Book response The Hate U Give

The hate U give

Angie Thomas

Starr Carter is a teenage African American that lives in two separate worlds. One of these worlds is the poor neighbourhood of Garden Heights where she has grown up with her family and the other is the posh prep school she attends. Starrs parents want to give her a life better than what her neighbourhood offers so they invest a lot of money into giving Starr a proper education. She finds it hard to balance between these two worlds as they are so different from one another, but this balance she tries so hard to maintain is completely broken when she witnesses her unarmed best friend, kahill get shot dead by a police officer. Being the only witness at the scene causes Starrs life to become busy with news networks and police. It’s amazing how much friction is built up when Khaill gets shot as it causes Starrs neighborhood to erupt into a violent protest for Justice. The novel is surprisingly in depth about real world issues and discusses many of the racial problems people face in the USA.


Despite this novel being fiction it taught me plenty about the world we live in because The Hate You Give tries very hard to keep things close to reality. This book is centered around the shooting of Kahill and how people reacted to it. Multiple protests were held by large groups of African Americans who called for justice, some of these protests were violent whilst others were people speaking up and demanding for something to be done. Many of the problems that occur in this book are based on actual events that happened. I am aware of the struggles African Americans have been through in the past at the hands of white people and within modern America there is still plenty of friction between the whites and blacks as there has never been resolutions to all the previous problems. This caused stigmas around how some people perceived blacks in USA which I will delve into later. The Hate U Give makes this friction between whites and blacks very clear when Starr is confronted by officer one fifteen,‘ “Hands on the dashboard!” the officer barks at me.“Don’t move” I do what he tells me, but my hands are shaking too much to be still” ’. Kahill and Starr get pulled over by officer one fifteen who tells them they have a broken taillight. When Kahill hesitates to cooperate with the cop officer one fifteen loses his cool and tells the two to wait by the car. As the officer has his back to them Kahill walks around the car to see how Starr is doing but that’s the moment he gets shot dead by the officer. Kahill was unarmed and the officer wasn’t being provoked in any noticeable way. It happens so quickly and feels so weird because there was such little build up to the shooting, it just happened. The shooting made me angry because I couldn’t understand why this man would pull the trigger on an innocent black teenager.  I am highlighting the fact that Kahill was indeed black because I strongly believe that if he were to of been white this event would of turned out very different.

The lesson.

The book is heavily centered around the shooting and how the results of it afflicted Starrs life. Shortly after the shooting Starr is asked if she would like to have an interview with the cops as it would help them understand the situation better and get another perspective. When Starr is interviewed about the night of the shooting the cops ask her multiple questions that slowly become less and less related to the matter at hand. Those questions being things such as if Starr knew Kahill sold drugs on the street. Starr never denies any of these questions but never admits she knew about them either. I found it upsetting that the cops were asking about questions unrelated to the shooting, especially ones that were asked in such a crafty way. The reason I find it upsetting is because its clear that the cops are trying to justify Kahills death with the association he had in selling drugs. I found it incredibly disrespectful for a number of reasons but the thing that resonated with me the most was how racist the cops were being. The cops are trying to make this look like a typical black drug dealer got shot and that officer one fifteen is actually the one who deserves praise. But in reality officer one fifteen shot the black teen because he presumed Kahill was going to threaten him. The cop didn’t question his actions, instead he presumed based off of a poorly misconceived stereotype. The cops in this novel are ill minded by making a tragedy look like a fortune and I have no respect for people that are liars because there is no justice in keeping the truth locked up.

Roughly a week later an update on the shooting appears on TV discussing how the victim was involved in selling drugs. The cops were only using Starr to manipulate what she said so they could tell a different story to the media. The story the cops told the media looks like this on the headlines, “Black Drug Dealer has been shot dead”. I find it absurd that the police find it acceptable to make Kahill look like the bad guy because in this novel the cops are really the bad guys. Firstly an officer shoots an unarmed black teen and then they are blinded in racism and go on to tell the media that Kahill was a threat. If I were Starr I would be absolutely furious with the cops and most certainly take a stand in the protests held for Kahill to show my support for what really matters. What I believe really matters is for everyone to be equal despite what Stats or the media tell us because the reality is not everyone in the USA is treated with the equality they deserve.

