Essay Sample with Introduction and Description of Police in "The Hate U Give"

Published: 2022-10-18
Essay Sample with Introduction and Description of Police in "The Hate U Give"
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Movie Police brutality Black lives matter
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1900 words
16 min read

"The Hate U Give" is a movie that tells the story of Starr, a 16-year-old black teenager who witnesses the murder of one of her best friends, Khalil by a white policeman after some disturbances in the ghetto area. Starr is a sixteen-year-old girl who lives between two worlds: the poor black neighborhood where she was born, and her high school located in an elegant white residential neighborhood. The difficult balance between the two is shattered when she becomes a witness of the shooting death of his best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a policeman. This is where the film focuses, on the racism and discrimination implicit in American society. A young black woman leads a life between two waters. On the one hand, the degraded neighborhood in which she lives and on the other the elite school that his family enrolls her to provide a better future.

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Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the movie, which is about a normal girl subjected to very tough circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unwavering honesty (Mika, 2018). Witnessing the death of a childhood friend, also black, at the hands of a white policeman, the first being unarmed, initiates in the young woman an awareness that pushes her towards an activism in which contradictions are not lacking and the clashes with their immediate surroundings.

Starr's family lives in Garden Heights, a ghetto where they took their first steps, run a store and are happy despite all the conflicts surrounding the area (territorial confrontations between gangs, drug issues, and lack of resources by the State). Starr's parents are sacrificing a lot so that their children have a "better" education, so she and her two brothers are enrolled in the private Williamson Institute, far from the suburbs and where that aura of marginality seems very alien to the environment and, above all, to the rest of the students.

Starr decides to attend one party in the neighborhood. Although her parents recommend not going to one of the parties in her neighborhood, Starr attends one of them. She finds the atmosphere strange, she does not feel uncomfortable, but it is true that she does not know almost anyone present. At the party, she meets Khalil, his best childhood friend, and to whom, curiously, she had months without seeing. Things get out of control when several shots are heard during the party and Khalil and Starr managed to get into his car and get to safety. On the way home, they talk, remembering old times and becoming aware of their lives. Everything goes well until a police officer stops them, asks for the regulatory documentation and, even so, eyes them suspiciously (Harris, 2018). They are two young black people who are alone in a car in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. An order, a movement, and in less than five minutes three shots hit Khalil. What had started as a warm reunion between the two, ended with the blood of his best friend soaking the sidewalk with blood. The death of Khalil unleashes a wave of indignation in the community.

The killing of Khalil also has a huge effect on Garden Heights. The neighborhood mobilizes and protests when justice turns a deaf ear, when the media turns the victimizer into a victim, once again. The movie conveys the sense of community that exists in Garden Heights, as well as raises its problems very well. In particular, it focuses on gangs, the sale of drugs and what happens with young people (Folkenflik, 2018). Starr's own father was a gang member and was imprisoned, so the story is told with closeness, without falling into common places. In any case, the presence of the gangs in the history and reality of Khalil is very great. Their actions define the fate of more than one character towards the end of the movie.

Khalil was killed by a policeman because he was black. It is a very violent scene, very crude and full of impotence; without a doubt, a beginning that is incapable of leaving the watcher indifferent. The policeman murdered Khalil for no reason, it was enough for him to see his skin color to brand him and stigmatize him to such an extent that he ended his life even though he did nothing to deserve it. Khalil did not refuse to cooperate and yet he shot him when he told him to get out of the car. Why did he shoot if he was just a sixteen-year-old boy returning from a party with his best friend? Did he shoot only because he was black? The answers to these questions is a resounding yes.

Analysis of Media Source and Course Material

Race remains an important element of police brutality in the United States. In fact, despite the terrain gained in many aspects from the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s, the police treatment of racial minorities has been an aspect that has tenaciously resisted change. In cities such as Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Providence, San Francisco and Washington, where there is available data on this issue, members of minority groups have reported more frequent violations of human rights by the police than white residents, a frequency that is not proportional to their representation in the population of those cities (Hosking, 2018). The police have subjected the minorities to seemingly discriminatory treatment and have physically and verbally abused their members through racial epithets. Each new incident related to the mistreatment of the police by an African-American, a Hispanic-American or a member of another minority group (especially those receiving press attention) reinforces the idea that some residents are victims of particularly harsh treatment and of racial discrimination.

