The Hate U Give Causes Viewers to Reflect on Race

Movie examines police brutality and how different communities experience life

The Hate U Give, directed by George Tillman Jr, is about a teenage girl named Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) who lives in a predominantly black neighborhood with gangs, drugs, and high crime rates. She goes to a school called Williamson Prep, which is affluent and predominantly white. The school is not too different from Blake. Starr has to code switch, subtly changing behavioral or linguistic mannerisms, almost seamlessly between the two drastically different environments every single day.

One day, her world is shattered. She is in the car with her friend Khalil, a young black man, when he is pulled over and fatally shot by a police officer. The film follows Starr, her family, and her community through the aftermath of the shooting.

The performances by Amandla Stenberg, Russell Hornsby, Regina Hall, Lamar Johnson, and the rest of the cast were emotional, raw, and real. But more importantly, it addresses difficult themes like race, police brutality, and code-switching.

This movie is important, especially Blake, which is majority white and has mostly affluent students. It can help people realize that they never can truly know how another person’s experiences have shaped their point of view by showing contradictions between the way members of the black community and members of the white community experience police brutality. People in the movie, especially white people, justify the killing of an unarmed black man because he was “a drug dealer” even though there was no actual proof of this, or because he was supposedly “threatening” the officer by simply asking to be told why he got pulled over. The issue goes deeper than this though, and the movie recalls the history of these killings, going all the way back to the lynching of Emmett Till, an innocent 14-year-old black boy who was murdered in 1955. It covers that fact that black people get targeted more and accused more harshly of crimes that they may or may not have committed.

These stereotypes and hate-filled stigmas are what the title of the movie addresses. Tupac Shakur said that THUG LIFE is an acronym for “The Hate U Give Little Infants F––s Everybody.” This means that children are immersed in the hate that fills our world, and as these children grow, it will affect their actions. Starr’s younger brother, 7-year-old Sekani, is a perfect example of Tupac’s THUG LIFE as the child reacts to his complicated world throughout the movie.

At Blake, we gossip, generalize, and do a lot of awful things to our classmates and peers. Take an extra moment and think about how your actions can have an effect on the people and world around you. THUG LIFE is not just limited to children and infants. Teens and Adults see the hate and can pass it on as well. Every person has a unique experience on this Earth and it is incredibly important to simply be kind as often as possible.