Opinion: Hysteria over 'Hunger Games' characters' race is misguided
Erika Peterman says "The Hunger Games" isn't the first movie to have fans upset about the race of characters.
April 9th, 2012
11:19 AM ET

Opinion: Hysteria over 'Hunger Games' characters' race is misguided

Editor's note: Erika Peterman is a writer and editor who lives in Tallahassee, Florida. She is the co-founder of the blog Girls Gone Geek and is a regular contributor to CNN's Geek Out blog.

By Erika Peterman, Special to CNN

(CNN) - When you really love a book, the characters live and breathe in your imagination. No matter how the author describes them, you form your own ideas about how they look, which is why fans become deeply (and I mean deeply) invested in the choices of actors to portray them onscreen.

Like the “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” nerds before us, we devotees of “The Hunger Games” spent a lot of time discussing and debating those choices before the film’s release. In the case of an undisputed phenomenon — the movie passed the $300 million mark over the weekend — some controversy is inevitable.

But there’s one sentiment I wasn’t prepared for. In short: “What the hell are black people doing here?”

As Jezebel.com and CNN.com reported, the site Hunger Games Tweets shone a light on a very ugly corner of fandom by posting screen-captured tweets from people who were dumbfounded or angry about non-white actors being cast in certain roles. Biracial singer Lenny Kravitz plays Cinna, the kind stylist who prepares heroine Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) for the pageantry leading up to the savage competition. Thresh (Dayo Okeniyi), a games competitor who appears in a pivotal scene, is black.

But some of the most jaw-dropping comments were about Rue (Amandla Stenberg), the angelic, doomed 12-year-old who dies about midway through the movie. Here’s a sampling, and hold your nose:

“why does rue have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined the movie”

“EWW rue is black?? I’m not watching”

“Sense (sic) when has Rue been a n****r”

Aside from this repulsive outpouring of contempt, there is a reading comprehension issue. Writer Suzanne Collins clearly describes Rue and Thresh as having dark skin. That is open to some interpretation, but in books focused largely on white characters, this usually means that someone is … not white. The novel leaves much to the imagination regarding Cinna, so who cares if an actor of color plays him? Woody Harrelson wasn’t my vision of Haymitch, Katniss’ drunken mentor, but that’s hardly cause for outrage.

Not all of the tweets were quite so hostile, as some people seemed merely confused by the casting choices. However, the common thread in this chorus of “Why?” is an overwhelming assumption that white is the default, and that the presence of anyone else is at best odd and at worst unacceptable.

This attitude is hardly isolated to “The Hunger Games.” When Peter Parker died last year in the comic book “Ultimate Spider-Man,” writer Brian Michael Bendis brought forth Miles Morales, a half-black, half-Hispanic teenager, to step into his tights. Peter was beloved to all fans of this comic book, including me, but some readers couldn’t handle the idea of a brown kid in the role.

On a friend’s Facebook wall, one guy ranted that, pretty soon, all comic book characters would be either non-white or gay so that “minority” readers could relate. I couldn’t resist challenging him: “Really? I’ve managed to relate to Peter Parker just fine all these years, despite being black and female.”

He didn’t respond.

Perhaps that’s what’s most depressing — the idea that if someone is of a different race, it’s impossible to feel any sense of connection or care about them. And how ironic in this case, as the relationship between Katniss and Rue is such a poignant part of “The Hunger Games” novel and movie. Rue’s death is a heart-wrenching symbol of the games’ cruelty in forcing children to kill each other or be killed, and I wasn't the only one sniffling in the theater.

If a viewer can’t get see beyond skin color to process the sheer sadness of that moment, a “ruined” movie experience is the very least of their problems.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Erika Peterman.

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Filed under: Black in America • Discrimination • Ethnicity • Pop culture • Race • What we think
soundoff (206 Responses)
  1. loans

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    to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell

    October 23, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
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    September 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. A kid

    all you guys are wrong nothing wrong with African Americans being in a movie

    In fact the first green Lantern was black

    May 8, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Rodney

      In fact, no, he was not black. Since you are "a kid," perhaps the first Green Lantern that you're aware of was black, but the first Green Lantern, Alan Scott, in 1940, was white. As was the second, Hal Jordan, in 1959; and the third, Guy Gardner, in 1968. The fourth Green Lantern, John Stewart, introduced in 1971, was black.

      However, you are correct in your assertion that there's "nothing wrong with African Americans being in a movie."

      May 8, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. Charles

    I am an older male, almost 56. I am currently in Afghanistan. A lot of the issues in this country as well as the entire Near East is about women getting rights. The movies and the comics are just reflecting some, mostly white but not only whites, haveing to deal with the new reality that people are people, with the same emotions, desires and concerns where ever they are. People do not like change.

    I saw the movie. I liked it, but did not read the books. The casting was right. If you can not wrap your head about Kat caring or what happens to a little girl reguardless of her race, color, religion or station in life, you need to do some self assessment of your life, beliefs and morals. The reality is that the world is changing, in my opinion mostly for the good. We need to get away from the US and them mentality. The planet is a much smaller place than it used to be.

    April 24, 2012 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. Vittoriokiss

    Hawkeye is a black character in the comics in The Avengers he is white, stop white washing the minorities in changing them into white, same with The Last Airbender. If they want to complain about the hunger games, start with The Avengers first

    April 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tiffany

      Exactly, this happens all the time in the other direction. I'm so glad that the live action Akira was cancelled. Akira, Last Airbender were both whitewashed. I'm white and that preterbed me. Whenever there is an outcry about a Muslim Batman inc in Paris, or a brown Spiderman I just want to hit people over the head. I'm fortunate I suppose that my first experiance with geek culture was a love for Star Trek TNG. Trek was always racially inclusive. No one could claim that they were suprized Geordi was black.

      April 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rose

    It shouldn't even be a conversation. Lord help us, these whilte racist evil hearts have dug out of their holes and are coming full throttle as time goes on. (I am white, but hardly and evel hearted racists) Lets send up some prayers to heaven and ask God always to help them and to take the fear and hatred from their hearts. How miserably fearful and ignorant one must be to hate entire groups of people. We all came from Adam and Eve so we are all family.

    April 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ndlily

    We have a glorification of kids killing kids on the big screen, earning millions of dollars, and you all are worrying about race in movies. I think skin color right now is the least of my worries. But I shouldn't be surprised. The obvious pedophilic overtones of Twilight (hello, century+ vampire and 16 year old girl) didn't seem to get much attention either. It's just a couple of stories after all. It's not like we're feeding it to impressionable young minds or anything and banking on them to draw the right conclusions.

    April 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • luriyah

      Anyone who's read the books, or even watched the movie, would know that this book is not "glorifying" killing at all. Quite the opposite. It's portraying the reality of warfare and revolution: death is not partial, even innocent lives can be loss.

      April 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Izoto

    Goes to show how ignorant and stupid some people still are.

    April 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TiredODaCrap

    Never read the book, but loved the movie. Characters seemed to fit well – in my humble opinion. However, I can't help but think that most of the time people reading books visualize the characters based on their own experiences, etc, that may match that character. I would imagine that most visualize someone of their race, ethnicity, etc. Seems normal to me – but I agree that overtly racist comments about these feelings have no place in our society today.

    April 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • sarahh

      It's weird when the character is actually described as black that no one caught on. As if it really mattered anyway. The actors were great. Racists have no where to go but online to whine, so I'm not surprised that all of the negativity is coming from online anonymous comments.

      April 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cindy

      So 2 characters are black ?? Why is this a racial issue ?? These were 2 good rolls. I am sorry that AGAIN, we have to worry if blacks get affended if they are hired to do a great movie and if no blacks would have been hired, then all of you would be accusing the director of being a racist.... theres no pleasing the black community !

      April 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • steamroller

        Now Cindy, perhaps I should read the opinion piece again. Clearly, the writer is opining about the negative and vile comments lodged against two characters in the movie played by black actors. Why do readers find it repulsive to see black actors in a movie like this? Do they assume that all the minorities were destroyed somehow and the anglos were left to roam the earth? Enlighten me please.

