“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” In many parts of the world, there is censorship of television, news, and even books. Although this seems far from home, this censorship isn’t as far away as we would think. It even affects schools in the United States. Recently in Katy, Texas, the book The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was banned because of the use of curse words and the “presumptive normalization of sexual activity.” The only thing censorship does is block off different perspectives, opinions, and experiences that are meant to strengthen your compassion and understanding of the world. The Hate U Give should be read in schools because of its relevance in today’s society, especially in the United States.
Just last year, Police killed 1,147 people in 2017. Black people were 25% of those killed despite being only 13% of the population. Turn to the news on any given day and you’ll probably hear about a black person, usually male, killed for doing something ordinary, like driving, sitting on a swing set , or holding a sandwich. This sparked a movement called Black Lives Matter, which peacefully protests the unjustified killings of many unarmed black people.Black Lives Matter is a plea for all of America to see black people as important and non violent human beings. The book not only empowers black individuals, but those of all colors and nationalities, to stand up for what they believe. The main character, Starr, is a character all people can relate to. She has the grammar of a teenager, and the voice of an adult.
One school in georgia banned this book because the school parents said it made them “uncomfortable.” Yes, The Hate U Give makes people uncomfortable. But that’s the point! You’re supposed to be unsettled when Starr talks about being the only black person in her private school. You’re supposed to be uneasy when she talks about the inequalities that still occur in the United States. You’re supposed to be horrified when she talks about the unjustified murder of her best friend. If you aren’t uncomfortable when you learn about injustice, you probably don’t feel called to do anything about it. If we’re not uncomfortable, it’s really easy to look the other way and pretend not to see how society forces people to suffer simply for being who they are and living in the skin they were born in.
Those who feel awkward or uncomfortable about this topic should to pick up this book, feel the pains and joys of black people, find where they connect and where they differ and ultimately join the fight for equality.