Posts Tagged With: angie thomas

Diversity: Angie Thomas – The Hate U Give

32613366Holy damn. No, but really. Why didn’t I get this book sooner? “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas (ISBN 1406372153; 438p; Goodreads) puts a crown on my this year’s reads. It’s definitely the best contemporary book I have ever read. I wish there was more, but what could top this?

Starr already had a pretty complicated life. Attending a school where she and a couple more students were the only black people around, she felt pressure acting more like the people around her did, to avoid the whole “black girl from the hood” stereotype getting attached. At home she hurried to shake that all off, to not seem lame, because, really! Add regular teenage problems to that, and there you have it. But all that falls to dust in one night. Her life, and the life of her whole community fall apart as her childhood friend get brutally murdered with several shots to the back by a police officer. He stopped them for no real reason, got irritated over the smallest things, dragged Khaleel out of the car, and as he bent to ask terrified Starr if she’s okay – he shot him in the back. Over, and over, and over.

“Thug”, “dealer”, “gangbanger” are all epithets Khaleel’s name get changed with. Even the seemingly most sympathetic people are more affected by the officer’s father slobbering over the television of what a hard time his son is having over this “human mistake”, as if Khaleel was less. After all, Khaleel was indeed a dealer, so he would’ve died anyway, one gangbanger less, right? But Starr knows the truth behind the name, she knows the boy behind the titles, and slowly, being pushed by anger and injustices, even if discouraged by threats officers make on her, she speaks up. After all, she has the support of her family, and her wonderfully united community. And so the story of protests turned to riots turned to war zone begin.

I can’t begin telling you how good, and how important this book is. At time I’d forget I’m reading fiction, for it seems it’d be enough to change a title, change a name, and you’d recognize the people. I hope to someone this book will be an eye-opener. I can only give it 5 out of 5, and recommend.

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Friday: Diversity // Race

People of Color, different races. My language lacks words to describe “other” races, but we’ll see how it goes with English.

One of currently most visible books with a black person as main hero is Angie ThomasThe Hate U Give”, a.k.a. Thug. The title is probably self-explanatory, and I don’t need to add anything to it. I didn’t plan to read it, really, haven’t heard all that much good about it, until I actually started looking into things. Then BookTube happened, and now I know I need to read it. At the very least to educate myself a bit on this, because let’s face it, my country couldn’t be whiter, I’ve no idea what racism really is, but I sure as hell should learn, being a different kind of minority.

So here’s three reviews that stuck with me, and why:


This young woman here missed the race point completely. She constantly questions it: why is it about the race? Why do you hate officers? So your black friend was shot because he’s black, from a bad neighborhood and it’s a tragedy? It’d be a tragedy if he wasn’t black just the same! – Which is not the case. Yes, it would be a tragedy. But the case lies in a different question: would he have been shot if he was a white guy? Rather, as we constantly see on tv and news media, he would’ve been properly apprehended, questioned, and most likely released. It happens all the damn time, where people of color, different race, are labeled thugs, terrorists, murderers – damn white rapists, terrorists, hate-filled scum walk among us, charged and released. So my own point here is this: be aware.

iLivieforbooks tells about the balance: the need to adjust when you’re a black kid from primarily black neighborhood, and go to a primarily white school. She also touches the previously mentioned subject: Starr friend was shot, because he was a black guy from a bad neighborhood, and touches a different edge of the same truth. People are not allowed to grieve their lost ones, because all the while they’re bombarded with half a country yelling: he probably deserved it anyway. I like that she mentioned interracial dating too, I always found that curious, and she shone some insight.
Two Worlds: black neighborhood, and white “neighborhood” – the school. And while we are accidentally told that the characters might just very well be aliens, Problemsofabooknerd barely contains herself telling us of characters, how they are, what are their personalities, and how they fill each other out. Then she touches another important subject: White privilege. I admit, I myself wasn’t aware of having such for a very long while, and only recently I started to notice things. Truth is this: when you live in a super white country, with black people number so small you could count them on your two hands, you don’t know what you have, because you simply have nothing to compare it to. Or you tell yourself that. A few years back I watched the news, and they spoke of gypsy communities, which we do have here, and they are treated poorly, for reasons, or no reasons. And I realized a very simple, but very true fact: okay, so I can’t get a job in my damn town. But if there was a spot, and there stood I, aiming, say, at waiter job, no prior experience, and a gypsy woman, with plenty of prior experience: I would get hired. Because, as a white person, I get the benefit of the doubt, and that’s the biggest, fattest privilege anyone can ever ask for.

So these are my three muses who “told” me to read this book. Each one of them is important, whether their review was good, bad, or biased (NOT IMPLYING ANYTHING). As Philip DeFranco keeps repeating us: we must have a conversation, and we must educate ourselves. Hate without a reason means only one thing, that you chose to be ignorant. And in an age of information being under our fingertips – it has no excuse.

 

Categories: Friday: Diversity | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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