        April 18, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • you'renotright

        Read the entire article before commenting. This post is very embarrassing for you. The author made no claim remotely related to what you assert. In fact, her point was that characters are individuals that we can relate to regardless of skin color. I'm a white, adult, male and I didn't relate to Peeta but was really hoping the black girl (Rue) and Katniss would go the distance as a team. I thought Rue showed great courage and insight.

        April 18, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
      • mendrys

        Cindy, you are exhibiting the trait that has led most of the complainers to bit&h about the choice of actors, lack of reading comprehension. Don't worry though, your spelling and reading comprehension are bound to improve the more you read.

        April 18, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dee

        Clearly you're mssing the point. Black have no problem with black being in the move. Whites are the ones that were upset to blacks cast as characters in the movie. Give us a break.

        April 19, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
      • Manny

        Poor ignorant Cindy, do you kno how read or is jus because you are white..sorry that would racist to say that. Its ignorant people like you that article like this are simply explained and dumb down yet you still don't understand its because closet misinformed prejudice still exsit in 2012. Try expanding your mind and world of things and maybe just maybe you wake up to reality

        April 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Matthew

    I saw the movie before the book and I had no problem with any of the casting. I thought the actress that play Rue and Cinna did a great job and fit the characters in the book. I did not understand the fuss, I imagine in a future about North America there would be black people. I hope they cast more African Americans and Latinos in the next movie.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Peter Trainor

      Matthew white Latinos like Cameron Diaz, Eddie Cibrian or Cristina Aguilera or mostly Indian like most Mexicans? Latinos can be of any race, even Asian.

      April 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rogue

    Agree with the article. I read the first book and of course I pictured the characters in my mind, but I had no problem with any of the casting. Having actually read the books, the casting of African-Americans for Thresh and Rue was no surprise and I thought Lenny Kravitz as Cinna was inspired casting once I saw the movie; though I had never seen him as an actor in anything else, he embodied the kindness and respect that Katniss so desperately needed prior to going into the arena. Woody Harrelson certainly wasn't my first choice as Haymitch, but I thought he acquitted himself well in the role.

    As long as the actor can make me suspend my disbelief in the role, I have no problem with anyone playing a role.

    April 18, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. jai

    i was shocked at the reaction to the choice of rues race at first. i think non-whites are sometimes quick to point out racism or closed minded beliefs but, as i read this article i was reminded when i too lost interest in a movie because the heroin wasn't the expected color for me. that movie was the passion of christ, from the start of the movie i was disinterested because Jesus was portrayed again by a white man. after reading this now i see that i may have missed out on an experience shared by millions but in the moment that wasn't close to what i was thinking. we all have beliefs, expectations and we all would like to see those protraed by man stream media. it may not be right, but in the moment it didn't feel wrong. all i can hope for is that those young people who have dismissed the hunger games movie based on some choices of characters, will someday look back and experience the epiphany that i did... that in the end, race doesn't matter.

    April 18, 2012 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • davedave2

      Jesus was portrayed as a white man b/c he was a white man as were almost 100% of the Jews in Palestine around the year zero. BTW, there is no reason a black man cannot play a white man or vice versa

      April 18, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
      • TruthSeeker

        What type of white? Jesus was not the typical pictorial white sold in religious stores and posted around US. He DID NOT have blue eyes and blond hair. Most likely he had black hair and a light colored skin.

        April 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Really?

        Correction, they were Arab.

        April 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bob

    No big deal.

    April 17, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bookenz

    It is my understanding that the author was fine with the casting choices, so obviously it met her vision of the characters. So the so called fans should shut up.

    April 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Go Grow A Pair

      Oh they won't shut up. Because the movie was not made to their exact specifications. It's similar to the Soprano's on HBO. Everyone loved it up until the end. Now people say the show was lame because some failed to understand the final episodes. People expect too much and want their cake and get to eat it too. The sad part is pretty much any and all of them are welcome to try and bring us their vision of a perfect movie yet none of them ever will because they are too busy sitting here crying over slights that don't exist. See the dilemma? It's called wasting time trying to convince stupid not to be stupid anymore. Don't bother, let them whine.

      They still gave their money to the studios so most of them are hypocrites if they complain over this non-existant "problem" after the fact. Let them show the world how silly they are. It only makes reveals them for what they are...closet racists or chronic helpless cry babies. The world has enough problems without catering to their particular brand of ignorance.

      April 19, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lost

    Why are white people so resistant to anything other than themselves, and want non-whites to live and think the same way? Their "need" and hunger to control all things for the sake of their own survival has poisoned all things (politics, health, gender relationsips, and cultures).

    April 17, 2012 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
    • alex

      i like it when hypocrites complain about ALL whites all being hypocrites and stereotyping as if they didn't realize that they're 3rd grade education doesn't mean they can claim all whites are racist hypocrites

      April 17, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • jbcal

        Third grade education. Way to make your point.

        April 18, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • bannister

      All races and "distinct peoples" have a psychological need to be around others like themselves and see themselves reflected in their culture. That's why multi-racial societies are so unstable – no one can agree on the "image" of the nation.

      April 18, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • ambi taylor

      Lost -I agree with you, and yes while all "tribes" have this innate feeling to be around other like them and even protect others like them...I have to agree it seems whites take this to a whole new level...as seen by history and even now. Anything or one not liked them they like to subjugate. Yet blacks, Asians, Hispanics etc have for decades lived with, watched, read, loved and support TV, Movies, Mags, Fashion that only showed whites. I loved Family Ties, and geez so many different ALL white shows growing up and as and adult watched and loved tons of ALL white (not a person of color anywhere not even as the comic relief) show ...and I never thought "why isn't my fav person black?" I'm and avid reader of ALL genres and when my favs have been books I NEVER complained about the color....I might have had an issue with who ever was picked acting skills not lining up with what I thought a character should be.

      I also find it interesting that any time a minority shows pride for their group, or wants better things, situations for their group then they are "hostile, militant, to be watched" yet no one calls whites that for all these years when they were looking out for their best interests. For anyone to DEFEND those folks online saying "they didn't get as emotional when Rue died because she was black" they are just sick. I've cried a hundreds of movies with white actors when something sad or tragic happens....my mind never said "oh its a white person so not a sad situation" so yeah for who did that just because they were black shows that just like in watching a movie in REAL life they have less or no empathy or value for a black or any other minority not them life...and that IS a problem.

      April 18, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
      • ffact

        ambi, if a black says "i'm black and proud", they are applauded. if a white says "i'm white and proud", they are considered a skinhead, crazy separatist nazi.
        ambi, You have it all backwards. it is white people who are not allowed to openly be proud of who they are and the countless millions of accomplishments of their people.

        April 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • annebeth

        @ fact: Most of the whites that I know do not only just identify as white here in the US but as Irish-American, Italian-American, Scottish-American and so on and it is OK with everyone. They may be 3 generations removed from Italy, not even speak Italian but identify as Italian-American and I have seen all the car tags, t-shirts and tattoos that mention a pride in being descended from these groups. Odd how no one has a problem with this but black pride or African-American pride is regarded as not acceptable.

        April 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • Rose

        ffact has a point. I think people who feel like this probably don't understand well the realities. But still it is true that if white people were to congregate in white groups to build up white people it would be a huge stink. I think we all need to walk in each others shoes and try to see where everyone is coming from. Yes we would be called racists, ect. and we need to understand why it is not been accepted of us. Because we have never been the group on the bottom of the totem pole, with our rights stripped , being profiled, a lot of us don't even understand that racisism is alive and well, that there is still racial profiling and it is still when a black young man and white young man go before the judge with the same evidence, same lawyer, same crime that the black man will probably be sentenced harsher. So I am not offended when there are latino groups for latino rights, when there are black groups for black issues, but there is a lot of resentment stirring up with whites feeling left out, maybe as they see the demographics changing in our country there is some extra discomfort? Just really , lets be respectful of each other and lets understand our nations history ..... I hope one day the need for having black rights groups, latino rights groups , ect can move more toward a impovershed rights, ect where we are all working together to help each other. Prayer prayer prayer.

