The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas Analysis
In the book, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, 16 year old Starr Carter battles the events that follow after her best friend is shot dead in front of her at the hands of the police. Notably, this novel is centered around gaining justice over the wrongful death of a black individual, and protesting against racial discrimination.
Through the exploration of stereotypes, Thomas argues that making assumptions based on race can lead to unfortunate events, which is important in society today because of the widespread acts of violence against people of color. When Starr and her friends are talking about Khalil, Hailey identifies Khalil as a drug dealer. After hearing this, Starr thinks to herself, “The drug dealer. That’s how they see him. It doesn’t matter that he’s suspected of doing it. “Drug dealer” is louder than “suspected” ever will be. If it’s revealed that I was in the car, what will that make me? The thug ghetto girl with the drug dealer?” (113). This quote shows how people of color are depicted to be criminals without knowing the complete truth.
The diction “Drug dealer” connotes crime, revealing that people made assumptions about Khalil solely based on his race. In particular, the underlying fact that he was suspected of dealing drugs was intentionally (by law enforcement) or unintentionally (by Starr’s friends) disregarded.
Furthermore, the diction “louder” connotes emphasis, bringing out how assumptions play a strong role in stereotyping a person. Moreover, this shows how a person’s racial background can lead to people making false inferences about that individual. Khalil will always be viewed as a drug dealer who was rightfully shot in a police encounter though there was not enough evidence against him. On Monday morning, Hailey and Maya try to confirm that Starr received the text about protesting Khalil’s death. Hailey says, “Yeah,” Hailey says, all giddy and shit. “Perfect timing too. I so did not study for that English exam. This is, like, the first time Remy actually came up with a good idea to get out of class. I mean, it’s kind of messed up that we’re protesting a drug dealer’s death, butー” (183). This quote shows how young individuals can take the opportunity to miss classes in the name of protesting for an individual's death who they hardly care about.
The diction “giddy” connotes happiness, revealing that in spite of someone’s death, Hailey doesn’t understand the seriousness of the situation. She is solely using the protest to get out of class, and doesn’t necessarily care about Khalil’s murder. Being white, Hailey believes whatever the police and media have disclosed to the public about Khalil’s death.
Furthermore, the diction “drug dealer” connotes violence, showing that Hailey views Khalil as a person of wrongdoing and believes his death was justified. She stereotyped Khalil as a drug dealer solely based on his race, and decided that his death was not worth protesting over. It reflects how the general public believes that the police encounters involving black individuals are reasonable.
Altogether, it comes down to the fact that people will always use stereotyping to justify the death of a person of color, no matter the circumstances. Ultimately, stereotypes can help build a false negative image about an individual of color, which would help justify wrongdoings against him/her.