Sometimes the importance of issues discussed in modern books, films, art, and other media is overlooked until they are socially relevant.
“The Hate You Give” is a 2018 American drama film based on the novel of the same name by Angie Thomas. According to Box Office Mojo, it was well received and grossed more than $34 million on its $23 million budget. It’s currently available on Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Google Play.
I first stumbled across this novel a few years ago at the recommendation of a friend. From the beginning, I fell in love with the authenticity of the author’s prose and the deep connection Thomas made with each character. I didn’t think much about it other than noticing how well written the storyline was.
Then I watched the movie out of curiosity on the plane.
From the raw emotion of Amandla Steinberg playing Starr Carter as she watches her best friend die in front of her, to the haunting sound of bullets being fired in the dark, every scene is deeply Imprinted deeply in my memory. Having the privilege of growing up in a more privileged neighborhood, I’ve never seen a police officer pull someone purely based on skin color.
I feel like my eyes are opened to see this whole new world of racial injustice, pain and despair that black people face as their reality.
If you haven’t seen it, now more than ever, I think both the novel and the film are a great way to further conceptualize the deep roots of systemic racism in America.
“The Hate You Give” follows Starkat as she deals with the divide between her predominantly black community and the white prep school she attended. She hid her demeanor in class to avoid being called “ghetto,” but didn’t want to be seen as “too good” by her black friends. After she witnesses the tragic death of her childhood best friend in a police shooting, she struggles to find her own voice to fight for justice.
A powerful scene depicts how black children are taught to always respect the police; a common rule is to keep hands on the wheel at all times. In addition to addressing the pervasive problem of police brutality in black communities, it also highlights the vicious cycle of fear and poverty.
“When Khalils are arrested for drug trafficking, they either spend most of their time in prison, another billion-dollar industry, or they struggle to get a real job and may start selling drugs again . This is the hatred they give us, baby, a system designed against us. This is thug life,” Angie Thomas wrote in her novels.
Starr also used a variety of activism methods to speak out against the wrongful death of her friend Khalil, rallying her district behind her. She encouraged everyone to come forward, and both the novel and the film set an example for protesting while advancing the Black Lives Matter movement today.
Especially during this time, it is critical to promote various media formats to spread awareness of racism and racial tensions among African Americans. If you’re looking for further education/resources, I highly recommend starting with the book and then watching the movie.
“People like us are labelled in situations like this, but they rarely get justice. I think we’re all waiting for that one time, that one time, when it’s over,” Thomas said, according to good read
This time, let’s end it.