The Hate U Give (THUG) a film adaptation of Angie Thomas’ novel directed by George Tillman Jr., challenges viewers to question the roots of structural inequality and violence, portraying the story of an African-American teenage girl who struggles with racial identity after experiencing an incident of police brutality.
The main character Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) lives in a predominantly black neighborhood that has been overtaken by violence and crime lords, but attends a privileged, mainly white private school called Williamson. Carter acts differently between these two worlds to try to fit in, battling with her racial identity. When she witnesses her innocent childhood friend get shot by a police officer, she has to face the aftermath and struggle with institutionalized racism in the unjust society.
Throughout history and recently, police brutality towards people of color has been a prominent issue in American society. According to NBC News, “African-Americans died at the hands of police at a rate of 7.2 per million, while whites are killed at a rate of 2.9 per million.”
THUG reveals many critical aspects of police brutality racism, including the more subtle ones, such as ignorant racist views and media bias demonizing black victims. The most prominent theme in the movie however was the takeaway of the cycle of racism and police brutality, and how society forces people of color into situations that do not provide helpful opportunities. It showed how violence circles around and stems into the youth.
Students at the privileged school of Williamson also take actions seeming to support people of color, but instead represent ignorant racism that shows an important perspective: not only is it the people blatantly saying they hate people of color who are racist, it is also people that hold pre-existing judgements about them and pretending to care when they don’t.
Yet, despite the movie’s depth in illustrating the perspective of oppression in black people, its portrayal of racism is not one sided. The film shows that systemic racial prejudices aren’t limited to white people but rather permeate every aspect of society, such that even people of color end up acting in anti-black and racist ways.
This movie provides a brutally honest perspective on people of color and police brutality and should be seen everywhere, especially in places with people ignorant about racism. Overall, the movie was brilliantly crafted to represent an accurate view on racism, and its poignant scenes and actors will empower people to speak out against oppression and garner awareness around police brutality.
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong,” Carter said. “The key is to never stop doing right”