The Hate U Give Book Review

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Damn. My first thought as I delved into the book I got whilst shopping with friends.

The Hate U Give

T     H      U  G     Thug.

This book, written by Angie Thomas, was the best book I’ve read-maybe in my entire life. Besides the fact that this book was incredibly written, has great wording and descriptions, plus makes real connections with the emotions that the main character feels, this book will make you feel things, I can promise you that. This book should make you want to get up and scream for justice!

THUG follows 16-year-old Starr Carter as she struggles to keep her two lives separate. Her life in Garden Heights, her ‘black’ neighbourhood, and her life at Williamson, the, mainly white, private school she goes to. She finds herself at a party with her friend, who she hasn’t spoken to in months, Khalil Harris. When cops try to break up the party, Khalil says he’ll drive her out of there, and they never quite make it home.

Khalil gets fatally shot by a white police officer while he was unarmed and simply cooperating, and Starr’s two worlds collide forever. People at Williamson constantly talk about him, unaware of the companionship he and Starr had in her early childhood. The people of the neighbourhood wouldn’t even talk to Starr about him, yet riots would break out on the streets. A movement.

The Hate U Give is a phenomenal punch to the gut of those who fight against Black Lives Matter. It really exemplifies what it’s like to be one of the only people of colour in a primarily white school with such raw emotion and in depth detail. “I’m cool by default because I’m one of the only black kids here.” or another great quote which I personally relate to on a whole new level, “Funny how it works with white kids though. It’s dope to be black until it’s hard to be black.” 

This book screams for social justice and equality for all, with an echo of the pride Starr has at the end of the book for her race. This book is all about teaching people that everyone deserves to live, that there is another side of the story that the media won’t tell, that no matter what there will always be that one person to drag you down but it doesn’t matter because you will have at least one more person to bring you all the way up to the clouds to get you away from the one person who’ll drag you down. It talks about how you will always be seen as a certain thing, like Star was seen as ‘the witness’ ‘the black kid’ ‘Big Mav’s daughter’ and many other things, until at the end she sees herself as a powerful young woman, with a hopeful future in activism, she is seen as Starr.

This novel is a must read for any teenager, young adult, adult, elder, absolutely anyone, no matter your race, sexuality, gender, or age, get your hands on this book as soon as you can!

Khalil, while talking about what Tupac has said and his current relevance, said, “Listen! The Hate U-the letter U-Give Little Infants F**ks Everybody, T-H-U-G  L-I-F-E. Meaning what society gives us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out.” And if what we give kids in their youth affects how they act when they’re older and how they impact the world, then we should give them this book as soon as we can, or at least teach them even a sliver of what this book can teach others.

I’ve always said that us minorities can scream until our throats are bleeding and we can’t scream anymore, but those with the privilege can whisper and be heard better than us, and this book proves that in an insanely amazing way. This book will truly inspire you to take action, and you’ll be forever glad that you read it.

 

Dear White People: Is Your Reverse Racism Really Racism?

 

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It’s realistic and honest to admit that not everyone holds the same views when it comes to any section of social justice. Some are more extreme than others, some more moderate, and this is generally considered acceptable and okay. As Americans, we can express our opinions without censorship of any kind, a freedom that can bring out both the best and the worst. An example of the latter would be the obnoxious, hateful opinions that bleed into public forum simply to generate a great deal of controversy. One of the biggest and possibly most distasteful disagreements is the concept of white racism, also referred to as reverse racism. It is, in most blatant terms, what happens when a white person is so engrossed in their privilege that when someone of color is treated with the same respect and equality as they are, they feel as if someone is attempting to knock them off of their racial pedestal. It’s this childish train of thought that has constrained the white American into belittling the struggles of those who face racism every breathing moment of their lives. It is the unicorn of social justice; we have people who cling stubbornly to the idea of it despite its lack of solid proof of it actually existing. 

Before you open your mouth to disagree with me, just let me say this; my intention is not to say that prejudice against white people cannot exist. It does, on occasion. Racial minorities are not immune to being racist against other racial minorities either, and evidence shows this. However, that is not the point I am trying to get across. White prejudice is real, I will admit it, but it is a trivial issue in comparison to authentic racism. Prejudice and racism are not interchangeable words, as they mean quite different things and carry quite different weights. Prejudice is a small aspect of racism, so one can innocently make this mistake. This is something to keep in mind if you, a white person, feel you are being handled in a manner you deem as “racist”, because you may be experiencing prejudice, not legitimate racism. If this crosses your mind, stop and ask yourself, “do I really understand what racism means?”.

If we want to have a much firmer grasp of this concept, we would have to look first at the concrete definition of racism itself. The most common definition, as quoted directly from the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”. If you still believe that this definition fits your idea of “reverse racism”, I urge you to look closer. You missed that it stated, “based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”. To briefly shift our focus from America to Europe, white history consists of a multitude of instances where Europeans conquered native people, such as those in North America and Africa, and committed acts of genocide and violence with the flimsy excuse that they were deemed uncivilized, and, to shift back to our United States of America,  we also have the glaring cases of African slavery deeply ingrained in our American history; this is racism in its most basic, primitive form. Yet it is also critical to mention that this isn’t the entire assemblage of what racism really means. There are countless aspects of it; it is not a simple concept that can be understood by definition alone. We have systematic, economic, social, and historical prospects to take into account.

It’s these elements that shape the futility of white racism. A white person does not have to struggle to get work because of their race, or have to worry about facing racial violence while on the street, or worry about being pulled over and facing brutality at the hands of a racist policeman, or worry about being randomly selected at an airport and being inhumanely searched, or facing an unfair sentence at trial based on a false accusation because of their skin color. Every day you hear tragedy after tragedy of racial violence, but very few of these victims are white. You cannot discuss racism without bringing these components on the table.

