Olive skin tones tend to look somewhat ashen or gray, from the combination of the natural yellow undertone everyone has and the greenish hue that’s unique to olive skin and is mainly associated with Europe/Italy.
I know what the fuck olive skin is. Are you seriously trying to excuse the exclusion of WOC from the casting process by claiming that European/Italian = white?
Hey so mini history lesson: people of color have been in Europe for hundreds of years. Even if olive skin = European that does not mean an olive skinned person cannot be a person of color.
Lesson on how skin color works: a person with olive skin can be white but they can also be a person of color.
Lesson on olive skin: it is a skin tone prevalent in Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and southern Europe.
Here’s a picture of olives:
notice how the color of those olives would suggest that someone with olive skin could also be a person of color and not just another white person
This is important because girls and women of color are rarely featured in roles as prominent as that of Katniss Everdeen. By purposely excluding woc from auditioning, by saying that sure Katniss is probably a woc but hey a tan and hair dye is the same fucking thing as being a person of color, by saying how much effort they have put into being true to the books, everyone involved in this movie is saying that people of color do not belong in the spotlight or in stories like this. And considering that this is a series about the oppression of a group of people by a more privileged group of people, that’s really fucking gross.
so suzanne collins demands buttercup the cat gets recast, but movie katniss is still white
Now watching the behind-the-scenes on The Hunger Games and I’m hearing all these white actors talking about being true to the book and all of these white directors and producers and CASTING DIRECTORS talking about being true to the book.
No POCs asked to audition for Katniss or Gale, who are both olive skinned in the books. And they keep saying “we wanted to stay true to the books” bla bla bla.
They were true to the books about everything else, and honestly I really love the film, and the performances are great and I’m looking forward to the sequel but there’s really SO MUCH HYPOCRISY about what they’re saying.
It just makes me sad, because they really did an amazing job on the movie but there’s this glaring stain on it. The other sad thing is that I almost can’t blame them for it. We’re all so deeply buried in this racist system that says that WHITE IS THE DEFAULT FOR MAIN CHARACTERS IN ALL OF EVERYTHING that so many people don’t think about it, and people who have the power to change that perception don’t try because they just want to keep their jobs half the time.
Early on in the casting process, our organization wrote multiple letters and emails and even spoke to the production over the phone with one simple request: Change the casting call to allow actors of color to audition for Katniss, too.
That was it. We didn’t say: “Katniss has to be a woman of color.” We didn’t say: “A white actress can’t play Katniss.” All we said was open up the casting pool a little bit and give actors from all ethnic backgrounds an equal chance. Heck, even call your casting “colorblind.” Don’t only ask for “Caucasian” girls. See more than just white actors and then decide who is best for the role.
They said no.
I just had this thought about the hunger games movies and like what’s even more fucked up about the whitewashing is the message that it sends.
Like the story is about survival and who is the best of the best and the most innovative. Of course we live in the world where the only acceptable survivors are white. The only people whose stories are worth telling and celebrating are white. The only way we can see the inhumanity of their situation is if they’re white.
The context and power dynamics of the story just completely shift with white characters.
It seems to me that some of us in this grand ole world of ours don’t get what “olive skin” really is. It isn’t a specific color, it’s a color RANGE. Yes, that is correct! In fact, i would think most Indian, Mediterranean, Latin, and Asian people (and maybe other groups I can’t…
And there we have it folks. This is the kind of person that facilitates the white washing, and then sits offended that other people just are tired of it. Lord forbid PoC who make up the majority of the world NOT want to always be erased from existence so that white people can be center of the universe. And what gets me is that these people always just sit there smug like, they benefit from the privilege and want to tell us to “get over it” because “life isn’t fair”, as if they earned it. As if they earned the right to benefit from erasing most of the world! Funny how these “life lessons” amount to, “Let me benefit from whitewashing without feeling uncomfortable! Let me use my privilege to tell you how I feel you should feel about your own erasure!”