        April 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • LC

        ffact & Rose – You're confusing Ethnic-based groups and pride with racist-based groups and pride. Black Panthers and the KKK are equally reviled. Puerto Rican Day parade are equally welcomed as St. Patrick's Day parade. The author of this article is commenting on bloggers who hates the movie or the characters simply because of skin-color. So, either agree that this type of thinking is immature and does not help our nation to be united; or disagree and do not acknowledge that this is a form of racist thinking. But...don't be cowards and justify it by saying that if the other side does it, then why can't we? Two wrongs don't make a right. You want to bring out the other types of injustices?...fine...do that, and condemn both.

        April 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Juanita

    I suggest ALL individuals of color NOT waste their time, money and effort. DON'T WATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your money can be used for something more important It's just that simple.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • tisch

      Both Katniss and Gale are described in the books as having olive skin and black hair. Why is no one upset at Hollywood bleaching them to white?

      April 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Peter Trainor

        Keep in mind that white comes in all colors from lily white to olive skin and even dark and brown like George Clooney.

        April 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Waitwhat?

      It's a good movie. It wasn't the director's, actor's or author's fault that fans were responding in such racist manners. Why protest the movie?

      April 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toad

      I love the books and I'm going to watch the movie. just because people are racist doesn't mean that not watching it will support the actors.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  17. Chazztastic

    Anyone recall the recent comments of "cultural critic" Toure? (sorry no accents on my iPad). When he said Piers Morgan was not qualified to report on black issues in America, as he has only been here seven years, did he really mean being British (English) disqualifies him, or was he really just disguising (poorly) his racist sentiment that whites can't relate to a black child's murder? Btw, How is it someone can write about an African-American utopia (I.e a utopia which by definition excludes whites) be anything but racist? Wake up to the ugly truth and admit that if you are human you are capable of evil and that includes all forms of racism.

    April 13, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • mica

      Apparently, you believe Toure is the spokesman for ALL African Americans??? I have not read any of Toure's comments on Piers Morgan so i will not jump to any conclusions. That being said i highly doubt toure would say Morgan should be excluded from
      reporting on "black issues"- that would be ridiculous since it would disqualify every non African- american from reporting on news about black people or black people covering news involving non blacks!!!! If i had to make a guess, he may have been saying Morgan's OPINIONs on race in black America should be taken with a grain of salt since he has only been in the US for a short period.

      April 16, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Hunger Fan

    I pictured someone like Jeff Bridges to play Haymitch. Older and scruffier.

    Otherwise all the characters were eerily close to how I imagined them looking!

    Fantastic movie and cannot wait for Catching Fire!

    April 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  19. SupaVal

    I don't really care about who is in this movie cuz I didn't read the books, but I can relate to the fans that did get upset. I read the lord of the rings, and I would have been disappointed if it had featured a black Gimli, or an asian Legolas. I wouldn't be all racist about it, but still irked. A female starbuck and an asian female boomer didn't ruin the BSG remake for me, so why should a couple of black actors ruin this movie for fans of the book? The people who had racist remarks are petty fools and cowards, who would never call that little girl who played Rue the 'n' word to her face.

    April 13, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  20. Sheshoulddajustsaidblack

    I understand how there could be some people angry, but some people read books and then watch the movies and expect them to be the same. The author should have been specific and said exactly what she had in mind cause dark skinned can mean different things, but I think she left it up to us to decide so bigots could read the book and not be uncomfortable. @Olive-skinned? that was racist and uncool, no reson to "fight" racism with racism... Pwned much?

    April 13, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Waitwhat?

      She described the complexion of all of the characters. Why should she be more descriptive with the black characters than with the white characters? Wouldn't that have been odd? It's not the author's fault. Some people in America are not ready for black heroes....

      April 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Schizoid

    The ghost of racism will never stop to haunt the USA until people stop beign so damn sensitive to such petty things and comments. Sometimes I think that the people that rant so much about what can be marked racism or not, are as racist in the inside as people that actively discriminate in everyday life.

    I live in a latino-american country, almost everyone here is of mixed race, I have a black father and a criollan mother with several white relatives and despite of the relatively "colorblind society" I live, there are still stereotypes everywhere and sometimes You can hear comments that could be considered "pollitically incorrect" in most parts of the world, even inside my own familly, But you know what, we don´t make a big deal of it, we simply treat it like a joke and we move on, you never see constant rants in newsfeeds about if the "kiling of ´x´ person was probably due to racism" or if "someone wasn´t hired probably for beign as pale as a plastic mannequin".

    ¿Some people say they don´t like dark skin and post nasty anonymous comments on the internet? big freaking deal! I don´t like the apperance of most blond people either and I sometimes have mocked them across the internet, but that doesn´t mean I act like a jerk when around them, everyone does it at some point, many of those comments are not meant seriously.

    Call me when they start to outrigth deny others people rigths or to attack them in the real world, now that is racism.

    April 13, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • DP

      I think we'll get rid of racism quicker if people stop being racist than if they stop being sensitive.

      April 18, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  22. mique

    Those weren't real Hobbits in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I liked it just the same.

    April 13, 2012 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  23. MarkinFL

    Bigots are bigots no matter what books they read. Personally, I think it is far more awkward to share the love of a book with a bigot than to not share the same race as an actor that plays a favorite character. Perhaps the story needed more bigots for them to elate too.

    April 13, 2012 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  24. Ariel

    All the actors casted in "Hunger Games" were well chosen. It's ignorant idiots that decide to unleash their irrational racism onto innocent people. And it's so sad that a 12-year-old girl has to be a main target for their stupidity. If a movie-goer or an avid reader had any intelligence, it should be about the actual plot and story rather than whether any of the actors were black. -__-

    April 13, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  25. RichieP

    What do you expect? The movie was watched by tens of millions of people. Of course there are going to be some racists in an audience that big.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Michael

    I understand that racism still exists and can aggravate societal cohesion. But apart from that it saddens me that a product (the story itself) which is so beloved by american culture right now could face such backlash from FANS because they feel the race of two FICTIONAL characters was misrepresented.

    If you missed that Rue and Thresh were black in reading, did it so shock and disturb you on screen that you weren't able to reconcile as part of the movie and carry on with the viewing? Im mostly shocked that these fans feel like it "ruined" the movie, it speaks volumes about how much race affects these peoples lives.

    You missed out on a good movie guys, just cuz 2 people were brown skinned. So what...so what...so what, if the filmmakers had INTENTIONALLY cast actors whose races were different from the book?

    April 12, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Manuel L. Iravedra

    The writer's own racial notions are also kind of nonsensical. So , what was this about a half-Black half-Hispanic new Spidey?
    Apparently, she believes Hispanics are a Race? News: The Morales guy simly would be a Black Hispanic, period. Similarly, there are Asian Democrats, Black Jews, and Indian Masons. HIspanics are a very loosely defined cultural category, invented by the US Census, _not a Race_...

    April 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Waitwhat?

      Oh, how right you are!!

      April 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • doughnuts

      IN the new Ultimate Spider-Man, it wasn't Morales' color or ethnicity that bothered me, it's that they killed off Peter Parker.
      Are you going to replace Bruce Wayne, and cotinue Batman?
      Are you going to replace Cal-El with some other Kryptonian dude and still call it "Superman"?

      You could replace Darren in "Bewitched" but you couldn't have replaced Elizabeth Montgomery.

      April 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  28. sheillia

    I read the books and watched the movie. Who cares what color any of the characters were?! Seriously!? The books were great and the movie was great. The young lady who played Rue was a beautiflu little girl that done an amazing job in the role. I can't even believe the color of a character in a movie is even an issue. Wow, how sad.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • mscarter

      I completely agree!!! Rue was beautiful.....the whole movie was great, I couldnt imagine anyone else playing any of these characters. I dont care what the bigots say!!!