To accompany this idea of reverse racism, we have these same white voices that gripe over their assumed racism also gripes over the Black Lives Matter movement and Black History Month and other similar concepts. What they don’t understand is that the white community doesn’t need a month or a movement to “celebrate” its alleged greatness; the dominant anecdote you hear, whether it is historical or fictional, is routinely white. Our history books are drenched in it, our TV shows and movies soaked in it, our books and magazines submerged in it; America bares its whiteness so vigorously, it leaves the colors behind. This why people of color celebrate when one of their own makes a modeling career, or appears in a film, or is written inside of a fictional story because this is an anomaly in our whitewashed America. White people don’t need a group to protest against violence because there is no continuous string of slaughter against them for being white. They own white privilege with their tone of skin, one that not any other race can say the same too.

Here is the bottom line; white racism cannot exist because racism is rooted in oppression and hate-filled racial intolerance, a situation that white people have historically never been up against. White people have been the oppressors and the ones in power. Theoretical “racism against whites” does not hold the same weight as the genocides, sexual violence, and the manipulative behavior that were exercised throughout the imperial ages of Europe and later the United States by white settlers and imperialists. Racism against white people cannot exist because white privilege exists. This is their protection badge, their get out of jail free card that those of color cannot obtain because our system tips itself towards white privilege time and time again. There is a whopping 48.4% of hate crimes committed in 2015 where the perpetrator was white, and that number has only continued to increase dramatically, with not a single finger lifted to fix it. The KKK doesn’t exist for shits and giggles; it is in itself the personification of white racism, with its website open for the public to access at its leisure. White people have power, and it is needlessly abused. People who use their whiteness for activism and to raise the voices of those who have been silenced again and again should be a radiant standard of how to use privilege, instead of to tear others down. If you are going to take anything away from this, please let it be this; your power is a privilege of its own, and I advise you to use it for the good of others for their sake and, in a way, your own. Being white doesn’t make you a wicked person, being a racist person does.

 

Racism In The Queer Community

LGBTQ+ representation has grown massively in the last ten years. There is no denying that in today’s’ western society we have come far in terms of agenting love that isn’t traditionally heteronormative. As wonderful as this is, the representation tends to focus on able bodied, cisgender white males. There is a stereotype for gay men that is yet to be challenged in mainstream media. Just like in any group of people, there is more than one type of person living within it which isn’t realised, in many cases, by 21st Century inhabitants.

Queer love shown on TV to bring ‘diversity’ to the shows is so likely to be between two impossibly good looking white men with ripped bodies, one of them playing a more  campy, overdone effeminate ‘gay best friend’ character. The other tends to be a hyper masculine guy with intense muscles, showcasing the two extremes of gay stereotypes. If there is a show or film with a gay character in, they are rarely the main character or play a powerful role, like a CEO or any type of leader. If anything they are a b*tchy personal assistant with pursed lips and high cheekbones, drinking lattes in high fashion outfits. If there is a black gay character, he is once again the sassy gay best friend personality, playing to the stereotypes where, like before, he is in a position where he has no significant power or authority.

As a young queer teen myself, I was constantly looking for shows and films that could validate my feelings. At the time, the Netflix ‘LGBT section’ was somewhat limited and I found myself re watching the same films about white boys falling in love. To contradict myself however, films like Moonlight and the channel 4 series of Cucumber, Tofu and Banana have been big steps in achieving suitable representation that shows off real diversity within the LGBTQ+ body. There IS some representation out there for communities of minorities but work should be done to be more inclusive to the many types of people living within the queer world. It isn’t just ethnicity representation that should be recognised either. Disabled, transgender, bisexual, Muslim, intersexual and many more groups are failing to be represented as their respective communities and the queer folk within them.

The terms ‘no femmes, no Asians, no blacks’ is a phrase that comes up a lot. It is most likely to be found on a Grindr account, or any page looking for gay relationships/hook-ups. There is a line between preference and racism, in my opinion ‘no blacks, no Asians’ no favours the latter. Even as a young female, who is not yet able to join such popular sites, I have seen the term been tossed around far too casually. When you actually dissect the phrase what are they saying? They are eliminating entire races and types of people as if they are too good for them. As if they are not worthy of the likely average sex the likely average guy has to offer. To group whole races and assume they are all the same is outdated and seems reserved for conservative thinkers. Queer people can be mistook for liberals, a believable theory however not always so true. In the last US election, presidential elect Donald Trump boasted that he had LGBT supporters, who turned out to unsurprisingly be made up of a majority of white men. Rich, white men. Men that create racist, sexist, islamophobic statements…whilst claiming to be liberals. Milo Yiannopoulos is the perfect candidate for this title. A far-right, British media personality who, whilst being openly gay, furiously supports the republican party, is a strong opponent for the Black Lives Matter movement but claims that he can’t be racist because of  “the intimate relationships he is easily able to strike with African American individuals”  He also sells hoodies reading ‘feminism is cancer’ titling himself a second wave feminist and calling women ‘common prostitutes’.  The way he peddles hatred and offensive material yet is still a supposed ‘representative’ for the gay community is sad. He represents nothing the community stands for, which is, in my eyes, generally and simply equality and love between all people.

The whole truth is that the LGBTQ+ Community is more than just able bodied white folk. It is a beautifully diverse community full of people from all ethnicities, body abilities, backgrounds, heritage, body types and genders. There are There should be more media focusing on other parts of the community, like Muslim, Latino, Trans and disabled people living within the body. In the first world we have come far in showing women in positions on power in adverts and TV. I can only hope we are not far off doing the same for queer people.