This year, a book called The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was published. It received wide acclaim and praise from critics. The book covers the story of a young black girl who witnesses a police shooting of a black boy her age. The shooting hits her hard because she used to be close friends with him. The book then follows her dealing with the aftermath emotionally, in her community and with her friends and family. It’s a tough subject, one that might be seen as a risk to publish. However, that and the diversity and representation of it has instead been what has driven its success. In fact, it has a movie adaption coming out.
The author of The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas, is an African American woman. She has experienced racism and prejudice in her life that a white author, for example, never will. Because of that, there is an honesty in her writing in the book that can only be captured from that place of personal experience. A white author, attempting to write the same book, would miss emotional and cultural details because they come from a place of experience that they’ve never had.
Tackling Heavy Subjects
As mentioned before, The Hate U Give covers a very heavy subject. It does not hold back on the harsh reality of the circumstances. It covers the struggle for justice; the impact something like a police shooting has on a community. THUG covers the situation fearlessly, with all the messiness and complications and pain that comes with it. That makes it far better than it would be if the author had played it safe or avoided controversial elements. This book, for many, will be the start or the continuation of important conversations that need to happen.
What does this all tell us? It shows us the importance of stories of marginalized people not only being told but being told in their own words. It shows us that tough subjects can and should be addressed. On top of all that, it shows us that the excuse that diverse books, movies, etc are not successful is exactly that: An excuse. It may seem easy or better for your company to avoid tough subjects, but the risks are overstated and the impact it can and does have for the better is well worth it.
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