(Not to mention the person claiming they’re giving “life lessons” about racism doesn’t even know how colorism works with privilege, says “Latin people” and has Asian separated from Indian and claims they’re all pretty much olive skinned, seriously…)
Fact of the matter is there is a structural inequality behind it that tells PoC that they are worthless and only allows them to see a version of themselves that is diminished, monolithic, and unimportant. Example? Check out the Persians in 300 versus Prince of Persia. Notice something about the “evil” ones? But we don’t live in societies where dark skin is demonized in almost every venue?
Its how violently fans react when there is any perspective that isn’t wrapped around a white person’s existence, and how there are enough people who think that way that will fight against any marginalized representation while demanding to get their grubby hands on the stories of the people they want to erase.
Its how people cared less about a little girl’s death because they found out she was black and how that reflects the way WoC, especially black women, are devalued and abused in our societies (funny how this person will complain about people being mad about Katniss but doesn’t seem to care about the real racism that came in result of Rue’s casting).
Its how racism affect how we are seen in the media and whitewashing us just facilitates it (tell me how the Dorne’s became “olive” but slaves were made dark, or why Africa is dark skinned when its “poor, childlike Africans vs. warlords” but somehow ancient Egyptians are “European” and we have a white Horus).
It tells people like you that you are the only one that matters, that we should be satisfied with less because we just aren’t important, and that we are wrong for asking for the things you’re given by default. That we can’t exist as human beings without a white person headlining us. And when you see how depressed that makes young PoC, how we have to continuously be set aside or erased for your benefit, that even our real life cultures are whitewashed the same exact way, you say “life’s not fair”. Of course it isn’t fair! There are more people in the world in Asia than there are in the continents outside of it! Africa is larger and more diverse than the U.S. is! But we still have to justify why we should be mad when we’re all homogenized and erased! The majority of the world has to “get over” that?
And we get infuriated because there’s so little we DO get. And you still have to have it. You got a whitewashed Katniss along side a tone of white characters and we lost yet another WoC in an important role, in a movie about disenfranchisement that reflects our reality. You really don’t care about what we lose every-time someone whitewashes but you feel entitled to tell us to stop complaining about it.
I don’t understand why people are complaining that the cast of Catching Fire was been white washed
Considering nearly most (some do: e.g. Rue) of the character descriptions in the trilogy don’t really touch upon skin colour
Like, people are complaining that Wiress should have been Asian when she was described as having ashen (which basically means the pale colour of ash) skin and black hair (one of the few people, at least in catching fire, to get. People also bring up Johanna too, when really, she was just described as having brown eyes and hair… which most races can have (an actress of colour was rumoured to have auditioned, like Catalina Sandino Moreno. Jena Malone got the role because she was the best apparently)
And if a character was downright described as a poc they would of cast one… but race is often undescribed in these books
Except your argument is flawed because Katniss and Gale were specifically described as having olive skin, and yet only white actors were allowed to audition. Haymitch is also implied to be nonwhite, as he is described having gray “Seam” eyes, which probably means he has the overall Seam look, i.e. olive skin, black hair etc. So, yes, their characters were whitewashed. Interesting fact: Seeder is described in the books as having olive skin—like Katniss. In the Catching Fire movie, she is played by a WoC, a Black woman specifically.
Also: the fact that skin color was not specified doesn’t excuse the overall whiteness of the movies since most characters were not explicitly white either. And since some character’s races are up for interpretation in the text, there was an excellent opportunity to cast actors of color who also fit the description. Two or three actors of color does not erase the fact that the majority of the cast is, in fact, white. A cast, which I might add, portrays characters from a time when races will have heavily mingled with each other, something that Collins has mentioned herself—meaning that the whites would not be a majority.
tl;dr: People’s complaints about the whitewashing in the movies are perfectly valid and are based on actual textual evidence as well as comments from the author herself.
Addendum: I can’t believe I forgot to mention this, because it is actually very important. The Hunger Games is a narrative of struggle and oppression with very clear racial undertones (poor miners of color vs more privileged white merchants), and the story loses a lot of its meaning if the characters’ hardships (which are faced by PoC in real life) are appropriated by white people.
