My grandson did a marathon reading of the first Hunger Games book before the movie came out. He has never done that. He prefers action...martial arts, gymnastics, hip-hop dance, football and acting. He's currently rehearsing a children’s production of Sleeping Beauty. He wanted to be the Prince, but was cast as a goon. He’ll flip across the stage ninja-like in a fight scene.
He loved the movie but said the book was better and is now reading the next one. Without having read a single word, I love the author. He told me there are black people in the book and they are good. You win the Game by being the last one alive. There is a young black man who is strong and tough, but helps people rather than killing them. He doesn't win. My grandson has a crush on the twelve year old girl, Rue, and cried when she died. The actress playing her, looks like she could be his sister.
He and a friend looked up Hunger Games on Youtube and discovered some people were upset that the good people in the movie were black, especially Rue. They must have skipped over author Suzanne Collins' description: “She has dark brown skin and eyes.” Maybe they thought she went tanning.
They shared their thoughts on Twitter, it went viral and found its way to Youtube. The Twitter accounts have now been deleted or set to private, so the good news is, they were not well received.
These are a few of the tweets my grandson read:
“Why does Rue have to be black? Not gonna lie, kinda ruined the movie.”
“Why did the producer make all the good characters black?”
“call me a racist but when I found out Rue was black, her death wasn’t as sad.”
My grandson was hurt and angry. "I hate white people." My daughter told him most white people aren’t like this, and besides his grandmother is white. He thought maybe I wasn’t all white, but my daughter assured him I was.
She reminded him of a story they read that morning at Baha’i School about a man who hated Baha'is because he believed the horrible rumors that had been spread about the religion. The man fell on hard times and his only son became very ill. A Baha’i who lived in the neighborhood brought food for the family, medicine for his child and continued to help until the boy was well and the man found another job. The man apologized for the cruel things he had said and done. My daughter explained it is the same way with some white people. They don’t have black friends and don’t understand. “Instead of hating them, show them who you are.”
My grandson told me about the tweets. "Did you know people hated it because the good guys are black?"
"Yes, but only a few."
"There were over a 100." I told him millions saw the movie and out of millions 100 is not that many. He looked unconvinced so I tried a concrete example. "Over a million people live in Chicago. A hundred is about half of the audience when you do a play."
He nodded. "That's a lot."
And it is. Especially for the boy who wants a part in the next movie.
My grandson won 1st Place in Sparring at a Martial Arts Tournament last month. It's a part of his personal training program to become a movie actor.
"Rue" from the Hunger Games played by Amandla Stenberg
Grandson: his mother, Bahiyyih El-Shabazz,
Rue: Google Images