      April 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • jb

      I was one of those people who missed that Rue and Thresh were African American in the books. But, it was a non-factor for me. Rue captured the role perfectly. I thought the casting in this movie was amazing. So many of them embodied the characters in a way that I felt was true to the book. Effie, most of all. I did leave thinking whomever did the casting of this movie should be in high demand now.

      April 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Sarah

    I thought Rue was cast beautifully. The young lady they picked perfectly captured the way I imagined her when I read the book. I was disappointed with the casting of Woody Harrelson as Haymitch. He just didn't jive with my mental picture. I think that's why I seldom see the movies that are made from books I love. I like my mental picture better than the onscreen version.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  30. eric

    I have read the books and I also went to see the movie when it came out.
    I enjoyed them and to be honest I was kind of surprised by all white people in the movie. I guess when I read the books their was more of an emphasis on the odd costumes and hairdos and whatnot than on skin color, but I do remember thinking that Capital didn't seem to have a lot of other races in it when I saw the movie... I remember being a little offended that they would make the oppressors all white lol

    April 12, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  31. Nethalein

    The book was just as good as the movie I thought, although i had not read the book until after the movie, it help me see the actors better. But I just cant get over the fact people are bringing up skin color as an issue, and I think its sad that here in 2012, we are still arguing about this, because both side refuse to drop it. I view things as Morgan Freemen saw them “Just stop talking about it. I'm not going to call you a White man, and I would appreciate if you would not call me a black man." It’s as simple as that, but what can you do? People can't follow simple directions and have to always get there 2cents in, even though " if you have nothing nice to say, you shouldn’t say nothing at all" that rules doesn’t apply to them they are above the law, rules, whatever you may call it. In the end stupid people, are just stupid people.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  32. mitch

    i think they should have cast an old man, in a wheel chair, who was also deaf, to play katniss – makes as much sense as having some other these other PC actors play the roles they were in

    awesome books, and the movie was great, but this commentator SUCKS

    April 12, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Grant

      They were not being PC. If you actually read the book they kept very close to the books. Most readers love it when directors do that. The actors were legitimate.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  33. rzdoucet

    I saw the movie and don't get what skin color has to do with acting. I thought everyone was great in the movie. But, I tend to be "color-blind" until people bring it to my attention. I don't even know who Lenny Kravitz is, but he was really good in that part!

    April 12, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  34. Andy

    Guys. Its not nearly as big of a deal as Avatar the last Air Bender. What was primarily a Asian dominant(and pretty much ALL characters were of some sort of Asian descent) turned into everyone being white. Now that was a movie that totally fubared the look of the characters and that was based off an animated series not a book.

    April 12, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  35. Matthew Craven

    I read the book while deployed here in Afghanistan. My wife is waiting my return to see the movie on DVD with me. Of course I knew who was cast to play Katness but little else. The fact that Lenny Kravitz played Cinna reinforced my imagination in the book. I felt he was a black man. Not sure why. I felt he was a very genuine character and a steadying force for Katness in a brutal world. Lenny Kravtiz may not have been a choice I would have though of but now I look forward even more to watching the movie. If it helps some folks, at least his mother was married to a white guy in The Jeffersons. And Woody Harrellson as Haymitch, I can definitely see him pulling that one off. He is an underrated actor in my opinion. And whos to say that sweet little, cleaver Rue had to be a white girl? Glad I can see it at home with my wife. Rude people can ruin a movie. I am about to read the second book and third book.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Buffy

      Matthew, its nice that you mentioned that Lenny's mom was married to a white guy on the Jeffersons. In case you did not know it, his mother was married to a white guy in real life!

      April 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • Khari

        Lenny Kravitz is BI-RACIAL! Black & White.

        April 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Future RamaLLama

    Good point, Jim from BC.
    If it was my daughter, the riot would have started before she even entered the games.
    Not to mention a few of those space crafts would be smouldering on the ground (lol, look at me talking tuff).

    April 11, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  37. rickyriter

    Damn, Erika. Get a life.

    April 11, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Claire Thomas

    It is about time we stop defining people by their color. We are all people with the same inside, it is just the outside that is different. That is one of the things that I loved about living briefly in Europe, there people are not defined by the color of their skin, and that is exactly the way it should be here in America. But unfortunately racism is alive and well and apparently thriving in America – poor small minded people. It was an excellent book and the movie was great too – I did not find myself worried about anyone's race, just the fact that we are heading in the exact direction that is depicted.

    April 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Tally-Wacker

    I saw hunger games in Denver and after Rue dies and distirct 11 starts rioting, somebody 4 or 6 rows below me yelled "OMG they killed travon!" and almost everyone started laughing.

    April 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • SenseSay

      Ha Ha....
      Now please tell us how they managed to capture so many fools in one place and get them to cracks jokes with each other. That would be a movie worth watching.

      April 12, 2012 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
    • ambi taylor

      another example that no one takes killing of a black child, real or fictional serious...or at least not most people not black...that is sick actually that they would make that comment and that folks laughed.

      April 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • faithonawhim

        ambi taylor...why do you only mention "black child".....if you stop thinking in terms of color and start thinking in terms of the human heart you will not see a "black child" but rather just a child! It not just ONE race that is racist....there are many! I get soooo tired of hearing all the blah blah black, blah blah white, again...I am not albino and is your skin tone really black? or are you just a shade color different than your neighbor? Do you get tired of being called black when your not? Then stop calling all people in a race black...because news flash...they are NOT! Just like I get tired of being called white..another newsflash...I am NOT!!!!! Oh by the way....for some reason...YOU ANNOY ME!!!!!!

        April 30, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Future RamaLLama

    I never read the book. I was disappointed that it was geared towards a younger demographic ( I'm older , but not
    totally ungeekyfied). Lenny Kravitz did a smooth a cool job in his role and Rue was acceptable as an actor. Hollywood
    still is about bringing in the bucks ( Black patron's money-fine by them). As for these Twitter twits- open the communication
    up to the world and they'll be stupid, crass, racist tweeters, still developing brains (par for the course).


    The scene of the seething Black guy walking away (Cam focused on him) just before a riot was manipulative. As if riots are Black thing (or initiated by one). But that ward had Whites too, so it was as if- "Okay, at least in the future they don't segregate and the Whites understand the emotional rage to riot." Confusing and messy. The editing brought you
    close to those perceptions.

    And in this film, the Black guy didn't get killed first. It was the Asian guy butchered in the 1st demo reel. Sheesh.

    April 11, 2012 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
    • go4hockeychick

      actually, Rue's district rebels in a totally different way in the book. The riot was, for the movie, the easiest (and probably best) way of getting that point across. For people who hadn't or won't read the book, it gets the significance of Rue and Katniss' relationship across without a lot of back story.

      April 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim from BC

      My assmption was that the reason that guy was starting the riot was because he was Rue's father and had just seen his daughter killed on TV.

      April 11, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Future RamaLLama

      Thanks for clearing that up, Go4Hockeychick.
      I can't help 2nd guessing a plot. I thought for sure the taller, pretty boy would rescue Katniss after crossing illegal
      boundaries. But, I'd better hold my guess, I'm sure they'll play him up in a sequel. He has the "Twilight " heartthrob actor look. Ignore me kids, and enjoy the movies of your own generation.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Tesla

    i think an important lesson to take away from this is "hate everyone. equally."

