The post linked above is amazingly, astonishingly, unabashedly racist, so I’d personally advise you not to click on it. If you do click, be prepared to be disgusted and disheartened with humanity.
TRIGGER WARNINGS IN ABOVE LINK: Hatespeech, racism, misogyny, language.
Now, here’s the saddest part, to me: the person who wrote the post most likely considers themself to be a fan of The Hunger Games. I’m sure they saw the movie, and I’m sure they enjoyed it. They may follow my blog; I don’t know. They may follow yours.
The problem with this post — “The Black Hunger Games” — is not even necessarily a question of racial representation or visibility within The Hunger Games itself, and the the controversy surrounding the racial presentation of its main characters, or even the Unfortunate Implications surrounding Rue, Thresh, and Cinna in the film due to its specific whitewashing. It’s not a case of me going, “AFLAGLSGLL THE REAL HUNGER GAMES IS APPLICABLE TO BEING THE BLACK HUNGER GAMES FFS” or being offended of their appropriation of racist hatespeech in conjunction with a series about rebellion against privilege and socioeconomic genocide.
The problem is that someone would write a post using racist, misogynistic language and deem it “The Black Hunger Games,” as though black people are not eligible to understand, appreciate, or interact with The Hunger Games as it exists. Someone looked at The Hunger Games — most likely just the film — and said, “You know who’d do this differently? BLACK PEOPLE. And you know how they’d do it? WITHOUT ANY SENSITIVITY OR DEEPER MEANING, AND WITHOUT ANY EMPATHY, AND WITH LOTS OF SWEARING, RACIST LANGUAGE, AND MISOGYNY.”
The idea of cultural difference is absolutely valid and does absolutely exist. There is media produced for certain communities that reads, or feels, differently when viewed through another cultural lens — for example, when Western white people watch anime, we see it through a different lens than the Japanese audience creating and originally consuming it (which is why, for example, Western white audiences assume the Default Race of stylized anime characters is ‘white’ and Japanese audiences’ Default Race for the same characters is ‘Japanese’). HOWEVER.
To use our own cultural lens, especially as white people, or Western people, or people privileged enough to be fucking using Tumblr to do stupid shit in the name of fandom, and appropriate a negative assumption of another culture’s viewpoint — especially to be intentionally offensive — is abhorrent.
The assumptions made by this post that black people would not or could not
- interact with the nuances of The Hunger Games as it exists, as a story of personal journey, bravery, and sacrifice and instead asserts that it would become a story of sloth, lasciviousness, and “dumb luck”
- speak in a standardized and legitimate language (as both American English AND AAVE, which this post is REALLY INSENSITIVELY AND RACIST-LY LAMPSHADING, without ANY shame or apology, which is disgusting; it’s a recognized English-originated language/dialect with actual grammatical structure and word association paradigm, it’s not just “lolz black ppl talk funni”) and instead REALLY REALLY appropriates an inappropriate and racist as HELL interpretation of a language and cultural understanding that the writer of the post CLEARLY does not interact with OR RESPECT IN ANY WAY
- reflect or mirror real-life connection with a literary text… based on the struggles of oppressed minorities, instead — again — needing to change the meaning to self-absorbed and shortsighted personal gain
are all super, super racist. They’re racist. They are among the worst arguments that people in mainstream US culture use against black people and other minority groups: laziness, sexual predation, inertia, willful stupidity, mockery for cultural retention over white assimilation, and cultural narcissism.
It hugely disheartens me that the impressions of the Hunger Games’ “good characters” all being white has furthered this dichotomy of thought that all “good” narratives are about white people and that people of color can only star in shallow, flippant, negative, stupid throwaway stories. This post proves that the idea of “good” narratives starring people of color is an impossibility to many audience members in the contemporary United States, and that is horrifying, and genuinely tragic.
There is no reason that “The Black Hunger Games” would not just be… The Hunger Games: as meaningful, and empowering, and respectable as it already is.
This post is not funny. It’s not okay. And it horrifies me that Hunger Games fans created it.
It horrifies me more than some of the biggest Hunger Games blogs are condoning it.
Oh how I wish I can quote you for my Cultural Studies paper. THIS! I need a bigger this.