Adolescence, Blackness, and the Politics of Respectability in Monster and The Hate U Give
"Whether or not you call it Black Lives Matter, whether or not you put a hashtag in front of it, whether or not you call it The Movement for Black Lives, all of that is irrelevant. Because there was resistance before Black Lives Matter, and there will be resistance after Black Lives Matter. — Legal scholar Patricia J. Williams comments on this phenomenon with regard to Columbine shooters Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, young white men who, even after committing mass murder, left the media and the predominantly white community of Littleton, Colorado in disbelief: “Still their teachers and classmates continue to protest that they were good kids, good students, solid citizens. In these recent examples, we see the insidious echoes of nineteenth-century racial science, how white adolescence is perceived as a developmental stage on the way to the “higher and more completely human traits” (in the words of G. Stanley Hall), while black adolescence is constructed as developmentally stagnant, with no projected arrival point for personhood or civic participation. To explore this question, this essay considers two celebrated young adult novels by African American authors, Walter Dean Myers’s Monster (1999) and Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give (2017)."