The Hate U Give is a young adult novel written by Angie Thomas, published on February 28, 2017, by Balzer + Bray. It tells the story of Starr Carter, a sixteen-year-old black girl who witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend Khalil by a white police officer. The novel addresses issues of race, police brutality, and social justice, and has been the subject of controversy since its publication. The book has been banned and challenged in several schools and libraries in the United States, prompting debates on censorship, freedom of speech, and the role of literature in addressing social issues.
Controversies and bans
The Hate U Give has been banned and challenged in several schools and libraries across the United States. In 2017, the book was banned by the Katy Independent School District in Texas after a parent complained about the book’s “vulgar” language and “anti-police” message. The district later reversed its decision after receiving backlash from students and advocates of free speech. The book was also banned by the Biloxi School District in Mississippi in 2018, but the decision was later reversed after protests from students, parents, and civil rights organizations.
In 2019, The Hate U Give was challenged by a parent in the Springfield School District in Pennsylvania, who argued that the book contained “inappropriate language” and “promoted anti-police views.” The district initially removed the book from its curriculum but later restored it after an appeal from the author and support from students and educators.
In 2020, the book was banned by the Newport-Mesa Unified School District in California after a parent complained about its “vulgar language” and “anti-police” message. The district later reversed its decision after facing criticism from students and civil rights organizations.
Reasons for controversy
The Hate U Give has been the subject of controversy for its portrayal of police brutality and its use of profanity. Some critics argue that the book promotes anti-police views and perpetuates a narrative of racial division. Others argue that the book is a necessary and important contribution to the national conversation on race and social justice.
In an interview with NPR, author Angie Thomas defended the book, stating that it is intended to start a conversation and encourage readers to think critically about issues of race and inequality. She argued that the book’s use of profanity is necessary to accurately portray the language and culture of the characters.
Supporters of the book argue that its portrayal of police brutality is based on real-life experiences of black Americans and reflects the ongoing struggle for social justice in the United States. They argue that the book provides a valuable perspective on the experiences of black youth and the impact of police violence on their lives.
Opponents of the book argue that its portrayal of police officers is unfair and perpetuates a negative stereotype of law enforcement. They argue that the book promotes an anti-police message that could lead to hostility and violence against police officers.
Debate on censorship and freedom of speech
The controversy surrounding The Hate U Give has sparked a debate on censorship and freedom of speech in schools and libraries. Supporters of the book argue that censorship of literature is a violation of free speech and a threat to academic freedom. They argue that students have the right to read and discuss controversial books and that such discussions are essential to their intellectual and moral development.
Opponents of the book argue that schools and libraries have a responsibility to protect children from harmful and offensive materials. They argue that the book’s portrayal of police officers is harmful and offensive to law enforcement personnel and that its use of profanity is inappropriate for young readers.
The Hate U Give has been the subject of controversy and debate since its publication in 2017. The book’s portrayal of police brutality and its use of profanity have led to bans