Page 2 June 4, 2020
No Justice, No Peace in
The Hate U Give
Morgan Rojas for cinemacy.com
This review originally ran on October 19,
2018. Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) is a
high school teen stuck between two worlds.
At her home in Garden Heights, a rough
and predominantly black neighborhood littered
with drugs and gangs, she is seen as
an outsider. At her private high school in
the wealthier and white part of town, she is
seen as a diversity statistic. Despite her personal
struggles, the support from her family
never falters. From a young age, her father
(Russell Hornsby) always told her about the
power and pride she and her brothers should
feel as a young black person in America,
despite the injustice their people face every
day. When Starr witnesses the shooting death
of her unarmed best friend by a white police
The Hate U Give, courtesy of 20th Century Studios.
officer, her world is turned upside down. As
the only witness to Khalil’s wrongful death,
Starr feels pressure from the community to
testify against the officer in court. and is
faced with a life-changing decision: stay
quiet and let life pass her by, or stand up
and speak her truth.
Amandla Stenberg gives a groundbreaking
and emotionally stirring performance as the
young protagonist, Starr. In nearly every
scene, tears stream down Stenberg’s face
and we can’t help but feel our hearts break
along with hers. Her range as an actor is on
full display as she brings life and powerful
charisma to every moment. Equally as affecting
is Russell Hornsby’s performance as her
protective father. His tough exterior protects
his gentle heart as he puts his family’s wellbeing
above his own, claiming that family is
the only people he lives and dies for.
The Hate U Give, an adaptation of the
YA novel written by Angie Thomas, is a hard
watch, especially as white woman who is
critically aware of being in the fortunate position
of not being faced with violence and a
cultural identity crisis on the daily. Just being
female in a male-oriented world can come with
its own set of restraints and hurdles. In this
case, director George Tillman Jr.’s exposé is
an eye-opening account of an all too familiar
scenario, but just because we may not like
what we see, doesn’t mean we should turn
away and pretend it’s not happening.
A timely conversation centering around the
Black Lives Matter movement and the injustice
of racial profiling within law enforcement and
beyond, The Hate U Give, available to rent
on VOD, is a heartbreaking and emotional
account of one young African American
woman’s struggle of living in America and
the burden she carries as a result. •
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Your Neighborhood Therapist
Dear Neighborhood Therapist,
How do I talk to my kids about the difficult
news they see on TV?
– A Loving Parent, El Segundo
Dear Loving Parent,
I want my son to spend summers swinging
from a rope into a lake and biking around the
neighborhood with his friends. I want him to
have weekends full of sports and picnics and
playdates. I want our evenings to include family
time of conversation and laughter as we sit
around the dinner table.
Of course I want to hand him all the tools
he needs in order to reach his full potential.
I want him to feel confident and secure in
his interactions. I want him to make the right
kinds of mistakes - like breaking an arm falling
out of a tree that was just a little bit too
tall for his admirable ambitions - where he
learns a lesson and has a good story, but no
We all have our visions of what a perfect
childhood looks like, and it is almost always
a romanticized golden age unblemished by the
outside world. It’s also not the way the world
works, and we all know it. Both traditional
psychology and Disney endings have popularized
the idea we will inevitably mess up our
children if we give them anything less than
a perfect childhood. That’s false. Plenty of
people with traditionally imperfect childhoods
end up with deeply satisfying lives. Plenty of
people with “perfect” childhoods run into big
problems later on.
The excellent World War II museum in Gdansk,
Poland does an excellent job of illustrating
the horrors of war to children. In the children’s
section, visitors pass three times through the
same family dining and living room: the first
time is at the beginning of the war, where food
is plentiful, the newspapers are delivered and tell
the truth, and life looks “normal.” The second
time, the room is the same, but the small luxuries
are missing or replaced with something
simpler. In the final version of the room, towards
the end of the war, one of the walls has been
destroyed and the room is stripped nearly bare.
The message - war is terrible - is clear, but
the children have been spared the gory details
that adults so often seek out (if you don’t believe
me just ask Stephen King or Wes Craven).
You do not have to share the worst of
everything with children. Instead, try talking
about the effects of the bad things - especially
if other kids are affected - and invite your
child to reflect on how her own experience
may be similar or different. Then - and here
is the most important part - ask her opinion
about those effects. If she is old enough to
think about right and wrong, then she is old
enough to tell you what she thinks. Is it fair or
unfair that some kids have more than others,
and why? Is it good or bad that some parents
work longer hours than others? And so on.
You may find that instead of tiptoeing around
what to say and what not to say, you end up
having a rich conversation about what your
child values in this world.
Please write to tom@tomandrecounseling.
com or text to 310.776.5299 with questions
about handling what is affecting your life,
your family, the community or the world.
Tom Andre is a Licensed Marriage & Family
Therapist (LMFT119254). The information
in this column is for educational purposes
only and nothing herein should be construed
as professional advice or the formation of a
therapeutic relationship. •
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