I’m not going to butcher this great book by writing a review that’s mostly filled with my hatred for the Philippine government (but just a shout out to those who are “fans” of Duterte and his agendas, I suggest you read this book to give you some perspective).
But I will say that The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is a book that’s not only timely and relevant in the USA, but also here in the Philippines. It’s not only a reality for the African-American folks in the USA, but also for the less-fortunate people (those who live in the slums aka “squatters’ area”) here in the Philippines.
This book may not be important on its own but it does talk about a very important message; a very important issue that a lot of people around the world are experiencing.
Angie Thomas did us a favor with this debut novel of hers. She helped us understand the “other side” and that not everything is black and white because they never are.
The Hate U Give follows the life of 16-year-old Starr who witnessed one of her best friends die in the hands of a police officer. The turning point is, the best friend — Khalil — didn’t actually do anything illegal and was not about to do anything that would merit him being killed like that. He was just shot by a cop point blank because, well, he’s black and apparently, all black people are a threat.
And people were quick to shout how it’s okay that he was killed regardless of the circumstances that evening because heck, he was from “the ghetto” anyway; probably a drug dealer (which he was but that’s beside the point since he wasn’t dealing that night and technically, wasn’t doing anything illegal when he was fatally shot), and he was better off dead.
Better off dead.
Haven’t we all said that one too many times when a criminal or a supposed bad person gets killed and the media romanticizes the whole situation?
When it’s reported that the reason behind the person being shot by a cop is because he supposedly “fought back” (or in Filipino, “nanlaban”), then we’re completely okay with it. First, he was a drug dealer/pusher/user so his/her life is not that important anyway. Second, s/he fought back so his/her death is justified.
Isn’t that just wrong on so many levels, though? We’re giving our police officers too much power. They’re taking lives just like that and they’re not even reprimanded for their crime — yes, it’s a crime in case y’all have forgotten that taking one’s life is against the law.
And this book makes us realize that this reality is experienced by many and is actually inspired by true happenings in the US and by the African-American community’s (and allies) Black Lives Matter movement.
The hardest thing about this is the fact that it’s actually a reality for the black people in America. And what sucks even more is it actually happens even here in the Philippines.
It’s so fucked up. Because we all never know the other side of the story because the media, the people, the privileged, the mindless followers of the bullshit system and the government are quick to judge and SAY OK to these murders by cops.
This book teaches us to be kind, if anything. It teaches us to be perspective. But it also teaches us the sad reality that if we continue saying okay and being okay with these things, our world may never progress. And we would all just be stuck here, watching people die left and right in the hands of our supposed “protectors” and then watching other people justify their deaths.
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
Check out my 2018 Reading Challenge — a growing list of books that I read this year.