    April 10, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  42. hbc12

    Dose it really have to matter we all should be treated the same. I done't think there's anything wrong with the book or the movie.so.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Mil Member

    What am I defending if the bigotry, ignorance, and hatred is still so firmly planted here on the home front. IT’S A MOVIE!!!! GET over it. It was casted perfectly. Regardless of what the races were, THE BEST ACTORS were chosen for the roles. We look forward to the next one.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  44. bella

    The book is about one thing and one thing only, the economic collapse that ended the america we know. When the people tried to revolt against the inevitable marshall law, the government became a dictactorship. It is already happening people and you ought to take heed.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shiloh

      Thats not it at all. There is nothing about the economic fall of america in the book. It does take place after the US has fallen and there are references to great wars which damaged the environment and killed millions. Nothing about the US/ American economy. It does depict colonialism a bit, and Cruelty and hope. But nothing in there as I read it screamed economic decline or doctrine other than references of the districts supplying various products. I think you should re read the books.

      April 11, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  45. marcus

    I find it so difficult that so many want to define their own life as well as others by how they feel things should be. we should discount if not shun those in power, that inform or who lead that attempt promoting issues for self serving purposes.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  46. FunnyBone


    April 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  47. LindsayC

    It's unfortunate that those people would tweet those things– how backwards can you get. I wasn't upset because Rue and Thresh were black..I was upset that they were the ONLY tributes of a minority race. Most of the people I talked to said the same thing! I didn't understand why no one else in the 24 was a racial minority! I've heard people say that it was the intention of the author–to suggest that the Capitol was so evil, they would segregate all people of color to one district, but if that was the case and the movie was just trying to capture this, they wouldn't have cast Kravitz as Cinna! And furthermore, everyone if the Capitol is always dying their skin different colors which suggests differing skin colors are embraced. Also..when Rue died..why is 11 the only district that started to riot?? That didn't happen in book 1. I feel like this takes us back to the stereotypes of pre-Civil Rights. Disappointing.

    I first picked up on the race issue in the 2nd book.. Peeta and Katniss are on tour and they go to 11 and describe 11 as field of crops with dark-skinned people harvesting... remind you of anything?? Maybe I just picked up on this because I am from SC.. Also, i think 11 is intended to be the deep south on a map as 12 is in Appalachia.. I was pretty shocked when I read this. I never picked up on any other cues suggesting that the Capitol intentionally segregated races. Also, if this takes place if the future, you want us to believe the Capitol moved all people of color to a separate district?? It just makes NO sense! I would really love to hear what the authors intention was here…

    April 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pokey

      The authors intention? I doubt there was any underlying notion of black vs. white, or different districts being more one color than another. I read all three books and didn't feel they were anti anything.I think that people work in the fields today just like they did generations ago – both black and white. These are fictional books meant to entertain. I doubt no one is more surprised than the author herself at all of the talk of race. Everyone can read a book and pick it apart to suit their needs, beliefs and ideas.

      How sad that EVERYTHING has to be about race. Can we not just enjoy the story and the movie as it was intended? A piece of fiction that entertains and teaches a few lessons. I live in a world made up of different races, I wasn't bothered that characters were different colors in the movie. In fact, when some of the comments started showing up I realized that I never cared or remembered what race everyone was in the book – I think for most of us, it was the essence of the character and not the color that needed to be captured.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim from BC

      To be fair, in a brief shot of the last year's hunger games you could see that the last winner was black and the guy he killed (i.e. the runner-up) was asian.

      April 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Michaelle Lancaster

    Reading comprehension anyone. I thought the choice of acter for Rue was perfect. I agree shame on these little hate mongers parents. It is a sign of the times when racist bigots feel enboldened by current political undercurrent. A lot sad and a lot scary.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Jose

    I felt the opposite way in the movie, "The Last Airbender" I wanted them to stay at least close to what the characters were, in the animated series. Sure, I don't remember any African americans in the series but why did they go with casting white characters???? Now that ruined the movie for me, and truth be told maybe some of the acting too.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim from BC

      For a movie to be ruined it has to be good, or at least decent, in the first place. The Last Airbender was an absolutely Horrible movie and cast of asians wouldn't have saved it.

      April 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Nik

    My only semi-disappointment was when Samuel L. Jackson was chosen for the role of Nick Fury in Iron Man and other movies. This was weird after having grown up with Sgt. Nick and the Howling Commandos.

    However, if he's gonna be black, Samuel L. Jackson was the very best choice – he rocks!

    April 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • sielingfan


      April 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • seraphim0

      Nik- the Ultimate Comics version of Nick Fury is based on Mr. Jackson. They geared the movies more toward the Ultimate Universe continuity.

      Just FYI.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Kassie

    The problem I had with the original posts was that the people posting the remarks were not making criticisms about creative choices, they were spewing hate. Saying that the choice of an actor ruined the movie for them BECAUSE of that actor's race is RACIST. It's ugly, it's repulsive, and it's hateful. The remarks from the original article also mentioned that the person didn't feel bad about the character of Rue dying in the movie because of her race. That because of her RACE her life was less valuable. That's the very DEFINITION of racist. It's UGLY, HATEFUL, DISGUSTING, and it's REPULSIVE. Even if her character was described as the most lily white-skinned child every seen, there is still nothing that would make me feel like that actress deserves to see any of these words people have said about her portrayal of that character. I think she did a wonderful job, played an extremely emotional and complex relationship with Katniss, and I cried for 20 minutes after her death in the movie. Bravo! Beautifully done! I still weep for Rue, and keep her in my heart. No matter what racist filth is dished out in cyberspace.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • FunnyBone

      Very well said!

      April 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  52. John

    Thanks for that great wisdom.

    April 10, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  53. Marie

    When I first read about the racist tweets, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. It's kind of frustrating that in 2012, we still have this kind of racism going on. The one that ticked me off the most was the one who said Rue's death wasn't as sad because she was black. Seriously? A child getting killed is sad no matter what the skin color. I have to give kudos to Amandla Stenberg. She is a beautiful girl who played Rue perfectly. She brought Rue's vulnerability along with her "street smarts" to the role. I also thought Lenny Kravitz was great as Cinna. I had my doubts about him because I'd only heard of him as a musician, not an actor, but he was really great in the role. We only saw Thresh for a short time, but the actor that played him was good as well.

    I guess what I don't understand is all the judging by appearances. We don't judge people because of their eye color, so why skin color?

    April 10, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Don't worry my dear, one day they will change.
      I tell youf a short story my wife like i said before is a Russian, the only child the parents had, her father a full time Racist, but when the undefeatable feelings the lord God almighty created amongs his children came in, i took the only daughter they have on my side. I tell you what, he abandorned his racist acts.
      Feeling of love cannot be defeated. If i were not married i would have been going out looking for those called racist to marry their daughter.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim from BC

      Because eye colour is harder to see at a distant and it doesn't always run directly in families so it's much easier to delineate social classes based on skin colour than eye colour.

      April 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  54. guildsbounty

    Yes. Thank you! I mean sure, it'd be a bit confusing to change the race of a character whose appearance was very clearly established as completely contrary to the casting choice...but for less defined appearances....who cares!? So the actor they chose has a higher natural melanin count (read: built-in suntan) and different facial features than you. Whoop De Doo.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  55. kizi420

    Dont you have anything better to do than argue about something so petty? who cares what color the characters are black white asian whatever its a good movie and book which means its fiction why take it so seriously? do you take the bible as serious as the book

    April 10, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  56. Razi

    I feel a little bad for the folks with poor reading comprehension, the book actually discribed most of district 11 being dark skinned people. I distictly remember this because I thought to myself while reading "wow, that's messed up that they put brown people back in the fields." However, I was impressed the movie actually showed this as well.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • dsch26

      I'm wondering if it is just selective memory. Although comprehension sucks today, many people just gloss over what they're not interested in.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  57. dsch26

    When this first cropped up just after the movie was released, I was surprised. My memory isn't that great, but I was thinking "Weren't Rue and Thresh black in the book?" All I can say is to just ignore the comments of racist and uneducated people. People are a lot more than their color.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  58. Uniquitous

    Haven't read the books, but who cares what race. Can't wait to go see the movie soon. But, I think Lenny was not the best choice. I just don't think he can act, but maybe I will be surprised.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • KYMomma

      I thought Cinna was perfectly cast. As far as acting, all he had to do was be sweet and mysterious. No problem.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
      • seraphim0

        Really? No problem? Truly spoken like someone who has acted professionally before. Portraying that emotion and bringing to to life believably so that it flows naturally on a screen is very difficult.

