What was the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.
The Hate U Give is so brilliantly written, and I absolutely love how the title has been written so that it can be shortened to “Thug”. This book is about racism, and how it affects Starr and the people around her, but it also shows how even the little things impact her life and her self worth, and displays that even one of her best friends can be ignorant to the fact that racism is still very much alive in society today. People like to think that its in the past, but the only thing about it that is in the past, is the way that it is shown. Racism is still here, but its different now, especially because it is highly looked down upon. Racists will try to hide it, or more exactly, disguise it to appear like something else.
The book starts with Starr leaving a party that she went to in the suburb she lives in. She leaves with Khalil after a fight breaks out, and they are driving home when they are pulled over by a police officer. The police officer asks for ID then pulls Khalil out of the car. He does a body search of Khalil and tells him to put his hands up, then goes back to get something from his own vehicle. Khalil leans in to ask if Starr is okay, and then is shot. And Starr watches (for the second time) as blood pours out of one of her best friends. This fuels Starr to speak up and tell people what happened. And when they don’t listen to her, she makes her voice louder, to be heard. For Khalil. The police try to claim that he was a drug dealer and the officer swears that he thought that Khalil’s black HAIRBRUSH was a gun and that he was reaching for it.
Throughout the novel you are shown just how the news and the police make it seem like Khalil deserved to die. Deserved? Because apparently if you sell drugs to feed your family you deserve to die!? … okay. I’m getting a bit emotional about this. But its because when you read this, you are put into the shoes of these characters, and for just a moment, you can feel a fraction of what it must be like to be in their situation. And that fraction was enough for me.
This topic is something that I felt really strongly about while reading this book, and I would have never known how racism is still so prevalent today if I hadn’t seen it through Starr’s eyes. Also, please, I don’t want any comments about how “all lives matter” because the whole campaign for “black lives matter” is to make it so that they have the same rights as white people. I once read online somewhere, “dear white people: no one is saying that your life can’t be hard if you’re white but it’s not hard because you’re white,” and I think that really explains why the “black lives matter” campaign is called that and not “all lives matter”. Because black lives are disadvantaged simply for being black.
And I know that I have no where near the perspective or the experience of someone that has undergone racism because of my skin, but this topic needs to be spoken about. From both black and white people alike. I’m not trying to say that I know what it’s like for black people, but I WILL stand by them when it comes to their rights.