Author Angie Thomas' young adult novel "The Hate U Give" has been removed from a Texas school district after a parent complained about the graphic language featured in the book.
"The Hate U Give" revolves around Starr Carter, an American teen living in a rough neighborhood whose best friend is shot to death by police, igniting a nationwide conversation about police brutality. For 39 weeks, the book has been at the top of the New York Times Best Seller List but last month, the acclaimed book was pulled by Katy Independent School District in Texas. A total of 23 schools – 15 junior high schools and eight high schools – will no longer carry the book as a result.
On Nov. 6, a white parent of two Memorial Parkway Junior High school students attending a school board forum stood up in front of the crowd to call out the book's use of vulgarity.
“My question is, ‘Who reviews the books that goes into our junior high schools?'” the parent asked at the meeting, where he read aloud some of the passages with profanity. “This is absolutely crazy.” The district is still deciding whether or not the book will be permanently banned.
In a string of tweets, Thomas expressed her outrage over the decision after finding out from her publisher stating that she wrote the book to show "how little the value is given to black lives."
I'm saddened to hear that a school district in Texas banned #TheHateUGive, but I'm also empowered - you're basically telling the kids of the Garden Heights of the world that their stories shouldn't be told. Well, I'm going to tell them even louder. Thanks for igniting the fire.— Angie Thomas Knows Nothing About the THUG trailer (@angiecthomas) December 1, 2017
A second tweet even acknowledges that the language may be an issue to some but the message is the most valuable element of the book and she urged people to see that.
I get it - some educators have an issue with the language. I will not criticize anyone for that. But I wrote it because I have a HUGE issue with how little value is given to black lives. I can only hope that you'll look past the curse words and see that.— Angie Thomas Knows Nothing About the THUG trailer (@angiecthomas) December 1, 2017
But Maria DiPetta, a manager of media relations for the school system, told Quartz the book is not banned from school grounds and that is common procedure for the district. Students can still write book reports if they wanted to or bring it to school.
"It’s based solely on pervasive vulgarity, not based on substantive content or any message that’s been relayed in this book,” she said.