$natalie -- tagging you here because I didn't think that facebook was a good place to have the discussion :).
I don't think that this should be *that* shocking. It's just white kids who have only ever experienced being white assigning what they consider "normal" to characters that they encounter.
For instance, if I start telling a story, almost always, I'm telling the story from the standpoint of a white boy. To me, "white, male, lives in the US" is the default state because that's what I have been experiencing non stop for 25 years. Unless an author is fairly specific in outlining that a character *doesn't* fit this, that's what I generally assume is the case.
I think that people's *reaction* to finding out that this character didn't look like them is...really sad :(, but I don't necessarily think that their assumption that the character would be white should be that shocking.
A big part of me really hopes that these are just kids saying these things, and that they don't fully understand how horrible what they're implying is (although reading the blog, some of them sound like they're trying to be directly offensive).
Finding out that the character wasn't what you expected should have been a couple of seconds of "oh, huh?"
This has been something that I've talked about at length before, but it's relevant to this (and all discussions on cultural/sexual discrimination).
This idea that you're not "normal" is so hurtful on such a low level because it's so permanent.
"You will *never* be a part of the club"
"I will *never* accept you as $something".
The "never" part is what hurts so much.
/This/ to me is why discrimination hurts so much. It's this idea that no matter how good you are, no matter how hard you work, no matter if you're perfect in every single way, you're still, always, going to be an outsider.
That's really powerful, because your race, or your sex, are things that you can't change. The discrimination is saying that you are and forever shall be not-good-enough.
So to bring it back to the point here: people assuming the character was white is a reading comprehension problem, and a total non-issue. Finding out the character wasn't white should make the viewers "oops" over missing some details, but that's it.
When they get *upset* about this is when it becomes horrible.