Black Experience vs. Their Appearance

Photo by Tosin James on Unsplash

In the readings of The Hate U Give, we have come to understand and have been made aware of the different struggles and issues that Starr, her family, friends, and any others from the black community face on a regular basis. These issues include black on black crime, drug and/or gang violence, poverty, racial profiling, and the most prevalent with the events of the story, police brutality. All of these issues that occur within the black community are met with more bigger issues when there are people from the outside looking in. Media plays a huge role in the many misconceptions of the black community with how black people are depicted and described in the stereotypes assigned to them by society. These said stereotypes come from certain peoples actions as well as the ignorance of outsiders who have no care for the black community. Such stereotypes might include the fact that all black men are a threat to society or rather a threat to the white community. This makes them a bigger target in our society despite whatever innocence they have. Young black boys are forced to grow up quicker in America because they can quickly go from being “cute and innocent” to “a danger to society”. There is truly no other explanation other than the fact that they are targeted because of the color of their skin.

In my last blog, I briefly gave a description on Starr’s double-life in which she is constantly subject to code-switching when she travels back and forth between her neighborhood and her school located in another. Starr was born and raised in a poor black neighborhood where she has witnessed violence first-hand starting at the age of 10 when her bestfriend Natasha was murdered in front of her. The most recent event which is the main point in the telling of this story is the murder of her other best friend Khalil. A lot of focus has been put on how Starr has been dealing which she was barely able to do because of how traumatizing the situation was. As well as all of the chaos that following based on the amount of influence the media has had on people’s opinions and understanding of the tragic events. The media was very misleading which caused viewers to believe things that were not true and hadn’t occurred leading up to Khalil’s murder. Only Starr truly knew what happened because she was there with him. Not only was she a witness but she too was a victim of police brutality.

Khalil was murdered because he was a black man and presumed to have had a weapon in his possession which essentially ‘triggered’ the police officer. We found that it was just his brush that he was reaching for. As the murder slowly progressed to the media, people tried to justify his murder by stating that he was gang-affiliated and a drug dealer. As if that was a reason for him to have lost his life. Nobody ever deserves to die, especially at the hands of another. Police officer or not. People from both Starr’s neighborhood and her ‘friends’ from school believed that Khalil was a bad person because of what the media said about him and basically said that he got what he deserved. This was like a complete slap in the face to Starr because she constantly wondered, what if it were her instead of Khalil? White people are quicker to believe these statements because they don’t know what it is like to live the lives that both Khalil and Starr lived in their neighborhoods. Otherwise explained, they have no insight on the black experience at all. Their failure to do their own research on such events as well as their failure to consider different sides makes them ignorant to situations like these.

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