“The Hate U Give” displays the current racial issues in America today

Elizabeth Flower '20, Copy Editor

“The Hate U Give” is a poignant novel, important within today’s society and a story which everyone, no matter how old, should read. Personally, I read the book in a span of two days, unable to put down this raw, emotional story that was so close to the actual realities of racial injustice in present-day America.

The book, written by Angie Thomas, follows the aftermath of a teenage protagonist, Starr Carter, who witnesses a police officer shoot her innocent unarmed black friend, Khalil. This shooting sparks the plot of the rest of the novel, as it delves into various themes of racism in modern day society, casual racism and activism against these injustices.

The story has the ability to start many needed conversations about these issues and why it is so crucial our country fixes them. The author’s portrayal of the shooting in the story and the events following– from media coverage to protests and riots– relates closely to instances of police brutality that have happened in the real world. These similarities between the fiction and the reality opened my eyes to the effects of racism in American society and how it continues to be a major issue.

Thomas emphasized, through the overall theme of racial injustice, how much it affects society and how potent the problem is. For example, in the novel, the media portrayed Khalil as a bad kid who had “deserved” to get shot, or made it seem like he had it coming, whereas the media portrayal of the officer painted him as the victim instead of Khalil. Stereotypical portrayals like this can be seen in the actual media when referring to shootings like Khalil’s. Therefore, Thomas could not have done a better job of accentuating her point that racial inequality in our society is one of America’s prominent issues.

Furthermore, a subtler theme of casual racism surfaced throughout the novel, which I could learn from. There were several instances in which Starr felt herself being treated differently or judged because of her race. Especially while at her school, where she was one of the only black kids. For example, in the novel, almost all the students at the school walked out under a “Justice for Khalil” movement, when in actuality it was only organized to get out of class. Thomas shows with moments like these how casual racism should not be ignored either and that people need to be held accountable for all kinds of racism, not just the newsworthy issues.

Finally, this book inspired me as a reader. When Starr refused to be silent about Khalil’s death and stood up for racial equality, I felt as if I was right there beside her. The bravery in Starr remaining resistant toward what happened to Khalil shows it’s important to teach kids that it’s okay to stand up and not be silent when unfair things happen in life and to stand by your beliefs and morals. Thomas did an excellent job of stressing that action can help create change.

This book is much more than a typical teen novel about high school drama. It’s deep and meaningful, conveying real, modern-day societal issues that America continues to struggle with day after day. In writing this novel, Thomas offered a perspective on these issues that everyone should be aware of; it’s an educational masterpiece disguised as a young adult fiction book.

Although “The Hate U Give” is fiction, the themes displayed are extremely relevant to current racial issues in America. The story conveys the brutal truth of racial injustice and how to stand up against it. It was beautifully written and I would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat because this is a book that truly impacts. It leaves an impression and is uncomfortable at points, which is okay because that’s what this book was written for. If it makes the reader uncomfortable, then it’s working; the racial themes covered in this book should make readers feel that way and want to do something to help combat that oppression. Therefore, I give “The Hate U Give”  a total of 5/5 stars. There is no other book that has impacted me as much as this one has.