Reading ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas shows readers the truth about what is happening in the world, but it mostly focuses on racism. This is important because it is an issue that seems indirect and most people hesitate to discuss this topic. This book brings the subject directly into the spotlight. It also tackles, unfair racial profiling for the privileged, unfair racial profiling towards those of color, and how these issues directly relate to the issue of guns in America.
According to the Merriam-Websters Dictionary, the word ‘privilege’ means a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or prerogative. In relation to the book ‘The Hate U Give’, it brings for discussion of the rights granted by those who are ‘white’. Let’s start with the negative, the typical views towards the ‘white-privileged-rich’, so in the book, there is a character named Hailey, she attends Williamson Prep, a private school of mostly upper-class white people. Hailey uses very offensive and racial remarks towards people and with no remorse, she shows insensitivity towards people of color. For the positive, Starr’s boyfriend Chris is white, he goes to the same school as Starr and Hailey, is one of privileged society as well and white, but has an inter-racial relationship with Starr. Chris has little experience in the lower class ‘black’ ‘poor’ society. Despite opposing backgrounds, Chris’ character fights to help get justice for the innocent killing of Khalid. There is a quote in the book spoken by Starr, she says to Chris: “Try to understand how I feel…please”. It’s important to the book because it is introducing empathy, that Chris has. Even through all the social realms he continues to stand by her side and protest with her, he uses his position in society to voice his opinion to others, he is proving to readers that not all white people are racist and agree with the advantages of the color of their skin. He helps to fight systemic racism and uses his whiteness to help others.
Racial profiling is the main focus of the book, it is presented in many ways throughout the book. Indirectly you will see it at the preppy school. Starr has a personal battle trying to fit into a predominantly white preppy school. For example, not even halfway into the book, there is already an incident of racism. There was racism when Starr first walked into her (white) Williamson prep school. When she walked in everybody was staring at her like she was an alien or something, this was an act of racial profiling because the people are staring at Starr like she is dangerous just because she’s black, they don’t even know her but are staring and judging like she is a threat. Likewise, in another incident when a white teen was passing her in the halls, he used slang to say ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ to her, he thought that just because she was black that she uses slang or understands it. In Chapter 7, Hailey invites Starr to come to play basketball with her and Chris, and as the game goes on, Starr is getting defended well, getting scored on, and maybe not playing her best, but Hailey thinks a way of encouraging her would be to make a racist comment that goes “pretend the ball is fried chicken”. Not only is this presented towards the ‘black’, it is also for the ‘Asian’, because Hailey also says a racist comment to Starr’s other friend Maya confesses that Hailey asked her “do you eat cats for thanksgiving?”. Another prime example of racism is because Maya was of Asian ethnicity. This comment really affected me, because I have also received a comment similar to that at school. It is very uneducated and immature, and it shows a lack of empathy and awareness of the issue.
There are many acts of racial gun profiling in this world because a 12-year-old can buy a gun as of last week, according to CNN after they made a video showing how easy it is to buy a gun in the states. Racial profiling in the novel ‘The Hate U Give’ is very different with a very sad outcome. After Khalil was asked to step out of his car after being arrested, the police officer tells him to get on his knees with his hands on his head, but when the officer heads back to his vehicle, Khalil gets up and goes to the Car to ask if Starr is okay, but when he reaches for his hairbrush, BOOM BOOM, the police officer shoots Khalil. In addition, do you know the officer shot Khalil because he thought it was a gun. The officer thought that Khalil had pulled a gun out just because he was black. This goes to show how police officers see people of color. Therefore, the police officer shot an unarmed black man just because he thought he had a gun but, this isn’t over because when reporters and other police officers asked what happened, he had lied and said Khalil was armed and a dangerous drug dealer. This doesn’t just show racial gun profiling, but it also shows how it can harm someone’s life, since Starr was the only witness she was scared to speak up after what the news said Khalil was dangerous, a drug dealer and that he did have a gun. This goes to show to never judge someone on their color, how they look, how they dress, anything, because you never know the full story.
This is a very important book because it provides a platform to discuss important issues that generally might be controversial. Racial profiling is very much an issue for those of color, but it is also an issue with those who are ‘white’. Not all white people are rich, racist and privileged. There is definitely an issue with systemic racism as well, and we need a voice of non-color to perpetuate the systemic system of oppression, whether it is color or not. When people view others by the color of their skin, they already have made the mistake of discriminating and acting upon self-fear, self-anger, self-hatred towards another person. Racism is like a cancer we need to find a cure.