I want to further discuss the reason as to why Officer One Fifteen shot Kahill as I believe the reason why the officer presumed Kahill was a threat is vital in regards to the entire novel . When he shot Kahill it was unjustified and wrong but its important to understand why the cop pulled the trigger.  I am not trying to justify his actions for I am disgusted by the outcome his actions caused, I’m merely trying to express my opinion on where the stigma this cop has towards black people came from;which I believe falls onto Racial Profiling. This is when law enforcement suspects somebody of being associated with illegal activity without proper evidence and purely assuming so by their race. Racial profiling occurs everyday in the USA and unfortunately for Kahill it was the cause of his death. What Racial Profiling does is awful because it creates a fear in the people towards those they should trust, those being law enforcement in this situation. I also believe it isolates communities because they feel as if they have no protection.  These signs of racial profiling are made clear in the book as Starr Carter remembers what her dad told her to do in a situation with cops,‘ “Starr-Starr, you do whatever they tell you to do,” he said. “Keep your hands visible. Don’t make any sudden moves. Only speak when they speak to you.” I knew it must of been serious’. At a young age Starr was told how she must act if she ever had to deal with the cops. This struck me with anger and annoyance because there was only one clear reason why Starr was given this talk. That reason being that black people are racially profiled to such a level in some areas of USA that they need to take action to prevent or lessen any  incidents from occurring. I know none of my friends or myself were given a talk about this type of scenario and I completely understand why. However circumstances in New Zealand are rather different for we never had a history of racial segregation or black slavery tied to us. It’s unfortunate that families such as Starr’s have to take such precautions to prevent anything bad from happening to one another but it’s also their reality.

After the shooting there is very little written about the cop other than how his life has been a struggle ever since the incident. It’s hard to understand the cops point of view on the situation when so much of the novel focus on the family and friends of Kahill. We get some insight into the cops emotions and thoughts after the shooting in a brief interview with a news station. The cop tells the interviewers how he saw the situation, ‘ “And they kept glancing at each other, like they were up to something, Brian says that’s when he got scared, ‘cause the could have taken him down if they teamed up.” I couldn’t have taken anyone down, I was too afraid. He makes us sound like we are superhuman. We are kids.’  The reason officer one fifteen thought they could of taken him down is based off the stigmas. In his mind the officer truly believed that these kids were capable of taking him down. He was so convinced that Kahill and/or Starr were going to team up and ‘take him down’ that he took the matter into his own hands and shot the Black teenager that supposedly posed a threat. These actions were purely based of presumptions that lead to the death of an innocent black teenager. Though it is awful that we must learn from such tragic things in life they are also what allow us to learn and move forward. The only way for stigmas such as the ones I have discussed can be abolished and put in the past is if people become more accepting. If we were all respectful of peoples ways then there would be so much more acceptance in this world and people could be who they wished to be.  I am not saying that if someone is religious you should join their religion or if someone is from another country and talks differently to you that it is required for you to learn their culture. Just be respectful of their ways because everyone is tied to different backgrounds making us see the world in different ways. If someone comes along and tells you your way is wrong how do you think you’d react;I imagine you’d be annoyed and upset. This is why I believe we must look at everyone as their own unique self and be prepared for all the diversity we will encounter in life. 


The Hate U Give will make you question how we think as a society as there is plenty of thought provoking moments in this novel.  I won’t spoil the ending because it’s such a gripping novel that its truly worth finding out for yourself.  The book takes in depth looks into American society and how the blacks are treated over there. Despite this book being fiction is holds incredible value as it is written in such a honest way that reflects plenty abut the world we live. I highly recommend this to as much people as possible as it will open you up to the USA in ways you may of not seen it before. 



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