I hate when the media makes The Hunger Games look like a battle for love. Get your bullshit fantasies away. This is about murder, over powered government, and a girl trying to change the way things are. News flash not every girls fantasy is to find true love.
the irony here is that our media is doing exactly what the Capitol did in the books; downplaying the murder, focusing on the bullshit love story
As the release date gets closer, we’re being flooded with releases of trailers and promos and posters of Catching Fire! Yes. Very exciting. We get pictures of so many of the tributes! Katniss, Peeta, Finnick, Johanna, Beetee, Wiress, Mags! Oh wait, there’s more! Cashmere … and Gloss? Yeah. Those characters that are killed in the first half of the book. Who maybe have 10 lines? Descriptions and dialogue included. Missing is, Seeder and Chaff. Katniss’s allies. Haymitch’s best friend. Seeder who is described: “The woman, Seeder, looks almost like she could be from the Seam, with her olive skin and straight black hair streaked with silver. Only her golden brown eyes mark her as from another district.” Seeder and Chaff are from District 11 - thus, we all assume she’s a PoC. Both Seeder and Chaff have been cast by black actors. (Funny, isn’t it, how Seeder is supposed to look like she could be from the Seam? How Katniss, Gale and Haymitch look like they’re from the Seam. All black hair, olive skin … oh … wait.) Seeder and Chaff also the only two main victors bizzarely missing from a series of posters that deemed Gloss and Cashmere important enough to be in it (never mind the fact that the most we know about them was that they were very blonde and very pretty). Enobaria is there you say! She’s a PoC. Yes. Yes. Enobaria is there. Enobaria with her sharp, jagged, fang-like teeth as her only defining characteristic.
I, too, with so many others would have loved to see Finnick and Johanna casted as PoC. I’m really glad they casted Jeffrey Wright as Beetee. But you know what I really wish? That they had cast the actual main characters as PoC - as they were described in the book.
Alright, here Tumblr, it’s my turn to wank about The Hunger Games after having just read the whole first book yesterday.If you haven’t read it already, expect spoilers, or for some things not to make sense to you.
I’m pretty upset about the characters Rue and Thresh. No, I’m not one of the assholes from Twitter with panties all in a twist over the fact that they are being played by black actors. Of course they are being played by black actors - the characters are black in the book, being described as having “dark brown skin” and “dark thick hair.”
I’m upset because Rue and Thresh, the only characters in the The Hunger Games who are explicitly described as dark-skinned people, are textbook examples of the Magical Negro trope. Click the link for a brief explanation of what that means if you aren’t familiar with the racist archetype.
First of all, let’s take a look at Rue and the role she plays in THG. She is a slight, pre-teen girl whose strengths are tree-climbing, stealth, and knowledge of edible and medicinal plants. Every single one of her strengths and character traits is tailored to advance Katniss through the plot.
Aside from the initial mentions establishing her existence and foreshadowing her plot importance, Rue’s first true appearance in THG comes at the exact moment that Katniss is stuck in a tree surrounded by enemies, and she only survives the encounter thanks to Rue’s observation about the genetically-altered wasps’ nest above.
A few tracker jacker stings and two-days of venom-induced nightmares later, Katniss encounters Rue again. Rue is designed to be the only character who could possibly sneak up on Katniss and tug at her heart strings. Rue reminds Katniss of her sister Prim, who Katniss loves so much that she volunteered for the Hunger Games in her stead and even accidentally refers to Rue as Prim in her thoughts. Rue also happens to show up equipped the exact medicinal knowledge that Katniss needs to heal the stings, right then and there. These herbs end up serving Katniss’s ends well after Rue is dead.
Another major advancement for Katniss was her destruction of the Career pack’s supply camp, which was made possible only by Rue’s ability to travel quickly and stealthily through the pine forest while lighting the distraction fires. Oh yeah, and the fact that Rue had been spying on their camp and had some invaluable intel to offer on the matter. It also just so happens that Rue knows exactly how to use the one item Katniss is carrying that Katniss doesn’t know how to use: the night-vision glasses.
