Acceptance

Photo by Sarah Ardin on Unsplash

The Hate U Give has exemplified many different themes throughout the entirety of the book. Some of these themes consist of racial injustice, police brutality, activism, and identity. One theme that has been made prevalent to the story following the events of Khalil’s death and Starr’s personal trauma with being a witness is acceptance or self-acceptance. We have had many recent discussions in regards to Starr’s character. A young 16 year old girl who lives in a predominantly black neighborhood of Garden Heights, but attends a predominantly white private school called Williamson Prep. Being apart of these completely different environments causes Starr to essentially split her personality where she labels herself as ‘Williamson Starr’ while she is in school. Williamson Starr is one with the white people in which is accepted because of the very fact that she is black. She puts so much effort into maintaining this persona by not appearing to be ‘ghetto’ by cursing people out or speaking with slang. With these actions, she also would not want to give people a reason to label her as the “angry black girl” which is a very common stereotype within the black community. As the story progressed, many of Starr’s relationships began to change. These including her relationship with her boyfriend Chris and her Williamson friends, Hailey and Maya.

To begin analyzing how the theme of acceptance is exemplified within her relationship with Chris, we must understand the standards set between them. Chris is a white boy whom Starr hid from her father for that exact reason. Chris has often explained to Starr that even though he is white, she should not expect him to treat her as anything other than his girlfriend whom he loves and shows great affection to. He constantly reminds her that she can be herself around him in which he accepts her for who she is. Not to say that he doesn’t see color, but he doesn’t see any difference in her like other white people would. Starr knew that she could be herself around him and doesn’t ever have to activate ‘Williamson Starr’ when they are with each other. They also share some of the same interests such as the love for the old 90s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” featuring Will Smith. Even though Starr has shared a big part of herself with Chris, there was still a lot of her missing from the relationship. This includes all of her experiences which can be labeled as the ‘black experience’ in which Chris could never relate to the troubles that Starr deals with. These include that of poverty and most prevalent to the story, witnessing the deaths of her two best friends. Starr was ashamed of the life that she lives as a black person in America and she didn’t want Chris to know the true deeper side of herself. She essentially had to become more accepting of her life to allow Chris to accept the true life that she lives.

Starr’s friendship with Hailey was completely tarnished by the end of the story in which Hailey continuously revealed her true colors to both Starr and Maya. With Hailey being white compared to Starr being black and Maya being Asian, Hailey definitely showed her prejudice and racism which they did not come to realize until everything unfolded. They recalled that Hailey always declared herself as the leader of the group and later realized that this was possibly due to the fact that she was white and felt that she was a superior. She showed that she was racist in many scenarios which include the ‘fried chicken’ joke she made towards Starr, her also unfollowing Starr after she had posted many things on her Tumblr regarding black injustice, and the ‘eating cat’ joke she made when they were younger towards Maya. With some guidance, Starr needed help accepting the fact that her and Hailey were never meant to be friends as well as accept the fact that their friendship is over. Her nor Maya didn’t need anyone in their lives who did not accept them for who they are.

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Brandi Daniels

Brandi Daniels

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