All American BoysBook - 2015
From Library Staff
A black teenage boy is seen for every stereotype and is at the mercy of the police. There was only one witness to the police brutality of Rashad--a white boy that can't decide if he should stick up for Rashad or keep quiet.
Really, try anything by Jason Reynolds. He is fantastic! In this one, Reynolds and Kiely take a sobering but ultimately heartening look at the Black Lives Matter movement.
"Police violence against people of color is at the center of both authentic examinations of the divisions caused by race and class in today's America." - Autumn Winters (Novelist).
Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing and is brutally beaten by the police. A classmate witnesses this act of violence and has to determine what course of action to take.
Rashad did nothing wrong, but the police think he did it. As punishment the law enforcement beat him on the streets, but one of Rashad's classmates sees the interaction and is torn between standing up for Rashad or doing the easy thing and walking away.
From the critics
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He wasn't strong because he wasn't afraid. No, he was strong because he kept doing it even though he was afraid. (p. 289)
Say what? To hold your head up? That everything would be okay? Baby, I could tell by the look on your face that you ain't need none of that. Sometimes, when people get treated as less than human, the best way to help them feel better is to simply treat them as human. Not as victims. Just you as you. Rashad Butler, before all this. (p. 243)
They were probably afraid, too. Afraid of people like Paul. Afraid of cops in general. Hell, they were probably afraid of people like me. I didn't blame them. I'd be afraid too, even if I was a frigging house like Tooms. But I didn't have to be because my shield was that I was white. (p. 180)
I felt like I'd been doing the same damn thing the last couple of days--trying to stare so hard at my own two feet so I wouldn't have to look up and see what was really going on. And while I'd been doing that, I'd been walking in the wrong directions.
I didn't want to walk away anymore. (p. 185)
But here are the words that kept ricocheting around me all day: Nobody says the words anymore, but some how the violence still remains. If I didn't want the violence to remain, I had to do a hell of a lot more than just say the right things and not say the wrong things. (p. 218)
“Because racism was alive and real as shit. It was everywhere and all mixed up in everything, and the only people who said it wasn’t, and the only people who said, “Don’t talk about it” were white. Well, stop lying. That’s what I wanted to tell those people. Stop lying. Stop denying. That’s why I was marching. Nothing was going to change unless we did something about it. We! White people!”
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