Category: One Sentence

One Sentence #2: Friday Black

One Sentence #2: Friday Black

It’s been a few months since I read Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. I picked it up because I was looking for a collection of short stories by a Black author that would be appropriate for middle schoolers. This is NOT that collection. Here’s why:

The court had ruled that because the children were basically loitering and not actually inside the library reading, as one might expect of productive members of society, it was reasonable that Dunn had felt threatened by these five black young people and, thus, he was well within his rights when he protected himself, his library-loaned DVDs, and his children by going into the back of his Ford F-150 and retrieving his Hawtech PRO eighteen-inch 48cc chain saw.

The chainsaw was to cut their heads off. Seriously. This first story (“The Finkelstein 5”) left me feeling sick, not so much because of its violence, but because of how horrifyingly plausible it felt. Brutally intense, powerful, and necessary, the stories in Friday Black speak to the horrific violence that Black Americans face every day.

One Sentence: Ijeoma Oluo

One Sentence: Ijeoma Oluo

I recently read So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo, and the following sentence stood out as one that encapsulates much of Oluo’s message throughout the book:

Even if we were to flip a switch today and end all racism and racial oppression, millions of people of color would still be disadvantaged by racial oppression of yesterday, and that would need to be addressed with policies like affirmative action that seek to replace opportunities previously denied unless we feel like leaving an entire generation in the dust and hope that their children will be able to rise from those ashes.

In the past month or two, I’ve seen quite a few people say “being nice isn’t enough.” It’s not enough to simply eliminate overtly prejudiced statements and actions. We won’t have justice or equity unless we work to right the wrongs of the past, to provide people of color what they have been refused for so long.