Injustice In Modern America: The Hate U Give
Like a strong wind, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas takes off the blindfold from many people’s eyes to examine the reality in America in the current times and open wounds of the past. This text is an example of the injustice most minorities have to face every day at the hands of cops. The story develops as a sixteen-year-old girl by the name of Starr witnesses the assassination of one of her close childhood Khalil by the hands and bullet of a white police officer. The traumatic experience leaves Starr disoriented and scared to speak up about what she saw because of the feared retaliation of other police officers and the King Lords leader, King. Starr struggles to keep it together as she battles deep feelings about what to do and how she can get justice for her friend Khalil because there is never any justice for these inhumane and heartless killings that always end up impunity by-laws for justice. Angie Thomas addresses the sensitive issues of race relations and how contaminated America is still living on the same racism and injustice that lingers from the past. Thomas’s use of Starr as the protagonist was a great key to translate this text as a form of activism, being forced to pretend that she did not know Khalil while attending Williamson was very tough for Starr.
Starr does not want to admit that she knew Khalil at Williamson school. This is something that she does for a while due to where she lives with her parents and the rough neighborhood where she grew up in. Starr does not tell her friends that Khalil is killed because she believes that they may think that she is a ghetto person. When Starr’s friends asked her if she knew Khalil she tells them. “I do not know Khalil. It’s a betrayal worse than dating a white boy. I fucking deny him, erasing every laugh we shared, every hug, every tear, every second we spent together” (Thomas 113, 114). This highlights that Starr cares more about what her friends could think about her than everything that she did with one of her best friends. Even if she immediately became to feel guilty to deny her friendship with Khalil, the only reasons she did answer like that was because she does not want her teachers and friends from her nice school to think that she and her family have connections or relations with drug leaders and that could affect her reputation in Williamson. Through this event Thomas demonstrates that sometimes people make bad choices and they regret them later.
Due to the lack of education on Garden Heights Starr’s father, Maverick who was no stranger to the gang lifestyle and negative police interaction, he and his wife Lisa decided to send his children to a different school which is Williamson. He always instilled in Starr that it was okay to venture out of the gang and stereotype society places on every minority because he wants his children to have a better education than him. Maverick told Starr “That’s why when your momma talked about sending you and your brothers to Williamson, I agreed. Our school doesn’t get the resources to equip you as Williamson does. It’s easier to find crack than it is to find a good school around here” (Thomas 169). Maverick is being an activist for his kid’s education by making a choice and leading an example. In the characters we can relate to their choices and why this is important to the form of activism content in this text.
As Starr, Khalil did not have the same opportunity of education from a parents figure due to his mother’s bad choices that consequently negatively affected him in his whole life. Khalil grew up without knowing what it was to have his parents support when he needed to talk to them, basically, he just gets raised by his grandmother who was not able to support him financially and his mother Brenda was never there for him because of her addiction to drugs did not let her be present in Khalil’s life. Thomas uses Starr to express the feelings of Khalil after he is dead and she argues, “How come she gets upset? She wasn’t there for Khalil. You know how many times he cried about her? Birthdays, Christmas, all that. Why does she get to cry now?”. This demonstrates that Brenda did not care in any way for Khalil, but now that he is dead she wants to make up for what she did not do, but it is too late which evokes Starr’s rage.
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