I had said as much during the Amber Cole debacle, but it's pretty hurtful to actually see people affirm the worst: That in the minds of some Americans, a little black girl can never represent the image of purity.
This theory has been played out with the absolutely ugly way in which young Amandla Stenberg has been treated. In the movie version of the book, "The Hunger Games", she is cast as the young Rue, to whom the main character Katniss managed to grow attached. The reason is that little Rue reminds her very much of her sister, Prim.
This is what Katniss's sister looked like in the movie:
Here we have blonde-pigtailed blue eyed Primrose Everdeen. Clearly she is ethnically a bit different from the other character.
And so people were "surprised" or just plain pissed off: How DARE they cast some nappy-haired negro girl child as the representation of white innocence and purity! (And I'm actually paraphrasing at least one response there.)
Yeah, you're reading that right. As a few people have pointed out, the angry bigots who have come out to complain over a black Rue took issue with the fact that they were "tricked" into sympathizing with the character, into caring about her, into seeing her as a proxy for the sweet and innocent Prim. But when confronted with absolute proof (visual as well as written because clearly they can't read) that she was NOT the flower of white purity standing in for Katniss's sister, they felt they could no longer identify with the character. She had, in the words of one person, been "ruined".
Despite the fact that Amandla absolutely owned that role, some people refuse to see beyond the color of her skin, even when it is explicitly stated that her skin was dark brown.
"I just assumed it meant tan, like she'd been out in the Sun."
I suppose this means the next time someone as described as very pale, my first thought should be they are Japanese.
Indeed, there was grumbling about the POC being cast in certain roles, despite the fact that two of the characters, Rue and Thresh, are clearly meant to be of color. Even the author said so.
But what was most disturbing was the reaction over little Amandla's casting. It kept coming back to being unable to understand how a little black girl could be seen and treated as innocent and helpless and someone worthy of being loved and empathized with.
This is what happens when black people refuse to let Mammy/Sapphire/Jezebel portrayals, born of the same white racism that makes this young girl's casting seem strange and unfathomable, DIE and be DEAD. You get idiots thinking that something is wrong if a black girl is cast as something associated with purity.
I actually only half blame the (liberal my behind) Hollywood industry; I also blame a black community that's more than proud to throw black girls under the bus whenever possible. If you cannot fight for or protect the image and innocence of black girls, then you cannot expect anyone else to. You basically shake hands with white racism everytime you encourage black boys to to rape black girls. When you say things implying that black girls can't be virgins at age thirteen. When you could care less how black women are represented in the media.
If you're willing to cooperate with this ugly line of thinking, you are helping to keep this sort of hurtful ignorance alive and well.