When you whitewash a character you are explicitly stating your vision of beauty is better, more natural, and more suitable for the audience of this fandom than whatever skintones or features were originally depicted.
When you whitewash you are quite deliberately letting those of that skintone, race, body type and facial features that we are not desirable— that we are imperfections that must be fixed.
When you whitewash you assert the idea that your standard is better. Your standard is more normal. Your standard is superior.
Do you think finnick was forced to have sex with men too?
It’s likely as prostitution catered to the citizens of the Capitol and whatever they desired from the victors that were sold into it. Judging from the way Finnick talks about it, his reach was clearly widespread and not necessarily limited to wheedling secrets out of only women.
I think the worst part of the cast being mostly white is that people like me (biracial-Hispanic and black, and PoC in general) is that we've lost the chance to have a major movie franchise with a diverse cast, with people who actually look like us. The Hunger Games' films could've been the start of more prevalent diversity in Hollywood. To prove to studio execs that you don't need a cast that's mostly white for a movie to be successful. That what matters is the quality of the product.
It is a really upsetting loss of an opportunity for a really good film, and of opportunities for actors of color.
so i got a couple of anons and some people on twitter commenting on my rage re: jena malone being cast as johanna mason and i figured i should say something that was organized and coherent and not me talking in caps. in particular i wanted to respond to the comment (which i have seen over and over again), that johanna mason was never explicitly described as a woman of color so she could be anything.
let’s preface this with what my reading experience of the hunger games was: there were lots of people of color. katniss was biracial, the seam was a place occupied by people of color, gale was a person of color, haymitch was a person of color. what their ethnicity was i wasn’t sure of - but i assumed that they were the product of hundred of years of interracial marriages and children and the product of that were people with dark skin and dark hair and gray eyes. rue and thresh and district 11 were all people of color.
so at this point the cast of the book is pretty diverse - african americans, biracial kids, white people, and then the capital where you skin color can be anything literally. everyone is occupying important places in the narrative, few of them are reductive or play off stereotypes. i am a very happy reader so far as representation goes. many of us, as far as this goes, are very happy readers. not only is the main character of a major bestselling series a girl of color but she is awesome! her narrative is taken seriously! there are some really awesome question posed about being a person of color in a revolution amongst privileged white people and what it means to be poor and what it means to be rich and how that plays into inspiring revolution and the roles kids play in a world where the hunger games level of violence is acceptable and enforced by law.
fast forward to the casting call that is closed any woman not white (and also a bunch of other stuff that is problematic) and suddenly the entire landscape of panem changes for me as a reader. this is no longer a world in which i can exist or even enter happily. it’s a world where people of color exist only as martyrs (rue & thresh)* or as people forced to re-live pre-antebellum america. it’s a world that assumes that all people of color are going to be shoved into a single district (which is a terrifying assumption). that all the immigrants that have come here suddenly no longer exist. it’s the history of the united states erased, and the history of my family gone with it. the hunger games as depicted in the movies is the story of white people rebelling against the establishment and black people either being killed or depicted as failing in revolt (which is a subject for another post entirely so i’m not going to go into that scene).
it is not ridiculous to assume that a post apocalyptic america would have a shit ton of people that are not white. as it stands, the minority population in this country (haha minority we are not a minority and people need to start realizing that) is going to exceed the white population by 2040. we are here, we are present and we read and when you erase us from the future, you are actually erasing us and telling us that we have zero futurity. that as far as you are concerned we might be present, but we’re temporary, and if you (the general you not a specific you) had it your way, we would not be included in the future.
so when you tell me that johanna mason was not explicitly stated as a woman of color my response is so what? she wasn’t explicitly written as white and right now nearly the entire cast of the hunger games is white. i, and the rest of the people who desperately wanted johanna to be a person of color, were not asking for the impossible. we were asking for someone that looks like us to be part of the revolution, to not die in the name of katniss, to not have the revolution built on the backs of their death. we are asking you to acknowledge us and the fact that we exist and will continue to exist! we are telling you that a sizable chunk of the people that read the books saw themselves in the books, identified with the struggles, loved them desperately, and then were told hey! sorry about the mix up but actually you’re not in the future! you have no place in our escapist literature and entertainment! we would like if you gave us your money but otherwise sit over there!
