THUG LIFE and the cycle of hatred


The title of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is a reference to a quote by the hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur about the expression THUG LIFE. On the surface level, this expression can be taken to mean a life of strength and independence, but it has also been associated with a criminal lifestyle in some cases. 

However, Tupac argued that the expression is actually an acronym which means “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody”. This interpretation of THUG LIFE is referenced both in the title of the novel and several times as the plot unfolds. The first time this happens is during Starr’s car ride with Khalil, just before they are stopped by One-Fifteen:

“Listen! The Hate U - the letter U - Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody. T-H-U-G L-I-F-E. Meaning what society gives us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out. Get it?” (Chapter 1, 86%)

The idea behind Khalil’s explanation is that if people are oppressed when they grow up - as African Americ...

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