        April 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • SuZieCoyote

      He was great in the role.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • dsch26

      don't know about being surprised, but he did a very good job as Cinna. I loved the movie, went pretty close tot he book. There were a few things that confused me in the beginning because of the placement of a scene or two, but I think all the actors were great

      April 10, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  59. Tank

    When my wife said Lenny K was playing Cinna, I had my doubts. Not due to race, but I had never seen him act before in a film. He aced the role! I think the little girl that played Rue made the role extremely memorable with her innocent look, again, excellent casting!
    The weird thing is that in the book, these kids were tossed into the arena with 1 goal, to live. Color, gender, age and everything else evaporated. Survival was the common thread that bound all of them, thus making everything else unimportant and secondary. Ability to fight and/or survive became the predominant factor.
    It would likely be a good idea for the general population as a whole to consider a persons ability in what they do as the judging factor instead of their race, age, gender or any other non-sensical garbage.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
    • FunnyBone

      "It would likely be a good idea for the general population as a whole to consider a persons ability in what they do as the judging factor instead of their race, age, gender or any other non-sensical garbage."

      Great Post! Your above quote is the crux of the problem. The general population as a whole DOES not judge others based on their character, abilities, etc...That is far too complicated of thinking for some. Its far too easy and simple-minded and easy to make snap judgments based on stereo-types an biases. And that has a downward spiral, negative cause-n-effect in of itself.

      I appreciate how the article highlights the fact that when Peter Parker was white, she embraced and still was a fan of the comic. Why should that change for others when he is no longer white?

      Let’s face it; this world has ALWAYS had people from different backgrounds and pigmentations. It is pure arrogance to think that shouldn’t be reflected in movies, publications, commercials, businesses, employment, etc...

      April 10, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
      • Josh

        People don't have an issue with black characters. I think what irritates people is when beloved characters are changed and it looks like some lame corporate attempt at diversity. This was the problem with Spider-Man. Create new minority characters for people to like, don't steal established ones.

        I don't really get the Hunger Games problem. The characters were described as dark skinned to begin with, except for Cinna. This is something of a non-issue to me, and I have to wonder how many people were really complaining. I have to think this was a large overreaction to what was probably a small group of complainers. CNN likes to do things like this.

        April 10, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  60. MIKE S

    What a GD racist country we like in. I can't imagine how black soldiers feel about going over seas and risking their lives for you misguided freaks. Grow up and get a good education so you can free your mind then ask God for forgiveness. Hopefully it won't take an emergency room nurse or doctor of color to change your racist mind.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
    • FunnyBone


      April 10, 2012 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Perfect education to those that are destroying our beautiful world.
      I am an African married to European (Russian) i love her so much, i don't even look at her color as a factor for loving her.
      We have been together for 17Yrs with three kids, God's willing we will always be together.

      Let those so called Racist and Facists among all races go look for their medication.
      Because they are all going to die of heart attack sooner or later.
      You been Racist or Facist will not stop people from loving people of different race, language etc.
      God bless the world and his hand made.

      John. Switzerland.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  61. anon

    Great article. As a white male I completely agree with you. Who cares is the character is of a different color. That doesn't take away from the story. I think these people that are complaining need to wake up and get a real life as they obviously have too much time on their hands.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
  62. spock has spoken

    Live long and prosper. And please try to get along, earthlings

    April 10, 2012 at 4:40 am | Report abuse |
  63. Ohmin

    Great movie. Just listened to Catching Fire on Mixvid cant wait for the movie. Capital vs Districts If the races fight among themselves the districts lose.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Ian. UK

      Erika, I took my kids to see the Hunger Games this weekend. I was pleasantly surprised, I really enjoyed it.
      My two boys are real fans of the books, and were happy to explain every detail that I might have missed, including the plot of the next two films.
      I am puzzled by your article, why are you entertaining such negativity about such an enjoyable movie? Might I suggest for your next piece you write an article about how Amandla Stenberg portrayal of Rue stole the Hunger Games. In a film with a great cast she stood head and shoulders above the others, and deserves an Acadamy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her efforts.
      Get glass half full about life and particularly this movie. What better way to answer the bigots than to give this great little actress an Oscar? You're a journalist, you must know a few people in the Academy, start the ball rolling and send a few e mails and texts.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:02 am | Report abuse |
      • Ken

        Unfortunately, i do not have the time to go into an explanation of why your "glass half full" quip irritates me to the core–and please, i mean no condescension or offense. But i do ask of you to really consider what you are saying, and that which you are suggesting society should ignore. This isn't about rainbows and butterflies, or dirty walls or spilled milk. These are real people, of blood and guts and heart. Consider your children. Especially if these are black. Which i suspect they aren't.

        April 10, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
      • Ian. UK

        Ken: I am genuinely sorry that I irritated you to the core, that was not my intention. My point was simply that in my opinion Amandla Sternberg gave an excellent performance in this movie. And that the enormous global box office success of the film shows that a lot of people agree.
        The glass half full view is that the best actors in Hollywood today are African American. Denzel Washingron, Samuel L Jackson , Will Smith and Morgan Freeman are at the top of their game. And based on her performance in the Hunger Games, Amandla Sternberg is set to join the ranks of great African American Hollywood stars.

        April 11, 2012 at 5:55 am | Report abuse |
  64. yassuh...sho nuff

    Well at least Jessie Jackson and friends aren't asking about Lenny's character something like "Is he BLACK enough?" Lenny sure seemed like an inspiring character with lots of character... he wasn't wearing a hoodie or and ghetto-ridiculous bling. Where's the outrage?
    Nice to see Lenny got to play a normal person with integrity... sho' 'nuff....

    April 10, 2012 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  65. GSDog

    Close to 50 years ago Star Trek had the first inter racial kiss on TV and we still have these debates. How slow we change.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
    • thomas

      Actually the Star Trek kiss was the third interracial kiss on TV and the second on US TV.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
      • Hey You

        Interracial kisses:

        An inter-racial kiss on TV took place in 1964 between the characters Dr Mahler (Joan Hooley) and Dr Farmer (John White) on ITV's Soap Emergency Ward 10. This was in Britain.

        A mention should go to William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek fame who on November 22, 1968 had an inter-racial black and white kiss in the episode "Plato's Stepchildren".

        It isn't technically "inter-racial" but Lucille Ball (white anglo) and Desi Arnaz (white hispanic) kissed repeatedly in "I love Lucy".

        Billie Thomas, who played "Buckwheat" on "Our Gang" had already kissed white girls, and such movies had been played on television before any other examples took place.

        All this hoopla over the color of an actor's skin is torro poopo. There are some roles that it would be shocking (a black actress playing the white witch in Narnia for example), but by and large it really doesn't matter if the actor can handle the part.

        April 10, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  66. surprised that there are doofuses among us?

    Since Will Smith, Eddie Murphy and dozens of other movie super-stars are 'non-white', it should be obvious that nearly all of the US public doesn't feel the way you describe. I wouldn't worry about whether a small percentage of lunatic-fringe, inbred, ignorant, backward doofuses have racist tendencies. Outside of their red neck of the woods they are irrelevant.

    April 10, 2012 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  67. Reality Check

    I havent read the book, but the control room doesnt have a single indian...thats strange isnt it...what if there is a technical glitch? where is the tech support???? 🙂 common where are my brown ppl...shud i cry foul for not being represented????

    April 10, 2012 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Reality Check

      errr spell check!

      April 10, 2012 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  68. louisesor

    Im glad that persons of colour were cast in the movie. It makes it true to the books, and true to real life, where people come in all colours. Plus, it can show us that regardless of colour, people are just people. Fiction can show us how life could be if we'd all get along.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Razi

      It's true, fiction can show us what things could be if we got along... it's such a shame that it has to be fiction though.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
      • Nodding in Agreement

        It truly is a shame.