i made my peace with katniss and i think jennifer lawrence is a terrific actress and there’s a lot to be said about the first movie. but when you ask me if i am really that upset over johanna mason’s casting, this is how i feel. when you tell me that johanna wasn’t explicitly a woman of color, this is what i’m saying. i am tired of being told there is no space for me or people like me when i’m right here! i’m occupying this space quite successfully! and i should like to think that if a post-apocalyptic panem were in the future that my line would survive and they would be fierce women of color fighting in the name of freedom.
do you know whether Q'Orianka Kilcher's blonde litter brother is her full brother or half brother? because if he's her full brother he could be used as an example of a non white-passing poc having a a white passing sibling
Xihuaru? He’s definitely her full brother, and that’s a good point!
Lionsgate executive #1:
The Hunger Games trilogy is set in the far flung future! Very few characters have locked down physical descriptions! Even our lead heroine was ambiguously described! Seriously we have a WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES HERE!
Lionsgate executive #2:
DUDE, I KNOW! LET'S CAST LIKE ALL WHITE PEOPLE!
Lionsgate executive #1:
Dudebro high-five as they float into the air, past the trees and clouds and people with common sense and disintegrate in the atmosphere because i hate them so much omfg
As a POC who’s suffered economic hardship, I was disappointed when you replied positively when your follower crassly looked up sdr’s college demographics to wildly misrepresent her economic background. SDR's statements were unacceptably racist, but I think you detract from your message about oppression when you label someone who’s gone through economic struggle as “upper middle class” I thought you would understand intersectionality, instead you replied "I don't care" when she tried to clarify.
Yeah, I thought SDR was telling me about her class background in a way like: “I’ve gone through so much hardship, so I understand the plight of people of color.”
I’m sorry for misinterpreting that part and for what I said.
I want to apologize if I offended any Native Americans, that was absolutely not my intention. I also want to clear two things up since I saw someone made a post about it. I never said that ONLY white people or partially white people can be olive-skinned. I argued that white people could be, not only POC. And I never made any claim about when Italians started to be considered white, the point is they are considered white now, so I used the term white to describe them now.
You said that Native Americans only have olive skin if they’re part-white…. and then used a stereotype to tell all Native Americans what color their skin is. Do you realize how awful what you said was?
i would like to ask all the people who say, "whitewashing isnt a big deal because talent matters not looks!" how they would have felt if katniss was played by a 50 year old black man with hot pink dreadlocks who played the part of katniss very very well.
you know what, racists? even if every single character in thg was described as being pasty pale, with light blond hair and blue eyes, there would still be whitewashing in thg. because theres no way that a future country set in what is currently the usa and mexico would be made up of just white people. frankly, the only way that white people people wouldn't be a very tiny minority is if panem was purposefully segregated by race
yep! and then there’d be districts with more people of color, if it was segregated by race. but other than D11, they made almost all the people of color disappear.
If you’re seriously complaining that The Hunger Games cast is white-washed, that better actors (POC actors) could’ve been cast, that they’re not following along EXACTLY LIKE THE BOOK BECAUSE OMG KATNISS ISN’T TAN ENOUGH, and Johanna Mason has to be black (which it never says that in the book, so shut up), then how about you make your own THG movie. You can cast whoever the fuck you want.
If you pay for it, I’m sure we’d find a way to do so.
Until you give us a few million dollars, it’s you that needs to shut up.
I'm well aware no one cares and that it isn't a discussion about class. I'm not looking for sympathy, I'm saying don't assume things about strangers. That person shouldn't have assumed that I MUST be a white, upper-middle-class, catholic, blah blah blah whatever else they assumed. They don't know anything about me other than the fact that I'm a half-Italian history major from a small mining town. But whatever, I'm done anyways.
Throwing in my story since this sdr persokeys annoying me. My family has Native American blood, and it's most prominent in my grandfather. And he is /definitely/ olive skinned, as is all of my family (though my brother is lighter like my mom, and I look more like my dad). Olive skin is very much a Native American trait, and the fact that you used "red undertones" to describe their skin is racist.
Yeah. I can’t believe they implied all Native Americans have the same skin color. Do they not realize how many different Native American nations there are, and how much variety there is within and between these nations? And the “red undertones” thing was just a downright racist stereotype.
To sdr42890: I'm part Native American (considering I'm Mexican, therefore there's some indigenous blood in me), (clearly olive-skinned) and I have yellowish undertones to my skin. HELLO, HAVE YOU HEARD OF THE BEARING STRAIGHT?! Asian descent is in Native Americans even though some may have more pigment in their skin than others. Also, I've seen people of color with olive skin tones. What are you smoking?
"it isn't a Native American trait, although Native Americans can be olive skinned." ...I'mma just point this out and hope they catch their contradictory shit. Becuz you kno, you may have that skin color but no you lack that trait to have the skin color. Total logic right here /sarcasm.
Whatever, I'm done trying to reason with you. I'm not trying to "win an award" for being not racist, I'm saying that she can be pictured as ANY race with olive skin and that some of them suffered in mining towns. But don't EVER assume shit about me. I grew up in one of the old miner's houses and came from nothing and worked my ass off in high school to get a scholarship otherwise I wouldn't be able to go to any college at all. My family isn't even middle class. Attack opinions, not people.
No one cares about how hard you worked, and this is not a discussion about class. You’re still racist (and no, that’s not a personal attack - your actions have been incredibly racist).
What do you think of Denzel as Haymitch? Cuz I just watched Safe House and he was giving me all of that jaded, survivor of tragedy, Haymitch-ness. He can go from suave to crazy in about two seconds which I think is flawless. Who did you think should have been Haymitch?
I haven’t seen that movie, but I think lookswise, he could be Haymitch! I want to watch Safe House now.
I’ve been casting him as Zahn McClarnon for a while, at least when I cast Q’Orianka as Katniss. But I am sure lots of actors of color could play him :)
I know I keep flooding your ask but what do you think of Gil Birmingham as Haymitch? He is definitely older but I think he can capture the destroyed and lonely mentor traits of Haymitch. Plus Gil is a fantastic actor who can make anyone connect with him.
Yeah, a history major at a highly religious parochial Catholic school with an 81% white student population and 88% white professor population. "Historically Black College/University? No." "Historically Tribal University? No." An upper-middle-class background is most prevalent among Duquesne students. She's a White Upper-Middle-Class Privileged USA Catholic Worldview Major, let's be real here.
Olive skin is not a southern European trait only nor is it a white trait only. We agree on that. But no, it isn't a Native American trait, although Native Americans can be olive skinned. Olive skin generally looks tan with a kind of yellowish undertone to it. Native Americans generally have a more reddish undertone. It's hard to explain but it's not the same skin color.
I hate when (other white) people treat “not being racist” as if it’s some prize that can be won. It’s not. It’s not something you suddenly get one day, and you’re all clear from racism for the rest of your life. You have to work at trying not to be racist. You have to listen to people of color. The second you say you’re not racist, you’re saying “I’ve done all the work I need to do, and I don’t need to do anymore because I’m not racist!”
But not being racist is something we constantly need to work on, and if you think you’re finished, that’s only further proof that you’re not.
Also, NO one went into the movie theater thinking "Oh, Katniss is a tan Italian girl who is not considered white." Even if they did cast an olive skinned Italian, everyone would still look at Katniss and the rest of Seam as white and thus erasing the racial narrative and making another story where white people are the only ones who can survive the apocalypse and the only ones whose stories matter. So yeah, thinking Katniss is white is a problem because you are once again erasing the PoC.