The black lives movement was born within the black community to denounce the violence and brutality to which they are subjected and The Hate U Give is a movie directly focused on something that the most African Americans face racism. There are hundreds of thousands of black people who suffer the institutionalized violence, accepted and often encouraged that the United States leads against them, turning them into victims and in many occasions, in numbers and names that will swell the list of victims of police violence in the United States, like Khalil. Twenty-three years after King's beating, police brutality against blacks cost the life of young Michael Brown (The lily news, 2018). He was eighteen years old when he was shot by Agent Darren Wilson, who suspected his involvement in an assault. Recorded by a pedestrian phone in the town of Ferguson, Missouri, images of the bloodied black teenager's body led to the explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement, an organization that manifests itself against all forms of racism against blacks.

The case in Ferguson and the aftermath of Michael Brown's murder, as well as the images of how the police responded to the incident, shocked the United States. In this context, the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the way in which various protests spread across the country in a decentralized manner gained unprecedented dimensions. In a recent Associated Press survey in partnership with the University of Chicago, 80 percent of African Americans said that police officer is still very quick to use force in approaches (Cohen, Fox, & Lens, 2018). At least 50% of blacks reported unfair treatment by law enforcement officials and endorsed that these experiences have changed the way they approach law enforcement (Cohen, Fox, & Lens, 2018). These cases traumatize because they are a reminder that the lives of blacks do not matter. At one point, African Americans, begin to question themselves and sometimes internalize negative stereotypes and discount themselves. When one sees black communities facing internal conflicts, cases of domestic violence, gang violence, all this is a reflection of the way they are treated by society.


Over the last 40 years, there has been a dramatic increase in the scope and intensity of police action. Whether it's the drug war, terror or public disorder, everything is a reason for invasive and aggressive police practice. The deaths seen on the news are just the tip of the iceberg; poor communities, mainly non-white, suffer much more from this. There is a little empirical basis for many of the reforms being proposed, such as increasing police diversity, community policing, or training against implied prejudice. What is really needed to do is reduce the reach of the police; we have to stop using the police to solve any and all social problems.

Police brutality is one of the most serious, enduring and controversial violations of human rights in the United States. The problem exists at the national level and is institutionalized. For these reasons, the US federal government (as well as state and municipal governments, which have an obligation to respect international human rights standards to which the United States is obligated) deserves to be held accountable before international human rights bodies and international public opinion.

Many reforms have been proposed in response to murders of black Americans by police officers over the past three years. The problem is that there is currently no possibility for progressive reforms at the national level and the administration's measures have had very limited scope and questionable effectiveness. However, the vast majority of deliberations on police reform happen at the local level, and local political pressure can make a big difference. Even so, I believe that the reforms being advocated would not have a major impact if they came true. Improvements in training, procedures, and accountability can cause a reduction in deaths, but will not solve the more fundamental issue, which is an exaggerated policing.

Trump opposes any rational, technocratic and progressive reform of the police. His position is aligned with the Blue Lives Matter, a movement to support the police action. For him, the police should not be the last resort, but the first. In a world divided between good and evil, it would be up to the police to separate the two extremes. It is a worldview that is terribly wrong and counterproductive, both for the president and for the police who defend it. My hope is that, in the absence of progressive reforms, people will be more receptive to more systemic reforms. It is important to question the notion that the police exist mainly for the safety of citizens and that this should, therefore, be supported unconditionally. In fact, it is possible to have security in other ways not contaminated different forms of racism and police brutality.


Cohen, A., Fox, E. D., & YA Lens. (n.d.). "The Hate U Give" Is The Kind Of Complex, Nuanced Film We Need Right Now. Retrieved December 3, 2018, from

Folkenflik, D. (2018, October 19). In 'The Hate U Give,' A Portrait Of Police Violence, Code-Switching And More. Retrieved from

Harris, A. (2018, October 03). Review: In 'The Hate U Give,' a Police Shooting Forces a Teen to Find Her Voice. Retrieved from

Hosking, T. (2018, October 19). 'The Hate U Give' Attempts to Advance the Gridlock on Police Brutality. Retrieved from

Mika (2018). Code-switching in The Hate U Give explains the intricacies of how racism works. Retrieved December 3, 2018, from

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