The Hate U Give: Police Brutality against African Americans

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The Hate You Give is a great novel that expresses the topic of police brutality against the African American society. Though the novel centers around that, it has multiple topics that surround police brutality like a web. The story follows a young girl named Starr Carter, a girl who lives in Garden Heights who is dealing with an internal conflict. She lives in two worlds and this book covers her journey to realizing that she shouldn’t let them change who she really is inside. One of her worlds is Garden Heights: her neighborhood, her home where she was born and raised. She feels like herself in this world, she doesn’t have to hide anything at all. Her other world is Williamson Prep, in this world, she can’t be herself. She must act a certain way, talk a certain way, and absolutely cannot let her classmates think she’s ghetto.

This conflict makes Starr Carter feel like she’s ultimately different from others. Proof of this comes from page 74, “ Williamson Starr is non confrontational. Basically, Williamson Starr doesn’t give anyone a reason to call her ghetto. I can’t stand myself for doing it, but I do it anyway.”. Finding her voice, though it is the main conflict in the story, isn’t the only conflict she deals with. The death of Khalil ignites the fire in her to speak up, and reveal her feelings through protest. His death marks the breaking point of her silence, she can’t drown her feelings, she can’t and will not hold her tongue. Just like everyone else who knows Garden Heights as a homestead, she demands just for Khalil.

Khalil and police brutality aren’t the only voices driving the young high schooler. Why she finds it a necessity to not hold her tongue is because Khalil isn’t the only one of her childhood friends that died in the story. In chapter 12, it is revealed that Natasha also died in front of Starr when she was just a young girl. Starr doesn’t tell a soul about it until the story reaches the point of Khalil getting shot. These two forces change Starr’s character dramatically, Willliamson Starr dies in the process. It is crucial to note that Starr dealing with the passing of Khalil and breaking her silence isn’t easy at all, She grieves hard. At times she is outraged, others she’s depressed. Keep in mind that no one at Williamson knew that she knew Khalil yet. The interview at the police department is the first time she reveals what happens to Khalil and what pisses her off the most is that they ask questions only about Khalil which pisses her off and rightly so because she remembers what her father said before the funeral which was to not let them twist her words. She even points out to the investigators that they are looking for answers to justify Khalil’s death.

These events show that Williamson starr’s death evokes a change in Starr. Those who witness this change are Chris, Hailey, Maya, and her family. This change also lets Starr realize who her real friends are. Hailey is completely ignorant to the death of Khalil and the feelings of Starr. Once starr begins to post pics on her tumblr in relation to Khalil’s death, Hailey unfollows her marking the dissonance between the two. Unfortunately, Hailey can’t see that there are two sides to the issue of Khalil’s death. She can’t see past Khalil being a drug dealer, She can’t see why Khalil is another victim in the cycle of police brutality. Hailey’s response acts as another catalyst for Starr to speak up on Khalil’s death. Luckily, Starr has friends on her side. Maya overhears Hailey’s comments on Starr’s change and immediately checks Hailey. Maya understands that you can’t just eat the food the media gives you, you have to see the issue from every angle.

Then there’s Chris, another ally for Starr. Beyond romantics, you can see he truly cares for Starr through his efforts to comfort her. He constantly makes efforts to live in her world. Starr is in outrage when she sees that the day school’s off to protest Khalil’s death is only used to hangout and have fun. She storms off and Chris comes in to see why she’s angry, and comes to realize why himself. There isn’t a page in the story where Chris goes against Starr in any way, shape, or form. He shows true companionship by not wavering to Starr’s change.

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Starr’s journey has many obstacles to cross in the novel. Her Uncle is one of them. Uncle Carlos, whom she spent most of her life being raised by while her dad was in prison, tries to justify the actions of 115 to Starr in chapter 15. Then she asks a crucial question to Uncle Carlos. She asks if him and her were put into 115 and Khalil’s place, would he have shot her? He answers no. This event is a testament to Uncle Carlos’s character as someone who is very knowledgeable about the situation at hand, so much so that this chapter shows his dissonance on the topic.

Police brutality is a very sensitive topic but is definitely surging in today’s media as proof that there is a definitive inequality between people, especially the non-white demographic, and the police. People are beat up, strangled, and tackled for so much as standing in one place for too long. Starr, like many of the general public, is aiming to end that unjust way of monitoring the public. Khalil represents one of the many that are killed and forgotten by the police, he represents the Starr’s call to action, he represents one of the many reasons why the handling of police brutality and how it is handled in the court system itself violates our rights and our freedoms. To compare the rights of cops to the rights of the people in court is like looking at a seesaw. Angie Thomas brilliantly translates that issue into a story for all ages, ethnicities, and etc. The novel itself is a bold statement of hers because it does what a few public officials aren’t able to do which is acknowledge that police brutality does exist and that it is an unjust problem.

Maverick is another character in the story that ails Starr in finding her voice. He’s arguably her biggest motivation in the novel because even through childhood he taught Starr, Seven, and Sekani the Black Panther Ten Point Program but that event is only part of Maverick’s contributions to Starr’s development as a character. There’s a part in the book that does a wonderful job explaining why some communities have drug dealers. Maverick tells Starr, “You got folks like Brenda, who think they need them to survive, and then you got the Khalils who think they need to sell them to survive. The Brendas can't get jobs unless they're clean, and they can't pay for rehab unless they got jobs. When the Khalils get arrested for selling drugs, they either spend most of their life in prison, another billion-dollar industry, or they have a hard time getting a real job and probably start selling drugs again. That’s the hate they’re giving us, baby, a system designed against us. That’s ‘Thug Life.”(Thomas 168-169). This event not only teaches Starr why there are drug dealers in Garden Heights but it also tells the reader that there are two sides to the situation of police and the convicted. The news try their best to demonize those like Khalil when in reality, Not every situation that deals with the killing of a subject isn’t a black and white picture as some people believe. There’s a reason for every action, and put people in time out time and time again doesn’t do anything to prevent the crime. Offering alternatives would be a better way to end crimes.

Seven's vehicle comes up short on gas, so the teenagers leave the vehicle while they search for a corner store. As they approach the road where Khalil was killed, the youngsters discover a gathering of protestors reciting, 'A hairbrush isn't a weapon!' Ms. Ofrah remains on a squad car, driving the dissent. The police require the protestors to scatter. For a minute, Starr flashes back to Khalil's homicide, however transforms that torment into a boisterous yell. Ms. Ofrah heads toward Starr. She gets some information about the uproars on Magnolia, seeing DeVante's wounds, yet they console her he's alright. They tell Ms. Ofrah the Only Us for Equity office is alright as well. She says that regardless of whether it wasn't, it was only a structure. Ms. Ofrah inquires as to whether Lisa knows where she is. Starr lies, however Ms. Ofrah doesn't trust her. After Starr demands that she needs to accomplish something, Ms. Ofrah drives her to the front of the dissent.

Starr stammers, yet the group calls for Starr to talk. The police request the dissidents to leave. Starr presents herself and considers One-Fifteen a criminal. She yells at the police that until there's evidence that the police care about equity for dark individuals, dark individuals will continue challenging. She expresses that the reality Khalil lived could easily compare to how he kicked the bucket. The police give the protestors until the check of three to scatter. The group yells, 'Khalil lived!'. This event helps Starr find her voice by having the crowd of protestors support her in protest. Their support tells Starr that she’s in the right.

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The Hate U Give: Police Brutality against African Americans. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from
“The Hate U Give: Police Brutality against African Americans.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
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