I finally watched The Hate U Give, and while I realize that I am late to the party, it is largely due to the fact that I intended to read the book first. I must confess that I did not as I got wrapped up in several fascinating time travel series, and then the movie came out on HBO. So I spent some time watching it today as my amazing husband took the littles to Wal-Mart (God bless him for this adventure in the pouring rain). The reason for this blog post largely centers around one line in the film. If you haven’t seen it, I’ll give you a VERY quick synopsis. The main character, Starr, witnesses the murder of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. The majority of the film is her struggle between her life in the impoverished African American community she lives in that is devastated and angered by the murder and her life in the wealthy, private, majority Caucasian school she attends that has a very different perspective on the murder. Starr feels split between the two and struggles with whether or not she should speak out.
At one point towards the end of the film, Starr’s Caucasian boyfriend Chris tells her he doesn’t see color, and Starr responds, “If you don’t see my Blackness, you don’t see me.” This line really touched my heart. Full disclosure… If you haven’t seen my picture and do not know me personally, I am Caucasian. Actually, I am super White… Almost transparent. So I feel a little odd writing about this. Growing up, there was a trend towards being “colorblind.” Does anyone else remember this? That always seemed wrong to me. I think Starr is correct. Every part of who we are is important. It is crucial that we acknowledge it, embrace it, appreciate it.
I was very fortunate to have a student aide this year who will likely live in my memory for decades as one of my favorites. Her first name is Eithar. She is absolutely brilliant, and I am positive that she will go far in this life. She and I had a conversation one day. She shared with me that one teacher decided to change her name because it was “too hard to pronounce.” I told her that was unacceptable because names are important. EVERY part of who we are is important.
I believe at some point when we are willing to sit down with one another and acknowledge that we ARE different and see that those differences are pretty amazing and weave a beautiful tapestry in this life… We might all be much better off.