Basically, one is hard press to name a single thing about Rue that isn’t one-mindedly engineered to advance Katniss. Even her seemingly unique love for music simply harkens back to Katniss’s relationship with her deceased father. Even the little girl’s shy but eager personality just seems tacked on to give us a reason to be sad when she is inevitably killed off.
The way hear death was handled was perhaps the most upsetting thing to me about her treatment: she was killed the instant the plot no longer needed her, not a moment later. To be fair, every character died the moment the plot didn’t need them anymore; however, only Rue’s death was used to develop Katniss’s character. Every other death comes off as incidental.
Which brings me to Thresh, the boy from the same district as Rue. After his introduction, we don’t see hide nor hair of him for practically the whole book until he becomes necessary as a plot device to save Katniss. He literally lunges out of the woods the moment Katniss becomes incapable of saving her own life from Clove, successfully annihilates her assailant, and only stops short of killing Katniss as well because Rue. I don’t even feel like I have to finish that sentence. It is simply because Rue. Next time we hear mention of Thresh, he’s on the body count.
I would also like to point out that the only explicitly dark-skinned characters are from the farming district where whipping is the primary form of punishment, a fact that brings Katniss momentary pause to contemplate her relative good-fortune in relation to these people (which smacks of white guilt or something like it).
I’m bad at writing conclusions, but this is Tumblr, not the academy, so whatever. That is basically what I read, and it super bums me out.
Is the impact of the Magical Negro stereotype mitigated if Katniss is read as biracial or as a woman of color? Would the fixation on the races of the actors or on the characters have been lessened if The Hunger Games had more diversity in its main characters as a whole? Do you think Suzanne Collins was aware of the Magical Negro stereotype—or the implications of a character of color dying to drive a white character’s story forward—as she wrote these scenes in The Hunger Games?
Also, I still occasionally see posts that are like “The Hunger Games fandom makes Gale out to be a monster but then acts like Cato is a-okay”
Don’t get me wrong, they’re both terrible human beings who willingly both attempted and succeeded in committing murder
Except Cato was manipulated, lied to, coerced, and brainwashed from birth into committing his crimes
Whereas Gale’s crimes were all committed of his own free will and under no outside duress
Like, I get where his anger comes from, and his emotions are totally valid and justified, but the way he acted on those emotions in a situation where he was not being manipulated and was free to react as he chose can only be described as “monsterly.”
It’s incredibly difficult for me to address Gale hate posts made in such a vein because I usually go into a boiling rage over them. But I’m going to address this anyway because it’s fucking disgusting and deserves to be called out.
First of all, who the fuck compares Gale to Cato and comes out deciding that Cato is the morally superior one in this situation? Cato had immense privilege in comparison to Gale. Cato grew up in a Career district and benefited from both white and class privilege. He was doubtlessly a victim of manipulation as a minor coerced into the Hunger Games, but he has tremendous privilege over Gale, a man of color from one of the poorest districts in Panem.
And then there’s this bullshit statement
Whereas Gale’s crimes were all committed of his own free will and under no outside duress
Oh, I’m sorry. Is the bombing of your home and district not outside duress? Is the premature death of your father in a system that kills and oppresses the men of the Seam not outside duress? Is starving and living in crippling poverty not outside duress? Is having to support your siblings and entire family as a minor not outside duress? Is suffering racism and constant dehumanization at the hands of the merchants not outside duress? Is acting on the belief that you never want to go through that ever fucking again not outside duress? because I sure as fuck think it is.
And I think that Gale’s position as a revolutionary of color coming from an impoverished background is more relevant to the oppression narrative than any shit Cato’s dealt with, particularly when Cato is an individual of privilege whose weaponization was designed to victimize underprivileged participants of the Games and uphold their function. Gale, meanwhile? Gale’s the polar opposite, a man of color from a poor district taking agency into his hands and liberating his people.
Thing is, THG fandom is scared of Gale. Collins herself was scared of Gale and that’s why he received the bullshit treatment and explicit vilification in the narrative. Why are they scared of Gale? Why are you scared of Gale? It’s because he’s an angry man of color. He’s a revolutionary who claims agency and doesn’t balk at making the decision of bombing the Nut, a weapons syndicate that bombed his home and is capable of bombing other anti-Capitol districts, whose destruction will prove essential to the war that liberates him. Did you ever think of that? That this isn’t Gale indulging his petty revenge, but actively contributing to his liberation? Making decisions that ensure never again?
