The Hate You Give is a revolutionary narrative that tackles various social issues today all stemming from the ugly root that is police brutality. Stemming from police brutality, this novel connects the plight of a low income neighborhood in which gang violence is prevalent, however, the insight this novel gives into the lives of those within this neighborhood makes you fully understand the constant cycle of disenfranchisement leading to crime that is so widespread through these neighborhoods.
Starr Carter is the product of having been brought up in Garden Heights, though she has been a witness to both of her childhood best friends murders, one by drive by when she was 10 and one by cop as a 16 year old, she still manages to find her voice and speak for Khalil as he was silenced senselessly by police brutality.
Starr navigates coping with the loss of the person who knew her before her innocence was stripped by the police shootings, speaking up and testifying in seeking justice for Khalil, dealing with the breakdown of the division between who she is in Garden Heights and who she is at her mainly white affluent school and dealing with threats from the biggest drug dealer in town.
There are many moving parts in this ever-changing narrative that are all products of disenfranchised low income neighborhoods. Every character plays a key role in the storyline, Starr’s parents, Big Mav, a former gang banger and Lisa who wants nothing more than to get her family out of Garden Heights represent the cycle that comes out of poverty in low income neighborhoods.
After the shooting the media paints Khalil in a negative light putting more emphasis on the fact that he sold drugs instead of the fact that a police officer killed him in cold blood. Starr made a good point when she said it’s like they put Khalil on trial instead of the murderer , like the fact that he was a drug dealer makes him any less of a person with a life, a family and a story. Starr's voice is a force as she becomes an activist facing the media and painting Khalil as she knew him, the uncorrupt Khalil who did nothing wrong.
These ill fated grievances all to familiar like those of Trayvon Martin, Antwon Rose and Tamir Rice, all teens whose lives have been taken by those who are supposed to protect us. All of which had no justice while murderers walk free. Why would this case with Khalil be any different.
This narrative dutifully portrays what happens time and time again when young black males in this age group are brutalized and harassed by the police. The media always, without fail find something, anything to dig up to demonize the victim. Whatever these children did in the past doesn't matter. What matters is the life that was stripped from them, the innocence taken from them, they’re light stolen from them.
Symbolism evveloped its pages that made it even more riveting, even the title has a hidden meaning derived from Tupac Shakurs' belief in THUG LIFE, which can be seen through multiple lenses, as a reckless lifestyle or as Tupac believed THUG LIFE means "The Hate U Give Little Infants F--ks Everyone". This anagram becomes a theme throughput the novel because, as Khalil put it, "what society gives us comes back to bite them in the ass when we wild out". Which is exactly what happens in Garden Heights as a result of Khalil's murder, the community has been force fed police brutality and injustice for years and now is being brought to light and the community has had enough and is fighting back in Khalil's name. Perhaps "roses growing from concrete" is among my favorite metaphor representing the characters.
This book spoke to me and made me see a new perspective that many people in low income communities get involved in a world of crime in order to make money because they’re are no proper jobs in the neighborhood that can help to feed a family, the schools in the neighborhood set these children up for failure, and many of the teens have terrible role models and those who do have success have gained it through gang-banging. The life choices that people in low income communities have to make in order to survive and have a glimpse of success.
The Hate U Give is a book that transcends all walks of life, I think everyone needs to read this. to catch a glimpse and really understand where the other side is coming from. I truly believe that if more people today read this book there would be less bigots in this world that are okay with seeing the injustice unfold in the world we live in.