If you see something, say something.
A Black woman stepped off the 1 Train in New York City today, two stops from Wall Street. Upon leaving the train she stepped onto the platform and saw an advertisement for the new movie “Think Like a Man,” based on Steve Harvey’s best-selling book. The ad was defaced. Now, an ad with some graffiti on it in New York City is nothing to write home about, but the way in which this poster was defaced, raises a question about these “post-racial” times we are living in. Across the face of Taraji P. Henson were the words “Nigger Bitch.” Across the face of Megan Good were the words “Nigger Whore.” And across the face of Kevin Hart was the message “No Nigger Movies Allowed.”
This past weekend The Hunger Games premiered. The movie made $155 million dollars at the box office. The only movies with bigger openings were Harry Potter and the Dark Knight. But, the fans were disappointed. It is not uncommon for films based on books to not live up to the imagination of the readers, especially in the way that characters are cast. Those casting disappointments usually pertain to hair color, height, or the build of an actor. However, in the case of Amandla Stenberg, the outrage at her being cast as Rue came from her race. Amandla Stenberg is black. In the book Suzanne Collins describes Rue in the following way, “She has dark brown skin and eyes, but other than that's she's very like Prim in size and demeanor.” Fans were ablaze after seeing the premiere, and tweeted their outrage:
“I was pumped about the Hunger Games. Until I learned that a black girl was playing Rue.”
“Why is Rue a little black girl?”
“HOW IN THE WORLD ARE THEY GOING TO MAKE RUE A FREAKIN BLACK BITCH IN THE MOVIE?!?!?!?!?! Lolol not to be racist buuuuut…. I’m angry ;o”
“Sense when has Rue been a nigger.”
“Why did the producer make all the good characters black”
“Awkward moment when Rue is some black girl and not the little blonde innocent girl you pictured”
The nation was shocked to hear of the senseless murder of Trayvon Martin, a boy cut down before he really had a chance to live, because he looked “suspicious.” While I support the efforts of the “I AM TRAYVON MARTIN” hoodie campaign, we must remember that Trayvon was killed not because he was wearing a hoodie, but because he was Black. We can pretend that Trayvon’s case is an isolated incident that happened in the south, and therefore is not a symptom of a larger problem, but we would be kidding ourselves. The defaced sign was in New York City, the quote, unquote melting pot of the nation. The tweets about Amandla Stenberg were taken from teenagers across the country!
WAKE UP EVERYONE! Racism is here! And judging from recent events, it is COOL to be overtly racist. The idea of a post-racial America is nothing more than a bedtime story we recite to help ourselves sleep at night. The election of President Obama lulled many in this country into a false sense of security. How could our country be racist when we had elected a Black president?! But there is no President or First Lady in the history of this country that have been as publicly disrespected and undermined the way that President Obama and Michelle Obama have been, and if the man in the highest office in all the land and his wife can be treated in such a manner because of the color of their skin, then what does that say for the rest of us?