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Ms. Ofrah calls to inform Starr that the grand jury will announce their decision that day. Starr texts Chris, and he drives to pick her up.
Starr lies on Chris’s bed. She asks Chris if he thinks the jury will indict One-Fifteen. Chris asks what she thinks, and she admits she doesn’t think they will. She asks Chris why he’s dating her instead of a white girl like Hailey, and Chris insists Starr is beautiful and perfect. Starr wants to stop thinking about the grand jury and begins to kiss Chris. She tries to take off his jeans, but Chris stops her. He promises he wants to have sex with her, but not when she’s in a bad mental state.
Seven calls to ask if Starr has seen DeVante. DeVante left Uncle Carlos’s house, and nobody knows where he went. Starr tells Seven to pick her and Chris up so they can help search. When Seven arrives, he’s on the phone with Kenya. Something is wrong with DeVante. They drive to Iesha’s house.
Kenya calls the teens into a bedroom where DeVante lies bleeding. Kenya explains how she tried to stop King, but he pushed her out of the way. Iesha enters. Seven begs her to help, but Iesha says DeVante deserved it and anyone who helps him will get beat up too, especially Starr.
Iesha orders Seven to get DeVante, Kenya and Lyric out of her house. Seven protests at her throwing Kenya and Lyric out, but Iesha stands firm. While Seven and Chris help DeVante into the car, Starr watches Iesha flirt with King in the backyard. She realizes Iesha is distracting him. DeVante comments how lucky they were that Iesha helped them, but Seven doesn’t understand. Starr explains that Iesha wanted them to take Kenya and Lyric because King will react violently when he realizes DeVante escaped. Seven tries to go back to protect Iesha. Starr reminds Seven that Iesha is supposed to protect him.
On the radio, the DJ announces that the grand jury will not indict One-Fifteen.
The teens drive to Seven’s grandmother’s house. Seven vows to help Starr cope with the grand jury news however she wants. Starr wants to protest and riot. Chris asks what rioting will accomplish. Starr argues that she has been threatened and harassed for nothing and begs Chris to try to empathize even if he doesn’t agree. Lyric goes inside, and Kenya decides to accompany her in case Iesha arrives. Seven asks Chris if he should drive Chris home, but Chris resolves to stay.
DeVante finds out that people are heading to Magnolia Street to protest. Seven parks the car at the Just Us for Justice office. As they head to the protest, Chris notices that he stands out because he’s white. Starr asks if he wants to be there. He promises he can handle it because Starr and Seven deal with feeling out of place at Williamson.
Members of both gangs stand on a police car shouting. People attack the car as the crowd raps along to N.W.A.’s “F--- the Police.” For a moment, Starr finds catharsis in the violence, but when people start attacking nearby stores, she recoils. Starr realizes this is not the catharsis she wanted.
Police show up in riot gear. As the violence escalates, the teens flee. DeVante argues that people riot because they are fed up. Starr points out that the people burning things didn’t live in the neighborhood. She suggests they go to the Carter store to help Maverick protect it. Chris asks if Maverick would be OK with Chris joining. DeVante jokes that since Chris can rap along to N.W.A., he might be light-skinned instead of white. The three quiz Chris on food preferences but decide he’s white when Chris calls macaroni and cheese a main course.
A police blockade prevents Seven from driving directly to the store. Chris asks why black people give their children strange names. DeVante and Seven point out that strange is a matter of perspective. As they try to reroute, Seven warns that they will have to go through the east side, where the majority of violence took place during the last riots.
In Chapter Twenty-Two, Starr’s comment that Chris should prefer a blonde girl like Hailey comes right after her doubt in the grand jury, revealing her fear of white people always choosing to privilege white lives over black ones. If the grand jury does not indict One-Fifteen, they choose his life over Khalil’s. Therefore, Starr worries that Chris, as a white boy, would prefe a white girl over her. Chris’s reassurance that he prefers Starr demonstrates that he loves Starr as a whole person, including her blackness. This love for Starr as a whole person shows when Chris refuses to have sex with Starr because he remembers her previous fear of having sex and understands that her rocky emotional state means she cannot truly consent. Chris’s care for Starr in this scene demonstrates that he has lived up to his promise to listen to Starr’s experiences and respect them.
Starr’s final judgement of Iesha demonstrates how Lisa has influenced Starr’s growth over the course of The Hate U Give and that Starr now understands that anyone can change. Throughout the novel, Starr never liked Iesha for good reason, but she still recognizes Iesha’s move to protect Kenya and Lyric in Chapter Twenty-Two. This contrasts with Starr’s anger at Brenda in Chapter Five, where Starr denies Brenda’s feelings as a mother because of her previous mistakes. Lisa’s lessons in compassion allow Starr to notice that despite Iesha’s flaws, she still has put herself in danger of King’s retaliation in order to protect her children. Starr recognizes that Seven’s outburst in Chapter Twenty-One changed Iesha for the better because Iesha has finally stepped up to the role of mother. Therefore, Starr will not let Seven take on the parental role again and protect Iesha, which would push her back into the old pattern.
Although she initially finds the anger cathartic, Starr rejects the riots as a coping mechanism because she doesn’t want to hurt Garden Heights. The blind anger and rage the rioters show evoke Maverick’s words about how every black man has rage within him from slavery and that this rage is dangerous when activated. We see the real danger of this anger here, where in addition to lashing out at those who hurt Garden Heights, the rioters burn the businesses that anchor the community. Because of Maverick, Starr knows that a store can change a community by providing jobs and resources, and also that small businesses like Maverick’s store are sources of incomes for local families. In addition, Starr realizes that many of the people damaging the stores are black people from outside Garden Heights who do not have to live with the consequences of broken stores. While they feel the same rage as black people from within Garden Heights, smashing community resources matters less because they do not rely on those resources. Starr realizes that her style of activism involves anger that leads to building and growth, not destruction.
Read Maverick’s quote about rage.
Chapter Twenty-Three establishes Chris as an ally to black causes and introduces the idea that being an ally is a constant work in progress. Initially, Chris balks at Starr’s anger over the verdict because he is new to learning about how endless the fight against injustice can feel. Nevertheless, when Starr asks him to try and understand how she feels, Chris supports her and even joins in with the crowd’s angry rapping. Significantly, even in their jokes about Chris being “light skinned,” Starr, Seven, and DeVante conclude that Chris cannot be black, emphasizing that blackness is not truly about superficial things like music taste or being able to rap. Coupled with Chris’s misstep about black names, this conclusion emphasizes that even Chris is not free from racist beliefs, but what sets him apart is his willingness to acknowledge his mistakes, listen, and work to change his behavior.
Read more about identity and Blackness as a theme.
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