“The Hate U Give” By Angie Thomas
In the book The Hate U Give, the author Angie Thomas puts us in the view point of Starr, a teenage girl born and raised in Garden Heights. Which is a lower class black neighborhood where she was forced to witness the murder of her best friend. With this tragedy the theme of activism is highlighted, Starr brings the controversial topics of racial injustice, police brutality and the protest of black lives matter. The development of Starr’s character and the confidence she gains to speak her truth throughout the novel displays her want to be an activist. The form of activism is everywhere in this book, the deeper meaning of the title The Hate U Give is incredible in its own. It originates from a tattoo Tupac Shakur had saying Thug Life.
It stands for “The Hate U Give Little Infants F*cks Everyone” proposing that the negativity you feed to young kids sprouts hatred within them that later in life will backfire when they take there anger out on the world (Thomas, 17). T.H.U.G shows the reality and struggles people of color and people in minorities are forced to deal with. Along with Tupac’s music both inspire and tell the stories of people whose voices are stripped away from them without reasoning. This brings attention to the problems happening of the injustice happening around the world. By putting the reader in the shoes of a suppressed minority who deals with racism on a daily basis it makes the concept more personal and transforms them into a different perspective. Starr’s story of individual growth is inspirational to people all around the world because of her effort to raise awareness to the cultural issues that some are afraid to speak about. She was able to relate to most kids, either because of her issues to fit in or her struggle to find her voice. Her story gave hope and confidence to kids that you can always work through a hard situation, because of her act of standing up to speak her voice it may influence others around the world to do this as well.
The actions taken by Starr to bring Khalil justice after his death show the activism characteristics developed over time within her personality. The act of her standing up on top of the cop car represents her stance against the judge’s verdict, she uses her voice to defend and spread Khalil because the true story hasn’t been spoken. Soon after the verdict she starts speaking out her truth; and she doesn’t ask for justice she demands it. “This isn’t about how Khalil died. It’s about the fact that he lived.” (Thomas, 412), Starr stated this when she was protesting because the stories being told were twisted to make Khalil’s life seem invalid and unworthy solely on his appearance and where he was raised. They would make the cop seem to be the victim when he was the killer.
The racial injustice and biased beliefs of the police was seen multiple times in the novel. It was shown while Khalil was being pulled over, during Starr’s interrogation and the TV interview of officer Cruise’s father. In all scenes Khalil was displayed to be threatening, uncooperative and dangerous, Starr is the only person that would be able to clear his name since she was the sole witness. The biased opinion of the police was brought to light while detective Gomez and detective Wilkes were interrogating Starr. She was never questioned about the cop’s actions during the incident because they didn’t see him as being at fault. They were bombarding Starr with questions to try and make her somehow put Khalil at fault but Starr knew what they were trying to do. She would correct the detectives when they would say a question that would have a negative effect on Khalil. Through the interrogation they undermined and devalued Khalil’s life.
By asking irrelevant questions such as whether he was involved in a gang, if he sold drugs, if he had taken drugs in the past (Thomas, 96-103). The first person perspective of Starr helps outside viewers develop a better understanding of the harsh reality some minorities have to deal with. This story opened my eyes on these topics because I didn’t have much experience and exposure to these circumstances where I grew up. This is vital for all people to read for the information that is learned while reading, I got to hear from the in person perspective about police violence, racism and Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM).
From the book I felt more connected to the BLM Movement because I got to know Khalil on a personal level instead of just hearing it through the social media where they twist the story. I’ve learned to stop judging situations so quickly because they is always two sides to the story. Before I would hear about these shooting between a white officer and black victim it would be assumed that the black victim was most likely armed, aggressive or involved with drugs/ illegal activities. Now I look further into the story to see the actual circumstances instead of believing I’m being told the whole story. The news and police can dehumanize or degrade certain scenarios by having the public only know the negative aspects of a person so the victim is perceived as unworthy of basic rights.
The Hate U Give is a powerful form of activism that will be back upon for years to come from the incredible detail that made you feel as if you were living Starr’s life with her. Thomas brought up these topics and demanded them to be spoken about so change could start to occur, and gain the attention of the public. This novel helps to remind people that we are making steps towards equality but racism is still alive in the lives of these minority’s, so we have work to do for our future. Hopefully Starr’s life influences or helps people in related issues begin to speak out for their truth.
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