(Reposted from my other blog, which I might just start doing as a matter of course.)
The release of the film The Hunger Games highlighted some worrying examples of othering recently.
Certain responses – from a very limited segment of the fan-base of the books and the film, no doubt – to the casting of black actors in major roles were disheartening, and actually quite shocking. You really don’t expect to hear things like this being said so brazenly in this day and age, except from devotedly hateful extremists.
But the comments listed on that post, and this tumblr compilation, seem to be more lazily thoughtless and tribalistic than actively racist.
Awkward moment when Rue is some black girl and not the little blonde innocent girl you picture
I’m still a bit lost for words at this. I can’t quite get my head around the necessary sequence of events. First, this person must have experienced a feeling of crushing disappointment at realising that a character she’d read about had dark skin (even though, I’m told, this character’s skin colour is explicitly described as such in the book). Further, it must have entirely failed to occur to them that the qualities she originally admired or appreciated in Rue might still be present – that the colour of her skin might be no hindrance whatever to this young girl being innocent, or likeable, or courageous, or charming, or quick-witted, or whatever she’s like.
And then they must have decided that publicly expressing all these unfiltered prejudices was a perfectly fine thing to do.
Some black girl.
Absent but strongly implied, of course, is the word “just”. Just some black girl.
Not, like, a girl girl. Just some black girl.
However you might have told the story to yourself while reading it, I don’t understand how you can have this reaction to encountering an entirely irrelevant racial disparity, and believe that it’s an acceptable reaction to have.