I just saw the film, The Hate You Give (THUG) — a must-see movie, by the way. In my humble opinion, if the TV series featuring OPRF High School, America to Me, does not explore one of the issues that the main character in THUG struggles with — coexisting in two very different worlds (one poor and black, the other affluent and white), then America to Me missed a prime opportunity to explore an important dilemma for many African-American adolescents who will eventually find themselves in a situation similar to the main character in THUG.

She is an African-American girl from a poor, inner-city neighborhood who attends an affluent, predominantly white high school. She’s smart, outgoing, from a healthy, intact, two-parent family, and she has no emotional or psychological problems. She’s merely trying to adapt to being a teenager who goes between two very different subcultures —one neighborhood poor and black vs. an upper-middle-class predominantly white private school. 

America to Me hopefully will address this important issue and take a break from solely focusing on black kids with a myriad of personal, family and/or academic challenges. The main character of THUG (Starr) is a normal black teenager who acknowledges that, as a result of going between these two very different subcultures, she doesn’t 100 percent fit into either world. This is a dilemma we need to better understand so we can guide and support these youngsters as they make their way in this world — the larger world outside their old neighborhoods.

Janice Matthews Rasheed

(Retired) professor, Loyola University Chicago 

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