Was The Hate U Give, given enough love?

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****SPOILER ALERT*****.

This post is really for anyone who has seen the film, read the book or is not planning to do either.

The Hate U Give is a powerful film but has the book’s original message been scarificed for commercial backing. For me, it was the incredible performances,  rather than the writing and direction of the adaptation that stole the show.

I left the cinema teary eyed but with a distinct Pepsi Max after taste and a thirst to read the book.

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After a couple of chapters, it was clear that the plot had been dramatically simplified and the core theme of racial injustice played down making gang influence the predominate malfactor to the storyline.

Poverty, race, family and love are not simply black or white, good vs bad affairs.   Even with a teen audience in mind, the simplistic retelling is a missed opportunity to explore the issues that are killing our society.  Considering the choice of screen writer,  best known for writing George of the Jungle, production and distribution companies- I question how deliberate that choice was.

There are always ommissions and changes in film adaptations, but changes should be made for artistic not political reasons.

In the book for example, Uncle Carlos (A black police detective) concludes that HE WOULDN’T have shot the victim, but in the film, he said he WOULD.

I can’t see how this change, which undermines the #blacklivesmatters cause, could ever be justified. Especially thinking about Thomas’s motivation behind writing the book.

In the story, the officer murdered a 17 year old boy based on his perceived fear of a young black man.  These fears have been deliberately cultivated by society to criminalise black identity and are maintained and reinforced by systematic racism. 

By editing out the uglier side of our boys in blue, it’s not just an injustice to the fictional characters of Garden Heights, but the lives of the thousands of innocent people who have had their life stolen by an officer’s foot, fist or barrel.

Many people do hate the police.  But the hate that killed the victim was the hatred and misrepresentation of black people in our society.  A point that I think the film underplayed, particulary with a speech given by the main character.

“…It’s us, we are the ones full of hate!..”

And that’s where the story ends.  The community comes together, “snitching” on the gang leader to see him incarcerated.

Apparently, not wanting to “snitch” is the reason for gangs in communities –  not the lack of employment opportunities, education, access to healthcare or substandard social housing.

The end has no mention of the continued police brutality either.  Another deviation from the book.

This film is being lauded as a bold, policital statement about the Black Lives Matter movement- but that better describes the book than the film.

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Joyfully, the film is a beautiful depiction of a black family and at the very least,  a great starting place for discussion about the more complex issues.

BH xx

 

If you would like to challenge police brutality in the UK, the United Friends and Family Campaign work to challenge, hold to account and end deaths in custody.

http://uffcampaign.org/

 

 

 

THUG LIFE X

 

Why the Government needs PREVENT training.

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Figures released today show that hate crime has risen in the last couple of years.  This comes as no surprise to anyone who has undertaken PREVENT training recently.

PREVENT is part of the Government’s counter terrorism initiatives which aims to prevent people from turning to terrorism.

The hypocracy of the iniative however, is hard to swallow.

Prevent is founded on the idea of protecting “British Values”. But how can the Government talk of mutual respect and tolerance being British Values? The former Foreign Secretary makes derogatory comments about Muslim women, the Home Office issue hostile immigration policies, and the Brexit campaign was based on scapegoating and falsehoods not dissimilar from Zach Goldsmith’s vile campaign for London mayor.

To be taken seriously, British Values should be heralded as HUMAN values- a way of life that we ALL need to follow especially by NOT except for the Government.  Then we could all work towards “protecting” them.

If the Government wants to prevent extremism in this country, perhaps it should explore the underlining issues causing the breakdown of our society, which results in the rise of hate crimes and other forms of terrorism.

Could you imagine the change it would make to “global terrorism” if the UK changed foreign policy away from the colonial dominance and resource grab approach, to a perspective that respects the rights and sovereignty of other (non white) countries and territories.

Imagine if the Government chose to invest in education, NHS, housing: restored workers rights, legal aid, scrapped employment tribunal fees and improved work conditions. The Far Right grooming cries of “They’re takin’ all ‘r jobs and hosital beds..” just wouldn’t have the same gravitas.

Imagine if the Government didn’t propagate and pander to media scapegoating and properganda about immigrants.

What a simple way to reduce the isolation and abuse that members of our society face due to their religion, skin colour or immigration status.  A way to build unity and community rather than fraction society.

But that is all very John Lennon. (Imagine)

But scapegoats are always useful.  So rather than irradicating the causes of fear and anger – we have PREVENT.

PREVENT with an approximate annual budget of £46 million.

That money partly used to “train” professionals like doctors, nurses, teachers etc to report any “vulnerable individuals” to local Government.  All the training in the world though, still leaves the system highly susceptible to personal bias.  Especially in a scapegoat saturated society.

Ask the average person to describe a “terrorist”.  You could probably accurately guess the description…

brown skin

beard

Very few would describe:

white skin

football shirt

and a pint of beer in hand…

So it is no surprise that in the PREVENT system there is a huge discrepancy between reports of Islamist terrorism concerns compared with Far Right reports. (Please note that every individual deemed requiring support is investigated by the police…)

Which is particularly condemning when you look at the current hate crimes statics which show a 50% increase in the rise hate crimes towards Muslims. Yet Muslim individuals are by far the largest group indentified and investigated under PREVENT. Something just isn’t working.

So yes of course I will continue to safeguard and prevent any harm to the upmost of my ability.  I only hope we elect a new government that will do the same.

If you want to help prevent the rise of The Far Right join the protest Saturday 17th November 2018 in central London.