‘the hate you give’ book about racism & police violence is banned by texas school district

December 4, 2017
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Hiding behind the excuse of “inappropriate language”, a school district in Katy, TX. has banned Angie Thomas’ New York Times best-selling book The Hate U Give. The Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner follows the story of Black teen Starr Carter who finds herself torn between two worlds: the poverty-stricken neighborhood that she comes from and the suburban prep school that she attends when, one night, her world is turned upside-down after her best friend is shot and killed by a white police officer. A YA fiction book about the Black Lives Matter movement, The Hate U Give and the upcoming film it inspired, are aimed at educating young people about social justice.

On Twitter, Abby Berner issued a call to action against the district’s move, which she claims was done unilaterally and without the usual procedures by Superintendent Hindt, after parents complained.

“It’s based solely on pervasive vulgarity, not based on substantive content or any message that’s been relayed in this book,” Maria DiPetta, a manager of media relations for the school system told Quartz.

Like many works of fiction, YA and traditional, curse words do occur in our lexicon. And while Thomas acknowledges the rationale behind parental caution about the content their children consume, it’s worth noting that classic novels like The Great Gatsby, The Color Purple, The Catcher In The Rye, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn all employ sensitive language in their storytelling. As with most authors from John Steinbeck to Zora Neale Hurston.

Young students shouldn’t be reading Zane novels for book reports, sure, but what happens when we let certain words hold more power over a collection of words with an impactful story to tell?