Today at the top is center back and Scottish international Hannah Godfrey.
Ramble of the Day
Over the weekend, I watched The Hate U Give, a film that I’ve been urged to watch for about a year now. It’s successful for a lot of reasons, mainly that it conveys genuinely heavy topics of racial inequality and police brutality while telling a coming-of-age story through its main character, Starr Carter, played wonderfully by Amandla Stenberg. (If you want to get a better idea of the film, I will recommend Alissa Wilkinson’s review for Vox.)
The thing that impressed me most about The Hate U Give was its layers; it did the work of weaving a story about code switching and microaggressions alongside one about police shootings of Black people in the United States and what a national reaction looks like. You get fleshed out characters as you watch Starr balances the world she lives in, and the film does the work of showing how layered racial inequality can be.
That naturally came up when those involved with the film did press ahead of its release, and I’m going to share snippets of an interview Ailsa Chang and Mallory Yu did for NPR with George Tillman, Jr., the film’s director, and Angie Thomas, who wrote the novel the film is an adaptation of.
On filming the scene where the children receive ’the talk’ from their father
Tillman: You know, it was a very emotional scene. I remember Russell Hornsby, who plays Mav Carter, would choke up because he has kids himself. I have a 15-year-old son. So it was a very emotional time because in the African-American community, that is something that every kid have been through one way or another. For me, it was with my uncles and my dad. You know, they came out of the MLK riots, you know, in ‘68 with family members in Detroit and Milwaukee, Wis. So all those things were planted inside me.
So in the movie, you know, it’s two young kids who actually hearing the scene for the first time. It was just emotional. This deals with history. This deal with survival and how we can continue to stay on this earth without police brutality or being shot or being killed. You know, this is part of the fear of the African-American community.
On the personal inspiration for Starr’s double life between white and black communities
Thomas: It was a struggle. I did — I lived in a mostly black, poor neighborhood in Jackson, Miss. And I went to a mostly white, upper-class, private school just 10 minutes away from my home. But in 10 minutes, it was like going into an entirely different world. So I overcompensated by doing what’s called code switching.
I would make myself more presentable I thought. I was careful of how I spoke. I was careful of how much emotion I showed. And it was a struggle because so often I was silent on things that mattered to me. And I would experience microaggressions from my classmates, and I was silent about them. I never called out the racism. ...
One time, one of my professors had a party at his house for Christmas, and he had a huge Christmas tree with a big pile of gifts underneath. And we could all pick a gift. And it was like gag gifts, like whoopee cushions and all of this other stuff he was just trying to get rid of. And when it was my turn, I picked a gift. And there was a prescription drug book inside and a toy water gun. And one of my classmates goes, “Oh my God, the black girl from the ghetto got the drug book and the gun, how funny.”
And because some of my classmates were laughing — and I just made myself laugh because I thought I had to. And that was one of those moments where I was so angry at myself for not speaking up. And honestly, that was a defining moment for me because I had to realize that I was worth speaking up for if nothing else, and that they needed to know that even a joke like that is not OK. So for me, that was the moment I said, “You know what? I am not going to be silent again.”
I will mostly let their words speak on their own, but I think it’s worth recognizing that The Hate U Give may be fiction, but it is a reflection of our reality.
Links of the Day
Transfer updates: Roma signed Henrikh Mkhitaryan on a free
A longer read: Lucas Muller reports on a pattern of toxic culture at Real Salt Lake, including accounts of sexist treatment of female players for RSL Soapbox