I don’t know about you, but I love movies. One of my top go-to movies is The Hunger Games. If you’ve never watched or read The Hunger Games trilogy, in a nutshell, The Hunger Games is the story of a woman who bridges together many districts/cities who were purposefully pitted against each other by the governing Capitol district. The Capitol successfully pitted each district against each other by creating The Hunger Games, a fight-to-the-death match where two people from each of the twelve districts participated in and the standing winner was promised a life of riches. Through the Hunger Games, the districts were constantly rivaling each other, never realizing that this was just a tactic to prevent the districts from realizing the true motives of their actual common enemy, the Capitol.
Fast forward to last Saturday night, where our lovely Moxie group watched a play titled Sweat. Sweat presents the lives of several friends who work in the same factory during the early 2000’s. Some of the characters had been affiliated with the factory for around three generations, ever since their grandparents emigrated from Europe. The other characters, minorities, had only just begun to work with the factory within their own generation. Each of the characters were proud to work in the factory, and more importantly, were very proud to be friends. This held true until the NAFTA treaty was signed. When each of the characters realized that their jobs were at stake, and basically that their hard work and contributions to the factory meant nothing, racial tensions started to fly and each of the friendships began to wither away. Rather than direct their anger toward the factories, each of the characters rivaled each other.
So, what does this have to do with The Hunger Games?
While I really love movies and I really love plays, when I left Sweat, I realized that the themes they presented are more than just entertainment, they’re an actual fact relevant to our current existence. These racial rivalries, as a result of public manipulation, aren’t just theories or a fun plot to make the movies interesting. They’re a real issue that we’re dealing with on a daily basis yet often blind to. While we’re busy trying to figure out who deserves the low-paying, exploitative job in the factory, or who deserves to win the mansion at the end of the fight-to-the-death free-for-all, we’re forgetting who’s actually winning the game. Whoever that is, the government, NAFTA, World Organizations, the President, that’s up to you to decide. All I can say is, none of us are winning when we think that the next person stole our job or doesn’t deserve what we think they have. In the end, none of us have been secure in the first place. We need to question why our economic insecurities manifests as racial tensions, and perhaps who is producing them at the origin, because if not: