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Hi long time fan of all your work! A relative of mine is about to start Belmont High School and the only book she was required to read before entering 9th grade was “The Hate U Give,” which they describe as “a young adult novel by Angie Thomas. It follows a protagonist drawn to activism after she witnesses the police shooting of her friend” interesting that they would require an entire grade to read a book that is anti police. We have family members who are police officers and they are really disappointed. Figured you might want to be made aware in case anything else ends up coming out of the school district in the future.
This is the plot according to Wikipedia:
Starr Carter is a 16-year-old who lives in two worlds: the poor black neighborhood, Garden Heights, where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. One night, Starr goes to a party in Garden Heights and she meets her childhood best friend, Khalil. When he drives her home after the party, they are stopped by a policeman. Khalil is forced to get out of the car and the police officer shoots him, even though he was unarmed. Soon afterward, his murder becomes a national headline. He’s called a thug, a drug dealer, and a gangbanger. When it comes clear that the police have little interest in investigating it, protestors take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. They all try to figure out what really happened that night and the only one who can answer that is Starr, who is struggling to reconcile the two versions of herself so she can speak up to clear Khalil’s name. What she says could ultimately decide the fate of this policeman – and more importantly whether or not he is charged with the murder of Khalil.
Literature is a powerful tool, because it’s not just about the story they’re reading. It’s about the message that the story conveys. Lord of The Flies is a great book for kids to read because it teaches them about humanity. The Catcher In The Rye shows kids that people their age throughout history (including their parents) felt the same sort of teenage angst they have, while battling against conformity. Other books like Night teach kids about history.
This book does one thing – teaches kids that police kill black kids indiscriminately. The cops are the antagonist in this story. Belmont is not a very diverse town, and this book is about the lone black girl at almost exclusively white school who is targeted with her black friend Khalil, presumably because they are black and the cops are racist. It’s meant to teach the few black children at Belmont High that they are more in danger during police stops than their white classmates. It teaches them that the police are there to kill them, not protect them. It teaches white kids in this predominantly white town that this is what it’s like to grow up being black in America.
In other words, Belmont High School is actively training kids to distrust the racist police in their town. No wonder police across the country have begun objecting to it.
South Carolina police object to high-school reading list https://t.co/mODPr0nU7C
— The Guardian (@guardian) July 3, 2018
Keep in mind, the kids reading this just finished 8th grade, and unless they’re in Lawrence it means they can’t drive yet. What does this book teach them about their own lives? Nothing. It teaches kids in this wealthy, segregated community that this is what it’s like to live in the neighborhoods they’ve never been to.
I’d never heard of this book before, but apparently it was published just last year, and is already a New York Times best seller. It’s also gotten critical acclaim from social justice warrior websites like Salon and The Guardian. Because, of course it did. It fits the right narrative. If you write a story that depicts cops as being racist then the media is gonna help you sell a lot of books.
The author says she was inspired to write it by the death of Mike Brown. A 300 pound man who had just robbed a convenience store and assaulted the clerk before trying to take the gun from a police officer who stopped him.
But then again Belmont has no shortage of wealthy white SJWs who have intentionally segregated themselves into an almost all white enclave, but yet preach the virtues of diversity and call other people racist. This book is right up their alley, as it will allow them to be more woke at their next Friday night book club meeting.
We support teachers at Turtleboy just like we support cops. But when they put anti-police propaganda like this on the summer reading list and force kids to consume it, that’s not something we can defend.
The bottom line is that books like this are not harmless. When we give kids the idea that cops are the enemy it makes them distrust the police because they are racist, when in reality most police officers do their job well. And because of the unhealthy anti-police climate which has been fostered by propaganda like this, cops like Michael Chesna are hesitant to pull the trigger on “unarmed” people like Manny Lopes, because they don’t want to me the next subject of an Angie Thomas book. And when that happens cops die. It’s disgusting that a public high school in Massachusetts would be feeding into this climate by putting this book on their list (when there are so many great books to choose from) right after the murder of Sean Gannon.
The principal of Belmont High School is Daniel Richards. If you’d like to share a well thought out email expressing in a respectful manner why you take issue with his school mandating this book for incoming freshmen, here’s his email: [email protected]