“The Hate You Give” and Black History Month

Brianna Cruz, Reporter

“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re going to be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”

“The Hate You Give,” asks this important question. As we are now in the middle of Black History Month, it is significant to keep asking ourselves these types of questions. “The Hate You Give” by Angie Thomas is a gripping novel about racism. It tells a story that so many people experience while also bringing attention to the inequality that is prevalent in society.

Starr Carter has trouble balancing the two worlds she inhabits: the primarily white school she attends and the impoverished neighborhood she lives in. A protagonist that feels out of place, she witnesses a close friend die as the result of police brutality. 

This event causes Starr to face injustices head-on: She speaks out at the officer’s trial and participates in protests. While the officer does not face any consequences after the trial, Starr keeps fighting for justice. This book constantly emphasizes the need to speak out. For example, Tupac’s phrase “Thug Life” is featured in the story several times. Starr’s father interprets that this phrase expresses a system intended to be prejudicial towards Black communities. He further explains that they must speak out to make a change.

This is what  Black History Month is about. While speaking out is often thought of as a year-round process, this month reminds all communities to unite against injustices. Black History Month highlights the central role and achievements of African Americans in the fight against inequality. Martin Luther King Jr, for example, fought for African American rights. Books and months, like “The Hate You Give” and Black History Month, help remind people to never give up.

A sign is held up during a BLM protest in downtown Jacksonville.
A sign is held up during a BLM protest in downtown Jacksonville. (Justin Nedrow)

Although history is littered with inequality, the youth of the present and future hope to do better. UNF — similar to other colleges — incorporates activities and groups to raise awareness of the injustices African Americans face and build a sense of community. For example, the Black Student Union is hosting an event called the Black Excellence Expo on Feb. 25 to shine a spotlight on African diaspora education and entertainment. 

While life for African Americans is not picture-perfect, evident by “The Hate You Give,” books and events that speak out against social injustices help individuals examine their choices and will hopefully lead to better decisions. Black History Month and “The Hate You Give” encourage the fight for justice and highlight the significance of African American individuals. Both want to see equality for all.


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