St. Mary’s students respond to the movie’s honest portrayal of racism.
On Friday, Oct. 26, 49 St. Mary’s high schoolers went to go see George Tillman Jr.’s “The Hate U Give.” During the movie, students could be heard crying, laughing and gasping and many left the theater distressed. Several students were unable to focus on their work when they returned to school. As a result, a debriefing of the movie was held on Oct. 31.
During the debriefing, students discussed the main points of the movie, including the concept of switching lives. Many students said they were able to relate to the main character Starr, who lives in two different worlds — the mostly black neighborhood where she lives and the mostly white school where she attends. She says “When I am at Williamson, I am Starr number two.” At the beginning of the movie, Starr’s father gives his children instructions about what to do when interacting with authorities. “When I was twelve, my parents had two talks with me. One about the birds and bees … The other talk was about what to do if a cop stopped me.” Her father teaches her that she should put her hands on the dashboard and not move if she ever gets pulled over by the police. These scenes resonated with students of color given that people often make unfair assumptions and treat them differently based on the color of their skin.
Simone Ivy-Rosser (11) said “It was super emotional, and I was not ready for everything that happened. It was really moving.” Pooja Talati (12) said “After watching “The Hate U Give,” my emotions were all over the place because I had never really seen something that vocalized about how racism affects everyday life.” Pooja pointed out that we see instances of racism in our everyday lives that we should call out. “I’ve never really seen and been able to explain how casual comments can actually really hurt and have often stayed quiet about these throwaway comments for fear of being labeled as too sensitive, but seeing these comments play out on the big screen helped me realize that I should speak up and let someone know if their remark is hurting me. If they choose to just brush me off, possibly rethink why I keep a relationship with them.”