He’s an angry man of color who fights against the Capitol. Indeed, he fights against the Capitol. I’m sorry (not sorry), he doesn’t engage in nonviolent dissent. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi aren’t the only freedom fighters out there whose method of protest is valid. Violent protest in a state suffering from colonization or dictatorship is entirely valid. Frantz Fanon, David Walker, Malcolm X, and Muhammad Iqbal were all theorists of color who advocated violence for self-liberation. Are they fucking monsters for wanting to be free? Are they monsters for wanting colonized, enslaved and/or oppressed peoples to attain agency and freedom through violence?
What’s sad is that this isn’t applicable only to individual scholars. Let’s consider your bullshit in regards to larger organizations and rebellions. Were the sepoys in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 monsters for killing their white oppressors? Are people of the Syrian opposition in favor of violence monsters? Are Nat Turner and Gabriel Prosser and participants of the Stono Rebellion monsters for leading a slave rebellion and slaughtering whites?
The conclusion I’ve reached? You as a white man are threatened by Gale, an angry man of color willing to dismantle oppressive government via violence.
As a woman of color from a postcolonial nation who has been to Pakistan many times while it was under dictatorship, I’m frankly sickened by your assessment of Gale and the people who unconditionally support it. Your privilege throughout your posts is not only apparent, but blatant. It’s apparent that you’ve never had to live under dictatorship and thus aren’t familiar with the necessities demanded in claiming freedom. I say all this without even touching on the blatant dehumanization of terming a man of color a monster, thus insinuating that he is subhuman for being who he is.
Be consistent with your shit.
If you subscribe to the idea that Katniss is a woman of color then that means Gale is a man of color. And that means that the way this fandom at large deals with him is gross. He’s a man of color who’s fighting for the rights and freedom of his people, for fuck’s sake. To hear some people talk, you’d think he was the villain of the text.
If you don’t like him, then don’t like him, that’s fine. But being a person of color goes both ways. Maybe no one else in fandom cares about men of color who want the revolution to begin but I do.
Deal with it.
So I’m going to go out on a limb and say (as a veteran of the tracked tag, if nothing else) that the way huge swathes of ‘The Hunger Games’ fandom talks about Gale Hawthorne is super problematic.
It’s a tough thing to do, to talk about any of the characters in the series and do it fairly when the narrative itself is rife with problems - both in terms of what it picks up on and what it leaves out. But I think fandom tends to ignore those problematic aspects which aren’t convenient to their reading of the text, at the expense of misunderstanding several of its key figures. If I was someone looking in from the outside, who had never picked up a single copy of the books, I would, from fandom’s response, infer that Gale was the villain of the piece (or at least the final act) - the volatile, bloody mirror to Peeta’s good. And when you think about that contextually, when you think about that in conjunction with the fact that if we accept Katniss to be a POC then Gale is too, it follows that the portrait that we get in the books of one of the sole male POC characters fighting for his homeland is one who is paranoid, militant, downright violent. Which isn’t just problematic, but offensive as well - to put such a one-dimensional face on the subjugated people of colour partaking in the revolution, as well as feeding into long-held stereotypes of what a person of colour fighting for their rights looks like.
The fly in the ointment being - despite the fact that Collins drops in the racial commentary without ever exploring it any further - that is simply not who Gale is in the text. Yes, Gale is uncompromising, yes, he resorts to violence but if he’s not one of the heroes of the series, he’s certainly not one of its villains either. And for fandom to dismiss him as such is a disservice to his character. For fandom to single out Gale for his possessiveness, claiming that such a character trait is in evidence in the ‘Gale is mine. I am his’ line - a line not spoken by Gale, but by Katniss - is not just a disservice to his character, but completely baffling. And for fandom to glorify Katniss’ racial heritage whilst erasing (via ignoring) Gale’s, is adding insult to injury. Sure, you have your favourites, you have the ship that you prefer - but that doesn’t mean you get to prioritise which character of colour’s experiences have more intrinsic value, that’s neither a sensitive nor a respectful reading of these books.
