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Sarah Valles
Professor Lawson
English 113B
22 April 2015
Project Text
Word Count: 1404
Racial Representation: The Hunger Games Trilogy
Throughout the many years there has been a common theme with the media-casting
actors. Movies like The Hunger Games series has many characters that were racially represented
wrong or thought to be represented wrong by the expectations of fans when compared to the
books. It has been seen that whitewashing, a common trait you see in the media, has been used
to often to where they are starting to stir up race within society. The Hunger Games Trilogy starts
out in a post apocalypse state, Panem, there are twelve districts and each district is diverse. After
the apocalypse many races have mixed by now, such as in district twelve, where a young girl
named Katniss Everdeen resides. She is a sixteen-year-old girl who could be any race, in district
eleven a district known to have an African-American population resides a well talked about
character, Rue. As an audience, we are shown how diverse our world can be even years down the
line but with the media twisting things in movies through the use of whitewashing when it came
to those who lived in the Districts in three books. They are not only removing the true message
these books are trying to give, they are also entertaining societies racist views on what they
truly want to see.
In movies like The Hunger Games you tend to see Caucasians playing major roles and an
occasional African-American playing a semi-major role. So why is it that the media likes to cast

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Caucasians for major roles? The media tends to lean towards what society wants to see, which
was clearly shown when the casting of Katniss Everdeen and Finnick Odair were released. It is
obvious society wants to see characters being played by someone who is Caucasian even if that
character is clearly described as someone of color. In the first book: The Hunger Games a young
girl Katniss Everdeen is described to have straight black hair, olive skin grey eyes (Collins,
The Hunger Games 8) with this description in mind, you might think of someone who is multiracial that would play her role. Although when the casting call was released for Katniss, the
media showed how racist they could be. There was this specific criteria the directors had wanted:
should be Caucasian, between ages 15 and 20, who could portray someone underfed but
strong, and naturally pretty underneath her tomboyishness. (qtd. Seltzer), Collins clearly
described her as olive skinned someone part of The Seam a diverse town of coal-miners. I
recently read an article Racism and Ethnic Bias in the Media Is a Serious Problem by LenaSnomeka Gomes where she mentions racism in the writing field. She mentions in her article
that unequal and inaccurate representations of minorities still persist in the media, and media
professional who are minorities continue to face prejudice in the industry (Gomes pra.1) For too
long the media has out casted minorities to the point where people in many fields have seen as
what Gomes said, an unequal balance of race. Another character in the books Catching Fire and
Mockingjay who suffered from whitewashing in the movies was Finnick Odair. A character in the
books, physically described as what Suzanne Collins would say in book two: golden skin, bronze
colored hair, and sea foam green eyes. When it came to deciding what his race should be,
people could not grasp onto the idea that Finnick could be any race based on his golden skin and
bronze hair, fans would constantly argue that Finnick could only be white. Although when
Finnicks personality is described as tall, athletic and the citizens of the Capitol have been

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drooling over him (Collins, Catiching Fire 28), with a personality like this I can definitely get
how fans would say he has to be white because when you imagine a tall, glorified man with this
cocky attitude you might think of his race being Caucasian, but thinking like this is only going
to continue the trend of whitewashing because obviously the skin color white is what society
wants to see. In the article The Hunger Games young racist fans by Irene Monroe she states
that Collins says in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that her book takes place in a time
period where hundreds of years have passed from now. There's been a lot of ethnic mixing.
Evidently to cut off all races from the casting call and strictly say Katniss is Caucasian
description is changing the entire scene of The Hunger Games. For fans to only decide a
characters race based on personality and blindly ignore the description society is only showing
how ignorant they can be which only leads to a never ending race battle within the media.
When the casting calls were released, along with the specific criteria of casting, the
horrific comments from fans continued. In Anna Holmes article she shows a man named Adam
tracing distasteful comments like these made by young fans: I was pumped about the Hunger
Games. Until I learned that a black girl was playing Rue @JohnnyKnoxIV. Why is Rue a little
black girl? @FrankeeFresh. Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death
wasnt as sad @JashperParas. Comments like these reveal how awful society can be, agreeing
with Holmes in her article: White Until Proven Black: Imagining Race in Hunger Games, she
comments that if society thinks the future does not include people of color and to ignore Suzanne
Collins clear details in The Hunger Games than what do the stories about society really say
today? Collins specifically describes that character Rue was from District 11 where you tend to
see an African-American populated area like Rue was depicted as a twelve-year-old [with]
bright, dark eyes and satiny brown skin (Collins, The Hunger Games 98), so for fans like

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@EganMcCoy to comment, Awkward moment when Rue is some black girl and not the little
blonde innocent girl you picture, is completely wrong. It is obvious the media has manipulated
society into thinking a young girl who was innocent and wrongly killed can only be someone
white and blonde. Ultimately movies with whitewashing like The Hunger Games, Catching
Fire, and Mockingjay are only influencing their audience to look past the clear description of the
characters in the books they have read and appeal to their emotions of imagining every character
as white. Which leads to the idea of how whitewashing characters in books with such strong
messages like race can be completely changed once a characters race has been changed as well.
Whitewashing has made such a big impact on society where it has led fans to believe
strong heartedly that a character should be and can only be white no matter what a book may say.
Whitewashing has also miss led one important message The Hunger Games Trilogy was trying
to show its audience, race. When directors do not properly cast characters to the best of their
ability they are only doing harm to society. In ways that race within these books are trying to
show us readers that it is possible and we are well on our way today, to have a world where there
are highly populated areas with biracial as well as African-American people. Having main
characters like Katniss and Finnick played by Caucasian actors is only entertain societies desire
to see these characters filled by Caucasian people. So when the persona of a person such as Rue
and Thresh two people from District 11, who are played by two African-Americans society is
angered. In Dodai Stewarts article A Character-By-Character Guide to Race in The Hunger
Games she brings up a great thought that race was built into the structure of the novels so for
the fans who decided to pretend they did not read the description of Rue and Thresh are only
deciding to not see the important message the books are trying to give.

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Society is so glued to the idea of skin color matching the personality. Whitewashing
movies clearly reveals how racist the media can be. Where as books like the The Hunger Games
Trilogy provide society with a perfect picture on how diverse the world can possibly be after a
tragic war, there are people of color, different races. The media will always continue to
whitewash films in the industry until future generation change the idea of race within
filmmaking.