since eleven in German is elf, I suppose you any name that has elf in the meaning. Alva, Alfred, Alberich, Alvar.

    April 19, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. whosurdaddy

    lets teach every kid think the same.

    April 3, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. hamsta

    children only know about racism because they are taught about it.

    April 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      I'm very mentally tied to November 11th as Remembrance Day (Veterans Day in the States). I'd have to go with snmothieg serious to commemorate appropriately. A word name, like Justice, Honour, or Liberty might be appropriate, perhaps as a middle name. The cutest I could go is Poppy. I'd also look for names of family members or local heroes who were/are veterans. According to behindthename, Zechariah means Yahweh remembers and Mnemosyne (ni-MAWS-?-nee) means rememberance. Unfortunately, the 11th letter of the English alphabet is K. I hope no one gives their child the initials KKK.

      April 19, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jojo

    Let's force feed everybody integration. It hasn't worked in a hundred years. Its not gonna work if its forced.

    April 2, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alberto

      I was very pessimistic about the Lion King in 3D, and was aemazd by the results. One of the best 3D experiences I've had, and I'm not usually a big fan of 3D. It looks phenomenal on BluRay 3D.Now, the really interesting thing here is that the movie is already available on blu ray for sale. If it does really well in cinemas, this might be a very interesting learning that cinema really is about the experience more than it is about the exclusivity. And this is something the industry needs to get data and empirical examples on.

      April 18, 2012 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |