"I Don't See Color": Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give As a Tool Against Racism
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This thesis looks into psychological theories concerning narratives that instigate behavioral changes by mentally simulating unknown, difficult, or frightening events. Both textual and visual narratives can accomplish these changes, as the medium in which the narrative is conveyed is second to the content and complexity of the story. Because narratives have the power to help shape both societies and individual identities by means of simulation, they can play a major role in educating youths on delicate subjects, including the issue of racism. One such narrative that could function as an educational tool is The Hate U Give, written by Angie Thomas (2017), and the eponymous movie, directed by George Tillman Jr. (2018). This narrative thematizes different forms of racism, including structural, institutional, interpersonal, internalized, and color-blind racism, from the perspective of a sixteen year-old black girl, Starr Carter, who experiences these different forms of racism first-hand. Through Starr’s story, The Hate U Give shows not only that a change in the attitudes and behavior towards black people and racism is needed, but also that this change is possible. The novel is more elaborate and nuanced in how it addresses the subjects of interpersonal and internalized racism and how they fit in and connect with institutional and structural racism, which could lead to a more in-depth and refined discussion in the classroom. Yet, the movie might even be a more suitable educational tool, as the thematization of racism is more apparent, Starr’s ethnicity is at the forefront due to constant visualization rather than mental imagery, and it takes up less time in a school curriculum to incorporate a film than it does to incorporate a novel, leaving more time for interpretation and discussion.