Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral Regarding 'Song of the South' – The Film That Disney Doesn’t Want You to See Regarding 'Song of the South' – The Film That Disney Doesn’t Want You to See Watch Mekhi Phifer in Trailer for "First-Person Shooter" Zombie Thriller, 'Pandemic' Watch Mekhi Phifer in Trailer for "First-Person Shooter" Zombie Thriller, 'Pandemic' HBO Sets April Premiere Date for 'Confirmation' HBO Sets April Premiere Date for 'Confirmation' Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Watch: Tyler Perry Previews 'The Passion' 2-Hour Musical Event in New Orleans Watch: Tyler Perry Previews 'The Passion' 2-Hour Musical Event in New Orleans Before Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film Is Released, Get Prepped By Watching Charles Burnett's 2003 Documentary Before Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film Is Released, Get Prepped By Watching Charles Burnett's 2003 Documentary There Is a Precedent for the "DuVernay Test" to Consider... There Is a Precedent for the "DuVernay Test" to Consider... Idris Elba Makes SAG Awards History + Viola Davis, Uzo Aduba, Queen Latifah Collect Trophies Idris Elba Makes SAG Awards History + Viola Davis, Uzo Aduba, Queen Latifah Collect Trophies Ryan Coogler to Deliver Prestigious University of Chicago Kent Lecture Feb. 9 Ryan Coogler to Deliver Prestigious University of Chicago Kent Lecture Feb. 9 First-Look at David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike in Amma Asante's 'A United Kingdom' First-Look at David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike in Amma Asante's 'A United Kingdom' Poster: Mike Epps, Paul Mooney, Charlie Murphy Comedy-Thriller 'Meet the Blacks' Poster: Mike Epps, Paul Mooney, Charlie Murphy Comedy-Thriller 'Meet the Blacks' Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) First Look at Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film, 'The Birth of a Nation' First Look at Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film, 'The Birth of a Nation' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Denzel Washington Reveals Daughter Is In 'Django Unchained' + Roles He Regrets Rejecting Denzel Washington Reveals Daughter Is In 'Django Unchained' + Roles He Regrets Rejecting

Surprise, Surprise, Movie Fans are Racially Biased (Context for the "Hunger Games" Fiasco)

Shadow and Act By Jasmin | Shadow and Act March 27, 2012 at 6:50PM

Yes, there was a giant racial dust-up over the release of The Hunger Games yesterday. Yes, we saw the Jezebel article, capturing the outcry of "racist" moviegoers who were upset that the character Rue, who some Hunger Games fans apparently envisioned as white, was cast in the film as black (played by the very adorable Amandla Stenberg). And yes, we received all the notes from readers prompting a reply.
64
Hunger Games

Yes, there was a giant racial dust-up over the release of The Hunger Games yesterday. Yes, we saw the Jezebel article, capturing the outcry of "racist" moviegoers who were upset that the character Rue, who some Hunger Games fans apparently envisioned as white, was cast in the film as black (played by the very adorable Amandla Stenberg). And yes, we received all the notes from readers prompting a reply.

Perhaps we were slow to respond on this, simply because it's not a shock. It's been shown, in various surveys and studies, that by and large, white audiences prefer to see themselves on screen. The sentiment is so strong that it caused many moviegoers to overlook the fact that Rue was described as "dark-skinned" in the original Hunger Games novel.

Maybe this situation was more disturbing than others due to the implications about the value of black life. After all, [spoiler] Rue is killed off in the course of the movie, and some of the remarks from moviegoers flat out stated that her blackness made them less sensitive to her death. Said one fan, "when I found out Rue was black her death wasn't as sad."

In light of the recent Trayvon Martin case, it seems that society has sent an overwhelming message that there's a far higher premium placed on white life and white experiences. So should we be at all surprised that films, and film fans, reflect the same attitudes? To provide some context, I turned to Entmann & Rojecki's The Black Image in the White Mind: Media and Race in America: 

The media almost always pay far more attention to a murder victim on Park Avenue than to one on 125th Street. Sadly, a Black murder victim in a Harlem tenement conforms to expectations, so is less newsworthy than a White corpse in a midtown penthouse. The resulting emphases profoundly imply that White life is more valuable than Black.

The authors go on to describe biased behavior (such as griping about the blackness of movie characters?) as "racial animosity":

Racial animosity occupies an important step short of racism. Although those exhibiting animosity often get labeled as racists, they do not see their stereotyped anti-Black generalizations as adding up to a natural racial order that places Whites on top and legitimizes discrimination. Rather, animosity consists of less intense and all-encompassing stands on the four dimensions [negative homogeneity, structural impediments, conflicting group interests, and emotional responses].

So, while a group of people may not actively hate another group, they might just bear some really harmful attitudes about race, based on all the media messages that they've been consuming over the years.

After all, if all the films, TV shows, entertainment and news coverage that we see throughout our lives ever so slightly imply that black people, black stories or black life is inferior, or maybe just less important...

Well, you get situations like what happened yesterday.

Suddenly, it seems more important that there are more black writers, and showrunners, and producers, and executives, and support for black characters and black stories. Maybe it does make a difference that there's more than one black person cast in your favorite film, and more than one "token" appearing in your favorite sitcom. Because maybe "entertainment" is more impactful that most of us would like to admit.

Again, for me, it's not a surprise. The question is, what do you plan to do about it?


Shadow & ActNewsletter