With popularity comes controversy, and The Hunger Games is no exception…
There have been questions around the franchise’s use in advertising, and positive and negative reactions to the casting of the curvy Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. However, the biggest controversy has been around race in The Hunger Games, and its portrayal of racial diversity.
The Hunger Games isn’t the only series to have sparked this debate. Walter Dean Myers and Soraya Chemaly have questioned the lack of racial diversity in YA literature, and Victoria Law wrote a two-month blog series inspired by her struggle to find YA dystopian novels with POC protagonists.
None of the characters in The Hunger Games novels are explicitly described as black, white, or of any other racial background. Although her race is ambiguous, readers like blogger Alexiel have read the black-haired, olive-skinned Katniss as a woman of colour.
Like Harry Potter’s Dean Thomas and Angelina Johnson, Rue’s blackness is only implied, but her ‘dark brown skin’ means that it is a rather strong implication. The fact that Rue is African American is obvious – or so one would assume.