The Hunger Games, Skin Color and Twitter

The Hunger Games TwitterThe Hunger Games buzz on Twitter is in full swing,  but did you expect to see complaining tweets about skin color? “Fans” of the popular novel series are making some bold statements with their 140 characters.

“Why does Rue have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined the movie.”
“Awkward moment when Rue is some black girl and not the little innocent blonde girl you picture.”
“I was pumped about the Hunger Games. Until I learned a black girl was playing Rue.”

As I am writing, I am only 100 pages deep into The Hunger Games, and know that Rue is a dark skinned girl. Not sure how that is a shock to the “proclaimed” fans. It is also alarming that someone would generate more empathy watching an “innocent” white blonde girl die over a dark skinned 12 year old girl. Rue is not innocent because she is black?

Wonder if that person wished they has more than 140 characters to better develop their thought? Or do they truly feel that way?

I have noticed over the last few years that prejudice is more open with the advent of social media. It is easy to tweet or post on Facebook your opinions; popular or unpopular. Much easier than stating them aloud in a crowd of familiar or unfamiliar faces. The threat of immediate disapproval is not present online. You can tweet something very offensive and choose not to view your mentions or user comments. Heck you can even create a fictitious identity for spewing your beliefs.

Maybe I am naive about race growing up in the Pacific Northwest. Sure there are racial issues, but for the most part the greater Seattle region is quite diverse. Some of my best friends growing up came from very different parts of the world. I never viewed them in a different light compared to my white friends.

Learning that Rue is black does not “ruin” the story and nor did I find her less “innocent.” She is 12 years old and about to fight to the death with 23 other 12 – 18 year old kids! You know she is going to die. That is not enough to create an emotion of empathy? That is not enough to feel for her? Her skin color completely neutralizes the fact she is going to die at 12 at the hands of another kid because her government has forced her to participate? She is not volunteering to be skewered or burned or hacked to pieces.

I live social media and consult others how to utilize social media to increase brand awareness and sales. Sometimes, however, social media can produce some ugly results.


Author: Garth O'Brien provides SEO, Social Media and Community Management consulting services. He can help boost the online presence of a small local business or global enterprise corporations in both Google and Bing.

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