If Katniss wasn’t white?

Further to my brief point in today’s open, which we’ll discuss more extensively during the liveblog today at 3pm ET/noon PT with Duana and Sarah, a lot of people read the Katniss character in The Hunger Games to be a visible minority. Given the reaction by some to Rue’s casting, and the number of people expressing shock, dismay, and hurt (WTF???) over the fact that she was black in the movie, and therefore not as sympathetic a character, I really, really wish we could spin out a Sliding Doors scenario for if Katniss was imagined similarly...

Would The Hunger Games movie have grossed almost $155 million?

We blame Hollywood all the time for whitewashing projects - The Last Airbender is a recent example, as is the much-delayed Akira - and rightly so; Hollywood does indeed make weak decisions all the time. But Hollywood also caters to an audience. The same audience that goes on Twitter and openly complains about the fact that one of their beloved characters was RUINED because she was portrayed by a black person in a movie. Some of them are labelling it “reverse racism”, only the most ignorant term ever.  

Hollywood is part of it, yes. Hollywood is the part that is easy to sh-t on. The hard part is acknowledging that Those People are your neighbours and your friends. What if Harry Potter was Asian? What if Bella Swan was Hispanic? You think Twilight would have been the phenomenon it ended up being if women were forced to project themselves into a love story that involved a non-white?

Last year I argued IN FAVOUR OF casting Willow Smith in an updated version of Annie. Click here to revisit that post. Was it Willow Smith, the child of Will Smith specifically, that people were protesting? Or was it the fact that Annie, a plucky orphan looking for love, *should* have red hair and freckles and, therefore, shouldn’t be a black girl in cornrows? It’s ok that imagining it might be hard. But why is there so much resistance to even trying?

Here’s Jennifer Lawrence at the Spanish premiere of The Hunger Games yesterday. Don’t forget to join us on the liveblog at 3pm ET/Noon PT!