Anti-Racist Teacher Resources: Fictional Literature

Thomas, A. (2017). The Hate You Give. HarperCollins.

Angie Thomas’s novel, The Hate You Give, is a young adult text that follows a 16-year old African-American girl named Starr, who lives a divided life as she grows up in a predominantly black, lower socioeconomic neighborhood, while attending an elite, predominantly white private school. When Starr witnesses her black friend get shot and killed by a white police officer,  she begins to uncover the true oppressive, unjust, systemically racist society she lives in. This novel centers around themes of racial profiling, systemic racism, “blackness”, and racial poverty in America. Aside from being a dynamic novel for young adults, Thomas’s text explores these key social justice themes that are very applicable in our society today.

This novel is  an excellent resource for educators to bring into a classroom, as it can elicit extensive discussions on important social justice themes such as racial profiling, systemic racism, race and identity, racial poverty cycles and more. While this novel would likely be better suited in an English Language Arts classroom (ie. a Literary Studies 10-12, class), social studies educators may choose to bring this fictional novel into their classroom, particularly in a Social Justice 11-12 unit focusing on systemic/institutionalized racism and racial violence. Teachers may choose to bring this resource into their classrooms as there is a movie adaptation of this novel, thus students can read the novel and subsequently watch the film. This novel would be best suited for senior grades, 10-12, as it deals with some mature, difficult content, and requires deeper analysis for students to truly recognize the various issues, themes, conflicts, and social justice factors presented.

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