Our Masterpieces...Err, Our Novels

Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for...Hate Crimes

Controversial Song of the Day: "Hate Everything About You" by Three Days Grace

For the entire month of April, we'll be participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Our theme for the month? CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS IN YA. Check out the link above for other awesome blogs participating.

Picture taken from crimesafety365.com
With the recent murder of Trayvon Martin, the fact that hate crimes is a problem in our country has become even more apparent (even though WE are not saying this was necessarily a hate crime). Unfortunately, hate crimes are part of American culture, so much so that several states have laws that protect individuals from being discriminated against or violated due to their gender, race, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. 

I deal with teens on a daily basis who make comments that they don't realize could be considered a hate crime--saying things like what another kid is wearing "looks gay" or asking if someone is black just because they have a name that sounds ethnic. I try my best to educate these students, but I think if they read a few novels, they might learn a little bit more.

There are several YA novels that they can turn to:

Freaks and Revelations by Davida Wills Hurwan

The Hate Crime by Phyllis Karas

Shine by Lauren Myracle

What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum Ucci

I haven't outright heard anyone complain about the discussion  of hate crimes in YA novels. However, I am sure that are several parents who would not want their children to read books about gay teens being bashed by fellow classmates. It's too negative, too harsh, too...real.

What do you all think-- should YA writers keep creating novels focused on teens and hate crimes? Is your novel centered around this topic?


Stephsco said...

Thanks for that list - there are a few I hadn't heard of that I'll definitely check out.

I set my novel (work in progress) in the early 1960s which inevetibly brought out racial tension. It's difficult to write about but I think it's necessary. And sadly, 50 years later, while we've accomplished a lot, hate crimes still exist. They just aren't tolerated as much so at least we're moving in the right direction.

It's interesting to note though that hate crimes against African Americans are more often recognized as actual crimes, but hate crimes against gays or muslims might not be taken as seriously.

Daisy Carter said...

I love Myracle, but I haven't read Shine yet. I'll have to add it to my list. Came over from A-Z - new follower!

Katy said...

Thanks for sharing a few titles dealing with hate crimes. The only one on your list I've heard of is SHINE (which has been on my TBR for ages!), but I'm definitely intrigued by the others as well.

Another timely and meaningful topic, girls. :)

Emily Moir said...

I haven't heard of any of those books. I'll have to check them out. Thanks for sharing.