In The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, an important and serious topic is learned. The protagonist, Starr Carter, must face a world of racism, inequality and police brutality. She needs to conceal the fact from her classmates and friends that she lives in one of the poorest places in the city, Garden Heights. Starr is also confronted with two major issues. She has to deal with the fatal shooting of her childhood friend, Khalil, and she also has to deal with racial issues between her African American community and the white community of her city. Starr shows determination, justice, and courage throughout the events in the story and stands up to inequality.
At the beginning of the book, we see Starr as an outgoing, friendly person. But after the death of Khalil, we see her change. Starr had lost her best friend when a police officer pulled them over for nothing, she immediately sees this as inequality. She becomes determined to tell the world and the other people in the city about Khalil’s death and how the police mistreated the situation. As the conflict brews, the police officer who shot Khalil reveals his side of the story. The officer, Brian Cruise, says he shot Khalil as an act of defence, saying that Khalil took out a gun and threatened him. But all Khalil did was ask Starr if she was okay and take out a hairbrush. This leads to a riot, with the chat “a hairbrush is not a gun.” Starr also shows determination when she speaks up in front of the police, when she is interviewed, she lies and says that “I’d ask him if he wished he shot me too.” (Thomas, 286) She also speaks up during a riot, when she reveals her identity as the witness of Khalil’s death, angering the police.
Starr also represents her ethnicity and her neighbourhood by standing up to people who talk about the rumour that Khalil was a notorious drug dealer. This can be shown when news stations started spreading rumours that Khalil was a drug dealer, and officer Cruise was doing the right thing. Starr talks about this during her interview, but she also points out that Khalil was “just a kid” (282). Her friend Hailey does not know anything that happened, she only knew that Khalil was once a drug dealer, and is angry when Starr defends him and calls her racist for unfollowing her on Tumblr. This was because Hailey did not want to see “all the ‘black stuff’ … it’s not like the first …” (247). Another friend, Maya, who is of Asian descent, tells Starr of the time Hailey insulted her family by asking if they ate a cat, “because we’re Chinese” (248). Hailey briefly snaps back, telling Starr that “It’s not my fault you can’t get over what happened to Khalil” (337) and Khalil “was going to up dead anyways” (337), a huge fight breaks out, ending the friendship.
Inequality does not just happen to the minorities, inequality can be shown in lie detector tests and fingerprint evidence. Even though the saying goes that no two people have the same fingerprints, Brandon Mayfield proved this wrong. In 2004, Mayfield was wrongly accused of being the perpetrator of the Madrid Train Bombing, even though his fingerprint only one of 20 prints similar to the ones found in Madrid. Lie detector tests were also proven to be phoney, as they measure if you are lying by looking at your heart rate and secretion of sweat. Over a few decades, numerous criminals were proven innocent when they remained calm while taking the tests. In the book, Starr is interviewed in both the police station and a live interview. In the police station interview, the detectives and the officers all know what role Starr played in the shooting, and to cover up the interview from the media, the police refuse to reveal Starr’s name. It was only until the live interview when people saw who she really was. This also startled her boyfriend, Chris, who happened to be watching the interview and had not known that Starr was the witness.
The Hate U Give is a book with deep meanings inside, the author wrote this book when she heard about the death of a 22-year-old African American man for arguing on a train, this shows that some people still haven’t put the past behind them. Just like Hailey when she asked if Maya’s family ate a cat, or when boys in Dragonwings by Laurence Yep sang racist songs. Words that have deep meaning slip out of people’s mouths, thinking it is only a joke. But a true friend would know how their words impact other people’s lives and would consider what they would want to say.