Have you ever been looking at Black Lives Matter posts or current events posts where yet another innocent black person has been gunned down by police, and thought that you wished non-black POC and white people could just understand what it’s like from the perspective of a black person?
Do you read Black Lives Matter posts and current events posts and find yourself shocked and confused by the situation, wishing you could understand how those involved must be feeling?
Or do you perhaps read them and wonder what all the fuss is even about? Maybe you recognize that it’s sad, but you don’t quite understand why everyone is so up in arms over it?
If any of these things apply to you, I encourage you to get your hands on a copy of ‘The Hate U Give‘ by Angie Thomas.
‘The Hate U Give’ is a story from the point of view of a young black girl, Starr, who sees her friend, Khalil, get shot and killed by police officers. Starr struggles with what she has seen and with her life as someone straddling to worlds — a suburban high school where she works hard to not be seen as “ghetto” and the poor community that is her home.
I know there are some who would be deterred by the subject matter, thinking it too heavy or serious, or perhaps just thinking that this isn’t the type of book they typically enjoy. To you I implore: Please read it anyway. It is a YA novel, so it won’t take a very long time, and the subject is so important for everyone to read and understand.
Personally I try to stay away from books I know will make me sad, because books are my escape, but in this case I will be reading the book when it comes out regardless. I already support BLM and abhor the actions of police officers who senselessly murder black people, but being Latina (and sometimes white passing, at that), I still can’t completely understand the struggle of black people in my country because our struggles will always be inherently different (despite some similar problems).
Black people please encourage your white and non-black POC friends to read this novel, as well. As anyone who has tried to explain the problems faced by black people to others has realized, no amount of facts and figures can change someones mind if they cannot empathize with the people affected. And how better to create empathy than to experience it through the eyes of a black person going through it? I also think people will more readily engage with the protagonist and her point of view because it is a fictional group of characters, although readers should remember that the subject matter is entirely real and these characters are fictional representations of real people all over the country.
‘The Hate U Give’ will be released February 28th with both hardback and kindle editions. The movie rights have also already been bought by Fox with Amandla Stenberg (Hunger Games, Rue) set to play Starr.