Banned Book Highlight: “The Hate U Give”

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. (Andrea Klepper | Collegian Media Group)

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, the K-State Book Network’s 2018-2019 Common Read, has been banned and challenged becasue it features elements of police brutality, profanity, racism, drug use and violence.

“The Hate U Give” tells the fictional story of Starr Carter, a 16-year-old African American girl, who is caught between two worlds: the world of the affluent school she attends and the world of the crime-ridden neighborhood of Garden Heights where she lives.

The two worlds viciously collide in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Starr’s childhood friend by a cop. When the events of the night come into question, Starr must decide whether she will use her voice to fight against injustice or remain silent.

Thomas’s novel is a good starting point for conversations about controversial issues, but these same topics have also caused concerns that it may be inappropriate for youth, leading to its appearance on 2017 list of top ten challanged books from the American Library Association.

Since it was first published in January of 2017, “The Hate U Give” has been banned from several school libraries. In 2017, a school district in Katy, Texas, banned “The Hate U Give” from their libraries, prompting widespread pushback within the district.

Because of the ban, so many people who wanted to read the book that libraries in the surrounding area keeping up with the demand.

“The Hate U Give” is an honest, compelling portrayal of events that will likely continue to affect our society. Angie Thomas has provided a perspective that has captivated and enthralled readers across the country.

But despite the novel’s vast popularity, it is not enough. We cannot solve issues such as violence, police brutality, and racism by ignoring their existence in society.

Progress can be difficult and uncomfortable. It can be challenging and daunting. By confronting these controversial issues and bringing them to people’s attention, we will be able to learn from mistakes made in the past, so we can avoid the same results in the future.

“The Hate U Give” can be one starting point, but only if it is accessible to those who wish to read it. Let’s not take that choice away from them. Support and protect the freedom to read.

Haley Reiners is a sophomore in English. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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