The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas

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Why is Starr's dad interested in Malcolm X in The Hate U Give?

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Starr's dad is interested in Malcolm X in The Hate U Give because he shares his belief in the importance of Black pride. Maverick Carter is inspired by Malcolm X's message of Black liberation by any means necessary. He also takes to heart Malcolm X's injunction for the Black community to get organized and protect themselves instead of relying on the police.

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Your question might understate the importance that Malcolm X plays in the lives of Starr and her family. I don’t think you’d be accused of exaggeration if you used a stronger word than “interested.” You could reasonably claim Malcolm X doesn’t interest Starr’s dad so much as provide a foundation for Starr’s dad’s life, which, in turn, serves as a base for the lives of Starr and her brothers.

At one point, Starr says, “Seven and I could recite Malcolm X quotes by the time we were thirteen.” Them memorizing Malcolm X's teachings seems to suggest that Malcolm X is something like a religion in the Carter household. His ideas are organizing principles that provide guidance and clarity.

As other Educators have already mentioned, you could talk about how the values of Malcolm X link to the values of Maverick Carter. Like Malcolm X, Carter firmly believes in unyielding freedom, justice, and equality for all people of color.

Additionally, like Malcolm X, Maverick believes in standing with and sticking by the Black community. As you might remember, Maverick and Lisa frequently quarrel because Lisa wants to move to a less dangerous neighborhood. Maverick, of course, wants to stay put.

One last note: you might want to think about some ways in which Maverick might deviate from the beliefs of Malcolm X. Yes, Maverick keeps his family in their Black neighborhood. However, Maverick doesn’t send Starr to a Black school. As you might recall, Starr and her two brothers attend a primarily white school. She’s being mostly educated by white people. You might want to consider how that detail could be in conflict with Malcolm X’s philosophy. As you might be aware, Malcolm X was critical of integration.

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Starr's father, Maverick "Big Mav" Carter, is a staunch supporter of the Black Power movement in general and of Malcolm X in particular. As with many people in his local community, he's much more responsive to the militant approach of the Black Panthers and other militant organizations than the more peaceful tactics adopted by Martin Luther King and the official civil rights movement.

Starr is particularly amenable to Malcolm X's message of Black empowerment. In practical terms, this means that, instead of relying on white society, Black neighborhoods will work for themselves, establishing community organizations designed to cater to their own needs.

To a large extent, Maverick is drawn to Malcolm X because his message is especially suited to his fiercely independent, self-reliant nature. Maverick doesn't believe in being dependent on anyone or anything else, especially not white society, which is deeply imbued with racism.

Among other things, this means that he would rather rely on local gangs to maintain order in the neighborhood than call the police. The downside of this, of course, is that Maverick is unwittingly contributing to the further decline of the neighborhood he claims to care so much about, with serious consequences for both himself and his children.

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Early in the text, Starr mentions that the Carter home has framed pictures of Malcolm X alongside black Jesus, even calling her family “Christlims”: a mashup of Christian and Muslim.

Maverick Carter’s reverence of Malcolm X is addressed more fully after gunshots are fired into the Carter home while the family is watching television. Starr believes the gunshots were a message to her to keep silent about her knowledge of Khalil’s murder at the hands of a white police officer. Lisa, Starr’s mother, remarks that Starr’s safety is of paramount importance, even more than her standing up for the truth.

In response, Maverick instructs his children to recite the Black Panthers’s Ten Point Program. Malcolm X was a leader and proponent of the Black Panthers’s philosophy that police brutality must be stopped by “any means necessary.” By asking his children to recite this maxim after the attack on their home, Maverick asserts that standing up for injustice is always worth it, even if it means facing threats to one’s personal safety. Maverick does not want his children to be afraid of doing the right thing, regardless of the risks involved.

The reader can thereby infer that Malcolm X is so important to Maverick because he represents a radical Afro-centric viewpoint that empowers black people to stand up for their own rights. Unlike many civil rights figures who have maintained notoriety in the present day, Malcolm X did not directly condemn force as a tool for the oppressed in their fight for equality. This shows that Maverick values Malcolm X for his dedication to the black community above all else. Maverick is unconcerned with kowtowing to the pressures within and outside of Garden Heights that try to hinder achieving the goal of ending police brutality. He wants his children to feel empowered to speak out against injustice even if the price is violence or death.

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In The Hate U Give, why does Starr's farther worship Malcolm X so much?

Malcolm X is a very popular man in the Carter household. Framed pictures of the Muslim civil rights campaigner adorn the walls alongside those of a black Jesus. Starr even goes so far as to call her family "Christlims", which is an amalgam of Christian and Muslim.

What particularly draws old man Carter to Malcolm X and his teachings is his fanatical belief in fighting police brutality by any means necessary. One night, while the Carters are watching TV, shots are fired through the window of their home. Starr believes this was a warning by the local police force for her to keep quiet about the murder of Khalil by a white police officer.

In response to this incident, Mr. Carter instructs his children to embrace the philosophy of radical black empowerment espoused by Malcolm X. He sees this as the right approach to dealing with their present situation. Instead of cowering in fear, he wants his children to stand up and challenge racial injustice, irrespective of the consequences. Only in this way, he thinks, can the persistent problem of police brutality against members of the African-American community be dealt with.

This will be a long, hard struggle, but Mr. Carter is convinced that Malcolm X's philosophy gives his children the tools to prepare them for the fight ahead.

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