Tuesday, April 03, 2012

All I have are questions, no answers.

Was there as much uproar when Morgan Freeman played Red in The Shawshank Redemption as there is for Amandla Stenberg's portrayal of Rue?

What about when Halle Berry took on the role of Cat Woman (you know, before we saw the movie and found out it sucked?) Or Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter. Though I bet there would be an uproar if Q was portrayed by a black man. (Because of his role in the most recent batman films, I could see Morgan Freeman as Q.)

And these were black actors portraying white characters. Rue is a black actress portraying a BLACK character. Despite the description of Rue having "dark brown skin and eyes", people are up in arms about having "some black girl" portray the blonde sweetheart in their minds eye. Are readers so selective in the words they take in?

I had always thought that the younger generations were less racist. More comfortable with people of other colors than their own. Then why did hordes of  Hunger Games lovers assume everyone was white? And why where they PISSED to find out Thresh, Cinna, and particularly Rue where black. When reading the books, I pictured a little black girl and a hulking black giant of a boy for the District 11 tributes. I honestly do not recall assigning a race to Cinna at all. When I found out Lenny Kravitz would play Cinna, I thought it was a great choice -- and my, did I love his gold eyeliner! All I know is America loves it's white hotties. Would Twilight have been as popular with a black actress in the lead? With a black Edward? Would there have been problems with Rue as an Arabic actress or an east Asian actress?

Why do we assume people are white? Or why do we prefer whites? I haven't seen much controversy over "white-washing."

Do you recall any uproar when these white people played non-whites?
*Ra's Al Ghul is supposed to be Arabic. Not Irish and not Japanese.
*Mariane Pearl is African-Cuban-Chinese-Dutch. Angelina Jolie is, well she is Dutch, but she's of European descent. No minorities here.
*Katniss Everdeen is meant to have olive skin, green eyes, and black hair. She is portrayed as a white girl (tanned in the movie posters, not so much in the film itself) with brown hair and blue eyes.

I think all of the actors listed here and above are excellent actors and did excellent jobs. Regardless of race. Except Cat Woman. Halle Berry is a good actress but that was atrocious. Even she recognized it.

Why is race still an issue? Why should people care what Rue looked like? I would probably have an issue if she had green skin, but that's only because she's not from the Capitol where people are batshit insane.


P.S. I first thought Amandla was a very different version of "Amanda" until I discovered it means Power in Zulu. Rock on, Amandla. 

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