        April 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  69. ruemorgue

    another silly book made into a sillier movie so hollywood can make ... money !!! clowns.

    April 10, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  70. Susan

    Why does it matter what color they were? If the book said they had darker skin then that makes sense.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  71. L

    At the end of the day, it's a movie.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • ruemorgue

      i just finished watching "girl with a dragon tattoo" and it's just as lame as "hunger games".

      April 10, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  72. cck99352

    Personally, I thought Lenny did an excellent job as Cinna. Further, I have no issues with black people, but the simple truth is that their culture has some serious problems (50% of black males drop out of high school, 40% of black males have criminal records, roughly 50% of black males are unemployed, etc)... the figures I cited above are from a recent NY Times article (no, I did not make them up). That said, no I am not a racist (I believe all are equal and deserve equal opportunity, and my grandfather was black) but I am also a realist in that there are some serious cultural issues that need to be addressed.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • indeedy

      Professional blacks seem to feel fairly welcome in our society now. Of course, they don't have criminal records, they are well-educated, they are looking out for their future... not bitter and hung up about the past that we can't change. The unsuccessful of all races also have a lot in common... and our society only loves winners...

      April 10, 2012 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
    • NS

      cck99352, I agree with you in that there are many dysfunctions in my community. However, it is funny how your grandfather was black, but you do not align yourself with the black community. This is evident in your statement "...I have no issues with black people, but the simple truth is that their culture..." Shouldn't it be that you have no issues with MY black people, but the simple truth is that OUR culture?

      April 10, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • FunnyBone

      When people quote stats, I always wonder do they REALLY want to know why something is the way it is. Why do teens get pregnant? And why does a certain cultural of teens get pregnant more than others?

      If you really want to know those answers, dig a little deeper. There is ALWAYS a cause-n-effect which answers "why"? Asking without truly wanting to take the time to discover the answers on your own, does nothing more than feed your subtle biases.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • ambi taylor

      If you have to state even once that you "don't have a problem with blacks" that means you DO have a problem with them. Social and economics issues control for centuries by whites is at least 60% of why you have more drop out, crime etc in majority black communities, the other 30% is that blacks have allowed themselves to be brainwashed and don't try to help themselves or fight for something more. Also your comment really had nothing to do with this topic so you really just spewed unflattering stats...so you can prove just how racist you really are. And I believe you are a troll too, I highly doubt your grandfather was black if so then YOU are black and you hate yourself

      April 18, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  73. 23 from texas

    This talk is toxic. You dont have to be different skin colors to be racist. I would like all to watch hotel rwanda. This movie is based on a true story and tells the true evils of racism. I am white, and love people of all colors, and it breaks my heart for someone to hate or even to dislike someone because of what they look like. We are better then that people. We are all the same, I dont care what you look like, where your from, what accent you have, what you believe. We are all the same race, if we do not stik together we will tear ourselves apart. :'(

    April 9, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Emily

    I think this is always an issue when you make a book into a movie – the characters are never going to totally align with the images in your head. But I do think it's so cool that there are so many wonderful books out there for us to read and get lost in, and then have the pleasure of seeing brought to life on the big screen. I hope they make a movie of Deadly Destination (Cat Denison) because that is one of my new favorite books. And I won't care too much if the characters aren't exactly as I imagined.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  75. ME!

    I was disappointed in Peeta. I expected him to be bigger. Tall, stocky (but not overweight). A football physique.

    April 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  76. ME!

    In all honesty...I cannot remember the description the book gave Rue, but I expected her to be Mexican. I am not trying to be rude, but the picture I got of people out in the orchards being hired Mexicans.

    April 9, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • onlyaname

      What concerend me was in the moive, rue's distract seemed to be heavley black. while katiness what heavely white, dont you think there should have been more of a mix. and they riot in the moive upset me that is not till the next book stop it!

      April 10, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
      • Shiloh

        The first book does mention unrest in district 11, doesnt specify what that means but it does make reference.

        April 11, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  77. Blazerilla

    "The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Erika Peterman."

    Wrong. They're my opinions too. Good job, Erica.

    April 9, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  78. fcfcfc

    Hi: Stop falling for the paper tigers... The race discussion is a distraction from the real message. I.E. the current power holders in our world want the "Hunger Games" reality to be ours, and they are pursuing that goal relentlessly as you bicker about color choices and other unimportant red herrings...


    April 9, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason


      April 9, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  79. cody

    Seriously? This must be a slow day in the world of news making.

    April 9, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason


      April 9, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • thomas

      No the producers of the movie just paid CNN to post this news/advertisement story to keep the marketing alive for their movie.

      How many CNN "news" stories are written by some author plugging a new book?

      April 10, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  80. Courious?

    I totally get why some people were shocked. I had the same reaction when people tried to convince me that Jesus and Cleopatra weren't Brown skinned people.

    April 9, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • littleblackcar

      Depends on what you mean by "brown". Jesus, of course, was Jewish, and Cleopatra was of Greek descent (not Egyptian). So they were both "white" by the modern definition, although they likely weren't blue-eyed blonds.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • harthead

        Jesus probably looked more like Osama then a "modern white"

        April 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • gavilansalvaje

      Cleopatra was a Ptolemy and they were Greek

      April 10, 2012 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  81. Laura

    I just hate Lenny Kravitz so I didn't care for that one but I always thought Rhu was black in my head. I also found it odd there were so many white people in this society. This is supposed to the future and white is going to be the minority. I thought for the movie they would have a bunch of mixed kids, probably what people will be.

    April 9, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ashley

      White will be the minority??? I doubt that. Don't know where you get your info from but it's obviously wrong.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Danny

        I'm Hispanic and my wife is white! enough said!

        April 9, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Astir

        Why do you doubt that Ashley? As the numbers stand right now, and the trend has been for several years, it is plausible that in the future White will indeed be a minority. How come you're so sure that Laura is obviously wrong? Does it bother you?

        April 9, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Katie

        Ashley, where do YOU get your information from? Who is immigrating to the States? Not people of "white" ancestry, as used to be the case. Will white people ever be the minority? It is a very real possibility. You do know that in 4 states (including our two largest, with California at almost 90% "non-white") whites are NOT the majority. And that in 9 other states, the white population has fallen below 60%. And, in 13 other states, the white population is between 60 – 65%. All of which have happened in the last 20 years. And, according to the last census, more "non-white" children are born every year, than white children. That means, that more US citizens are being born non-white, than white....so, logically, the US population is changing.

        April 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • ChrisG


        Did you know that 90% of statistics are made up? I'm guessing that you probably do since your assertion that California is 90% "Non-White" is hilariously absurd. Please do a little research before throwing out random numbers. As of the 2010 census California is 57.6% White.

        To the point of the article, I was a little shocked that so many people are having an issue with it. I had pictured both Rue and Thresh as black as it seemed that was the way they were described. My wife and I thought it was very interesting how close the movie came to what we had imagined after reading all the books. A very rare feat. Can't wait for the next 2.

        April 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • die die

        they left out: there are more asian people than of any other race on this planet.

        April 9, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rwing

      To Laura, What university did you go to? Are you one of obama's aids? Whites are already the minority on this planet. The lie is made up so Africans can rape the countries they are in. Asian, is # 1, latino, is # 2, African is # 3, and gaining on number 2. caucasian's are actually in decline. African race is the only race that erases the other race when they mate, ninty percent of the time

      April 9, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • Michael

        "African race is the only race that erases the other race when they mate"
        What do you mean? How do you come up with that? So a black-white biracial baby has no white? Or do you mean that they won't be called caucasian... because thats just a construct to categorize a society's demographic.

        Your comment about Africans raping the countries they are in is disgusting by the way. Its understandable to see the differences between African race/culture and yourself, but to understand them as a people who exist solely to rape and devour other countries is incredibly bigoted. If you genuinely hate them so, you should know that most of western society probably finds you revolting.