And Gale isn’t a poorly hewn together caricature of what a POC revolutionary might look like either, all overflowing anger and inflammatory action - Collins’ writing has its faults, but that’s still never a place it goes. His character is not just defined by a single act - by the violence of the bombs he creates or Prim’s death - his character is informed by what he spends his life experiencing and what he shapes that to mean. Yes, he is single-minded in his determination and he believes that the ends justifies the means (in contrast to Peeta who sees the ends as the means) and if you don’t think that’s the right way to run a revolution, well that’s your prerogative. But that doesn’t mean Gale’s anger is without justifiable cause, that we can blame him whole-heartedly for his actions without charting the multitude of steps it takes to get him there, and it certainly doesn’t mean that his characterisation is of a man of colour who revolves solely around his anger.
Gale is angry, I won’t deny it, but he’s romantic too - romantic in the sense of being an idealist, after all he falls in love with the girl who is yes, his childhood friend but also the symbol of the whole goddamn revolution. He is hopeful and he is penitent and he moves back to District 2 - to the very district he helps destroy, because he knows that sometimes the cost of a revolution can be the soft spots inside you but you don’t need to carry that cost, that weight, for the rest of your life. He’s a complex character, he’s multifaceted and contradictory and I think his race charges his narrative as much as Katniss does hers. To ignore that part of him (whilst exulting that part of Katniss) is blatantly unfair and to flatten him into a stereotype that he’s not, is as offensive as it is nonsensical.
Also, just to briefly add —
I’d also further argue that this fandom is left with a choice. Interpretations of texts are about choices, and should we agree that Katniss is a woman of color (which not everyone in this fandom does, but I do) and that, therefore, Gale is a man of color, we are left with options. We can choose to recognize that in the moments that Collins deplores Gale’s revolutionary positioning and in the moments that she posits political revolutionary violence as just as oppressive as state-sponsored violence, she is establishing an incredibly problematic racial and political rhetoric and note the problematics of the text as such, or we can choose to buy into that line of thinking and condemn Gale for it as well. Extratextually, Gale’s actions are all completely within the scope of any ethics of war you want to look at bar outright pacifism; it’s only intratextually that he’s condemned for it, and this fandom needs to examine why that is and what that means for this series. And we have a responsibility to examine the problematics of all that and recognize that even if Collins is willing to take a disparaging position toward a man of color for revolutionary violence with the goal of liberation from state-sponsored and endemic oppression, we as readers do not have to do the same.
I do think that Collins is unsure of her political rhetoric in most of Mockingjay. At times she invokes the need for revolution and at other times she condemns it, ultimately suggesting that the rebels may be just as bad if not worse than the ruling regime which is often the case in real life but given the paradigms of this series is, frankly, mortifying. But no matter how she ultimately comes down on that issue — which she doesn’t, really, because Mockingjay has no space for resolution of any kind — for fandom to flatten Gale down to a one-dimensional villain who manipulates Katniss (which is not in any way textual) and who uses violence to attain his goals (which is textual) within the constructs of a racialized narrative is a problematic of the fandom itself. His violence is political. It does not happen in a vacuum, and it is not hapless. To say ‘oh, Gale is violent’ without looking at what kind of violence he performs or why he does it is overwhelmingly limited thinking.
Another white actor chosen to play a character that is not white.
And a light-skinned woman of color being cast as a character who was described as dark-skinned.
And another author who’s okay with it because they feel like the actors fit the character so well.
Again I ask, why do white authors make their characters into people of color when they don’t care about them being whitewashed? Is it because they want them to be exotic? Is it because because they want them to be ~*different*~? and ~*special*~?
Because I doubt that they use they actually realize that white shouldn’t be the neutral color for all characters.
And being that more than often people seem to be okay with the whitewashing of these characters, that excuse against race-bending, the “we should respect the writers property and keep them the race they were written (white)!!” doesn’t really hold weight anymore, at least to me it doesn’t