Free Essay for You: Racism in the Novel - The Hate U Give

Published: 2022-12-02
Free Essay for You: Racism in the Novel - The Hate U Give
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Racism Black lives matter The Hate U Give
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1160 words
10 min read

The Hate U Give was written by Angie Thomas, in which the main story surrounds a young teenage girl who is faced with racism all around her, as it also aims at tackling the sociology of racism. One such angle is racial discrimination (Clair & Denis, 2015). There are other topics within the novel, such as police brutality and black people activism, which take place when police murder her black friend. However, for this analysis, the main topic is on both institutional and interpersonal racism and how it influences our society. For any reader to understand how the main character - Starr Carter - is caught in this web of segregation, we need to understand her background and her environment.

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As mentioned earlier, the novel revolves around the story of a young sixteen-year-old named Starr Carter. The story introduces us to Carter when she goes to a party in her neighborhood with her friend, Kenya. "I shouldn't have come to this party." (Thomas 2017: 7). This statement introduces the reader to an uncomfortable situation which Carter was going through. The main reason behind her feeling this way was because ever since she started attending William Prep, she felt out of place. This was because her school was primarily white. Her neighborhood - Garden Heights - also felt the same, which explains why she felt out of place.

The story is built around a particular scenario that takes part shortly after Carter begins to feel out of place at the party. Carter's friend Kenya goes off with some of her other friends, leaving Carter alone and feeling out of place. In the process, she comes across her childhood best friend, Khalil Harris. As the two catch up, a gang fight erupts, and gunshots are heard, which automatically disrupt the party. Khalil offers to take Carte home, but unfortunately, this would be the last time these two would be spending time together. After the two leave the party, they are pulled over by an officer with the badge number one-fifteen. As expected, Khalil questions the reason for the stop, but the police officer orders him to get out of the car. He also conducts a search on him and orders him not to move, but when Khalil opens the door to check on Carter, the police officer shoots and kills Khalil. It is at this point that we are first introduced to the height of racism that had already taken root in this community.

Racism is defined as discrimination or prejudice against an individual based on her physical attributes and skin tone. Racism is often accompanied by the belief that certain racial groups are more superior and privileged as compared to others (Clair & Denis 2015). In the following case, racism works against people of color. It can be in the form of interpersonal racism or institutional racism. Interpersonal racism occurs between individuals whereby a particular group of people holds a negative attitude towards a different culture or race. In this form of racism, there is often a victim of racism and the perpetrator. Institutional racism, on the other hand, refers to cultural and institutional practices that indicate racial inequality. Laws and benefits are structured or bent in such a way that certain groups are advantaged at the expense of others.

It is difficult to separate the two, but as society has proven, these two forms of racism can exist independently, but it is also likely that the two have close similarities. Take, for example, Khalil's death. The young unarmed man is shot because of what can only be described as interpersonal racism. The murder disturbed Carter to a point where she felt tense around her white friends in school because she felt like they did not understand. But how could they? We must keep in mind that this was both a predominantly white school and neighborhood. The matter is made worse by the fact that Carter had lost another childhood friend to a gang shootout.

The issue of Khalil's death disturbed Carter to a point where she consults her uncle, a police officer, on the best form of action. Her uncle urges her to go to the police station and record a statement, but unfortunately, the police were more concerned with whether Khalil was a troublemaker when he was shot. During his funeral, the expected happened. A lawyer by the name of April Ofrah confirmed that the police would not take any legal action against the police officer who shot Khalil. Evidence of institutional racism.

After the funeral, Carter engages her father in a conversation about racism and how a lack of equal opportunities for all people led to people like Khalil to join gangs and sell drugs to make ends meet. Schools in marginalized sections lack adequate facilities as a result of racism. "Corporate America doesn't bring jobs to our communities, and they damn sure ain't quick to hire us. Then, shit, even if you do have a high school diploma, so many of the schools in our neighborhoods don't prepare us well enough." Maverick (Thomas 2017, 108). Another form of institutional racism.

Institutional racism can trickle down and form the basis for interpersonal racism. The police had already identified Carter as a whistle-blower and thus making her a target because of her courage and boldness to stand against racism. However, her actions would soon be felt by her immediate family when police begin to profile her family members. A few days after Khalil's funeral, Maverick gets into a small peaceful argument with the area's barber, Mr. Lewis. What was initially a small argument escalates when the police intervene. As soon as they identify Maverick as Carter's father, they pin him to the ground and conduct a random search. This is one example of how institutional racism can be converted into interpersonal racism.


These examples are used to portray racism as being institutionally arranged that favors the white people at the expense of people of color. It is also evident that racism can be interpersonal, and therefore, its existence should not be taken lightly. Thomas favors an institutional understanding of racism, which captures a broader picture as compared to the interpersonal form of racism. Sensitization of how racism has found its way into the various institutions is essential for the purpose of curbing racism in society. On a personal level, it might be challenging to change people's opinions, but it would be easier for institutions like the police service to come up with rules that ensure equal and fair human rights for all. At the same time, we need more people like Carter who decide that enough is enough and they will no longer be silent (Thomas 2017). Such bold moves are essential in ensuring that racism is mitigated in all areas.


Clair, M., & Denis, J. S. (2015). Racism, sociology of. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 857-863.

Thomas, A. (2017). The hate you give. BALZER + BRAY. An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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