        April 12, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Marcus Hill

    All this assumed racial expectations reminds me of a line from a Firesigh Theater skit when they were poking fun at the W.A.S.P. mentality.

    Cue the TV announcer.
    "It's the Jackson Five Story staring the Osmond Brothers"

    How bad can it get.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  83. julia

    I loved all the casting in the Hunger Games. Black, White, whatever, I thought each character was perfect and Rue was perfect. Why ya all gotta start complaining. You complainers, quit going to the movies and just read the books and keep your closed little minds to yourselves.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Russ

      I enjoyed the movie a great deal. I thought the casting was perfect. I'm white, and male. It truly amazes me that we have so much racism still. And if you think that this isn't racism, you need to maybe go back to school.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • Kim

        I agree. I'm white and female, 44yrs old. Read all three books and was not surprised by the casting of Thresh and Rue's characters. Loved the movie, can't wait for the next one. I wish our nation could get past this, it's really dumb.

        April 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • John

        May God help the world to over come this issue not just in America alone, world wide.

        April 12, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  84. thetruth

    I wonder how people would react if Mama Younger was played by Kathy Bates, or if Tom Cruise was to portray kunta kinte? There would be so many protests about how whites were destroying African culture that none of these movies would be made. Same thing type casting a black actor in a white roll and why whites are making comments about this. You are attacking the white culture so that it would be more "politically correct" but yet are not taking into consideration how whites would feel.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • mema

      With the roles you mentioned here well those are not open to specualtion. Those characters are black. So that makes your comment irrelivant. The characters from hunger games ARE described as having dark skin and the aurthor of the book was on set to insure the characters, set, and so for matched the vision of the story line and book.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Danny

      Not worth it...dumb...dumbest... I did'nt know there were white slaves from Africa?

      April 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • KimS

      thetruth: you do realize that (1) the characters you are referring, (i.e., Kunte Kinte), to are not fictional characters and therefore could not be portrayed by actors of any other race but African American and (2a) the characters that are being referred to in the movie ARE fictional and (2b) were described by the AUTHOR as being "black"?

      With that said, (referring to @2), exactly what "White Culture" is being attacked for the sake of Political Correctness? I'm interested in hearing your side of things.....

      April 9, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • gman

      Aside from your odd comment about Tom Cruise, wouldn't someone have to be from Africa to truly be called African-American. To call yourself a _____ – American infers that one is from another country. Just because someones skin is black does not make them African, if you are born in this country, raised in his country, and never leave this country to go "home", then you are not _____ – American, your an AMERICAN. If everyone would just call each other what we are, Americans; that would go a long way in ending race war....Come on people we can do this.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • gavilansalvaje

        We should really just drop the hyphens. We are Americans, not "something-americans". This won't happen because many of our politicians rely on these color biases to keep their jobs – in some cases passing these jobs on to their children – by encouraging people to vote based on skin color.

        April 10, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
      • Dani

        Oh Man do I agree with this!!! I was born in America, my parents and their parents...all born in America. So why do I have to describe myself as African anything? Because my skin is black/brown? Absurd! I am an American...that is all!

        April 10, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
      • B M

        We call ourselves African-American because after being here for over 300 years, and having our languages, names, religion, and the knowledge where exactly we come from taken from us, we are still proud. I am a very proud American who happens to be of African descent. Why does that bother so many white people?! Is it only ok for white people to be proud of where they came from? To deny racism is to keep it going. Pretending that everything is equal and fair in this country or that it ever has been this way is absurd. I'd rather be called African-American than a racial slur. Ignorant people like you amuse me, while at the same time disgust me...

        April 11, 2012 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
      • Peter Trainor

        I totally agree with you but is easier calling blacks, whites, asians, and indians. A black cuban, brazilian or dominican is still black and they are also Americas since those places are part of the American continent. America is not only the USA. Same with white here in the USA all the ones from Latin America.

        April 19, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  85. TVMommy

    I thought the casting of Lenny Kravitz as Cinna was great. He matches the vision in my head almost perfectly. As for Rue and Thresh...The Author is very clear about the appearance of her characters in the series. Katniss, Gale and Haymitch are described as having an olive complexion, grey eyes and black hair and being similar enough to pass as family members. By definition then, the characters that are described as being "Dark" to Katniss's eye would be ethnically dark indeed. I wish that people would pay a bit more attention to the original intent of the author before they start wailing about appearances not matching.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Liz

    Its sad that so many kids today obviously lack in reading comprehension. The description given of Rue and Thresh were clearly African American. But those terms don't exist in Panem so dark skin is a proper description. Cinna is the only character who's skin color isn't really described so it was open to interpetation. I thought he was perfect.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • JrzWrld

      My feelings exactly. It's just further proof of how racism and low intelligence often go hand in hand.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mammy

        Yes, that is why there is such a higher percentage of whites in prison versus blacks and browns. Oh wait...

        April 10, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  87. DangItAll

    I haven't seen the movie or read the books, but am planning to – a spoiler alert before alerting us that Rue doesn't make it through the movie would have been appropriate.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      Its hardly a spoiler...only 1 comes out of 24 people. They say that in the previews, the synopisis etc. Its a fight to the death.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spoiler Troll

      Kat and Peeta committ suicide at the end as the last two remaining. OOPs, spoiler alert by the way

      April 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ashley

        Did you even read the book or see the movie??? No, you did not! Oops, spoiler alert, as you say, they do NOT commit suicide. What an ass you are.

        April 9, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Donna

    Lord have mercy! Why does skin color matter in ANY situation regardless of whether it's real or fiction? The mindset of those complaining is set back in the civil rights era. I mean, who raised hell when Liz Taylor played Cleopatra? Same thing.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spoiler Troll

      white people play everyone, an when a black person plays the role of a black person, as intended by the author, all the hicks come out of the trailers with their pitch forks and pick up trucks with confederate flags, and start hootin and hollerin.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  89. B R

    It is sad that people complain so much about something like this. I'm Asian American and I could care less about the color of the character's skin. What I wanted was to feel emotionally connected to the characters like I did in the book and Rue and Katniss delivered in that scene.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Scott Wallace

    Why is everything about color and race? I thought we were all humans. Doesn't that make us all the same on the inside. MORONS!!!!

    April 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      I think that you're right that we are all the same inside – we're just reacting to different experiences. But race does matter living in our society is a different experience for my black child than it is for her white dad. Some people react with kindness and empathy, some with hate and vile. I wish you the best.

      April 18, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  91. CarmenSo

    You give bigots too much credit. You can't expect them to read AND comprehend what they are reading. Next you will be expecting them to pat their head and walk at the same time.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • madamelaverite

      LOL. It's funny because it's true – Homer Simpson

      April 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Cedric

    They should of made an olive-skinned person from either the Middle east,South America or Southern Europe play the role.

    I don't have a problem with a black person playing any role though.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • CalJ

      All of the character's should have been Black!

      April 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • CarmenSo

      Which role? There are several of them

      April 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Olive-skinned?

      If Suzanne Collins wanted Rue and Thresh to be olive-skinned, I do believe, it is not beyond her vocabulary to have... oh... i don't know... describe them as such. She clearly said dark skinned. Get over it. It was a good book and a good movie. District 11 is clearly the black district in the book. Stop trying to rewrite characters to fit your ignorant mentality.

      On a side note - what the author of this article failed to recognize and speak about is the fact that the majority of people who were upset about Rue's skin color were 'white' girls. Think about it. How many adults do you know who would say "EWW, Rue is black not watching". Even if it was their sentiment, it would not be expressed in those words. These tweets and texts are clearly written by white teenagers and tweenagers. Shame their parents haven't taught them better. Anyway. Little ignorant white children don't bother me. Ignorant white adults like you do.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
      • Peter Trainor

        District 11 did have plenty of whites in the movie. Also Katniss in the book has Olive Skin so she was either from Latin america, or southern France, Spain, Italy or Portugal.

        April 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |