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  • Jessica-HernandezSpeer

 Día de Muertos

We invite you to add stories or anecdotes about a departed family member, public figure, or literary character to our group Día de Muertos altar. What is a Día de Muertos Oferenda? Traditionally the ofrenda is presented in one’s home in order to commemorate the souls of loved ones in the family who have died. We want you to commemorate […]

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With a serious beard!

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Well, Dee didn't like much of anything part of living in the country.

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Yes! That's exactly what it was, even though it didn't have that name yet.

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I see her as kind of in between the two daughters in her level of confidence…More confident than Maggie, less confident than Dee.

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At least in terms of natural abilities, like innate intelligence, if not material things.

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That's what he heard, yes.

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It seems that it happens very often.

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So did the pawn broker.

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Exactly. If it is as magical as he believes, he thinks that he could bring her back.

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Still passed out from the liquid “imagination.”

AKA drunk as heck. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Definition

Aleuts are American Indians from Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Liquid imagination. Oh dear.

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It's a quest! A hero's journey!

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Allusion

This was a public service announcement in the 1970s. The “Indian” is an Italian-American actor. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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“Indianizing” the metaphor

I like how he takes the phrase “flip the bird” for giving someone the middle finger and changes the “bird” into “eagle”, since the eagle is an important symbol for many Indian groups/tribes/nations. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Look again…

the previous paragraph says that he tried college, jobs, and family life. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Inference

When you stay with family or friends, it’s not the same as being in your own place. There are rules you didn’t make but you have to follow them or you can’t stay there, and after a while most people don’t really expect you to stay for a long time Sometimes getting help is as hard as trying to do […]

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Explanation

It means that he didn’t just leave all of a sudden, or one day decided to go cheat on his wives/girlfriends, but stuck around long enough with his bad habits to disappoint them and break their hearts. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Yes, in theory.

A lot of Black people changed their names to African names they had chosen, since their enslaved ancestors almost definitely didn’t get to choose their names. However, Dee’s Mother knows all the names of her ancestors back through the Civil War, which is not something everyone can say. Dee’s name actually does have history behind it. Print this page. Author […]

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Hm, I don't see the connection between these two ideas.

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Correct. Maggie is more accepting of her mother's traditional ways and is closer to her in general.

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Dee is not doing the handshake; her boyfriend/husband/whateverheis is trying to do a complicated handshake with Maggie.

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Yes, that seems to be what she is doing. If not better, than at least different. She wants to set herself apart from them somehow.

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Maggie wasn't just unhappy…what happened to her in that fire?

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He's not a barber. It's just the only word the narrator could pick out from an unfamiliar-sounding name.

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“Asalaamaleikum” means “Peace be upon you” in the Arabic language.

It is a very common greeting in Arabic-speaking countries, and among Muslims in any country. It became more common to hear in in the USA at this time because of the influence of the Nation of Islam and Malcolm X as an African American leader. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Very surprised. She had never seen anyone who looked like that before.

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Historical and cultural context

This was the early 70s, when many Black Americans were beginning to reconnect to the idea of Africa and their connection to it. Many could not know exactly where in Africa their ancestors had come from, so they adapted spiritual practices, like Islam and animism, learned phrases from African languages and wore African clothing and traditional hairstyles. Dee came home […]

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This might be what the house looked like: https://images.app.goo.gl/uigrbGAXBDC3Xmhq8

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[Draft] Retell a Short Story

You’ll get an in-depth view of the voice, plot, characters, and other literary elements of a story by looking at it through different eyes. We invite you to… Retell a story through different eyes by changing WHO tells the story, WHAT parts of the story get retold, and HOW the story is told. Remix and retell a story in your […]

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Here's the thing: Dee had intellectual intelligence, and her mother and sister had practical intelligence.

Both kinds are valuable, and both are necessary. But Dee didn’t know that at the time. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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They lived in Georgia, in the country, during segregation. There were no classes to take for Black girls to learn to be film stars.

This might be what the house looked like: https://images.app.goo.gl/uigrbGAXBDC3Xmhq8 Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Since Dee was book-smart and world-smart, she read and saw TV about a world different from the way she lived, and started hating the way she lived.

The house was a simple country house, and she wanted more than that. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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The mother is saying, you can dream all you want, but this is what I look like and what I do in my life.

And she says it without judgment; just a statement of fact. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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This was back in the late 1960s, when television was working hard to create images of what people should want to be, want to do, want to have….

…and there were not a lot of Black people seen on television yet. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Maggie assumes everything has been easy, and therefore better, for her sister, but it's not necessarily true.

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This really illustrates the difference between city and country living.

You spend more time outside in the country, so outside spaces are also kept orderly for being in. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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He had Jimmy Fallon's job a long time ago.

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clarification

There is a typo here…this word is “serious”. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Check out and comment on “The Parable of the Lost Son” https://nowcomment.com/documents/lostsonparable

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Great text-text connection!

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She's also trying to protect herself.

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Remember that they have known each other since they were children…

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The author isn't saying they should stop crying; it's what the authors of this other book were saying. Kendi is interpreting that for us.

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Hailey is smart, but she uses her power for evil instead of good.

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Yes. It's impossible to know if she intended to be racist. All we know is that it came across that way, and she needs to at least acknowledge that to Starr. The fact that she won't makes her even more wrong.

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well, the man who shot him did NOT want equality. period.

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Yes. An incredibly racist statement, intended to hurt Starr.

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Great comparison!

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Both kinds of fire – figurative, meaning, not a real fire, but a fiery, angry movement, and literal fire, since they burned so-called “witches” to death.

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Can you explain to me what is ironic about this situation?

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Language

I like how he FEELS the odor of frying bacon; it’s not just a smell. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Good bad habits…is that like good trouble?

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Yes. It is both larger than life, like a dream, and also terribly, frighteningly real.

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In 1619, there were very few people who could read the Bible for themselves.

That’s how Zurara and people who agreed with him were able to use the Bible as a justification for slavery. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Bigly big.

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Metacomet, a self-aware shooting star? I love it.

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Yes. And to do that, we have to go back 600 years or so.

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Definition of “smoker”

In this case, a “smoker” was the name for a pornographic show, either live or filmed. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Malicious compliance.

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Response

Oh, yes, That is a painful boomerang moment for nearly everyone. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Observation

He seems to be using a 1-to-1 relationship between the words “Blackness” and “invisibility”, between “Black” and “invisible”, such that the title could read, “The Black Man”. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Definition

For younger readers, reefer is an older term for weed/marijuana. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Interpretation

I read this as the bad side of whiteness, the whiteness which has always been legitimized as “correct”. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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He can be mad…

…but he can’t change the whole country, lie, cheat, riot, send people to violent because he’s mad he lost the election. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Pa’lante Siempre

That means “Forward always” in Spanish; the speaker referring to the next Representative as “the gentleman from….excuse me, the gentlewoman from…” reminds us that we have to be flexible, we have to be willing to adapt and change. There have been female Representatives for 105 years, but some people’s world view and language still haven’t caught up. Print this page. […]

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Good connection!

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The only part in sharp focus is the worried, waiting face.

The rest is blurry, unclear. She doesn’t know what’s coming, but it’s worrisome. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Right. You have to be able to take what you dish out.

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Speculation

I wonder if he thought he had to tie up a car like you tie up a horse to a post… Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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She must still feel some type of way about Khalil…

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He seems much more open-minded.

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Speculation

I hope there were no concussions inflicted in the name of Jesus… Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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This means something different than what it looks like. Khalil means, “where have you been? I don’t know what you’ve been doing or how you’ve been because you never text me or anyone we know.”

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Keep reading. It will make sense.

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These are very old ways of believing the way men and women should behave in society…but society is always changing.

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This is still true a century later.

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He’s been told the way he has to be all his life. Humans adapt even to bad situations in order to survive. In time he might get used to a new idea about how Black people can be in the world, but when we meet him, he is not there yet.

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48/6

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48/6

My six word memoir.

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Illustration

https://www.google.com/search?q=pear+tree+in+bloom&safe=strict&rlz=1C9BKJA_enUS902US903&hl=en-US&prmd=isnv&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi-19i1yZvtAhURTDABHZKHByMQ_AUoAXoECB8QAQ&biw=1366&bih=905#imgrc=QQr-G6D1uB-m-M Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Summary

She knows Janie doesn’t love Logan Killicks; she just wants her “safe” in a legitimate marriage and home. Janie wants more for herself; she wants to feel safe and loved in her soul, and to feel love for someone as well. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Interpretation

Nanny can say she wants Janie to have a better life than she did, but seems to be setting her up for the same misery. She knows she is keeping the cycle going, but doesn’t know how to stop it. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Or if she does speak to them, but they don’t like the way she does it.

Nowadays this is someone “telling you about yourself” Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Divide and conquer

If you make sure people are fighting each other, they are distracted from fighting you. That’s what segregation in the USA was about, too. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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This was the law in our own country up to about 50 years ago.

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Different priorities

I like that Starr’s parents made the choice to spend money on their children’s education rather than a fancy house they couldn’t afford. They are focused on the inside, not outside appearances. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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That makes us all feel nervous.

When we can’t be our natural selves, it feels uncomfortable. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Easier said than done.

Once you are in the situation, it’s a lot harder to do what you always say you are going to do. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Mav reminds me of Miss Moore from “The Lesson”, by Toni Cade Bambara.

In that story, Miss Moore was the only person they knew who’d gotten a college education. She returned to Harlem and made sure that she interacted with the young people so that they might think they could go to college, too. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Yes. She feels conflicted.

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A bag of weed.

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It's more that they have to follow orders of the club bosses.

They have nothing against each other personally, but the bosses said they have to settle it this way. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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You would think a bullet in the back of her head would kill her, but it didn't.

I know, unbelievable! But it’s true. Sorry for the spoiler, but she survived that. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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She did not betray her father in this moment.

In this moment, the person she betrayed was Khalil, because when Hailey, her bossy white friend, wants to know if she knew Khalil, she lied and said she did not know him. She felt very bad about it as soon as she said that. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Not so much a sin as a bad luck omen…

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He didn’t engage with them, and they didn’t understand that. They understood they were supposed to help him and take care of him, which involves time and talking. But he wasn’t about that anymore.

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It’s good that she realizes this. Now we have to see what she does with the information.

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Well, puberty messes with everyone’s heads, but especially the author’s, since he was brought up so religiously.

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Well, puberty messes with everyone’s heads, but especially the author’s, since he was brought up so religiously.

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Inner freedom, the most important.

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Inner freedom, the most important.

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I feel it's like this with any gift – poetry, music, acting, comedy.

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I feel it's like this with any gift – poetry, music, acting, comedy.

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We know more about addiction now than when Baldwin wrote this…that it's about more than will power, or seeing the beauty in life…

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We know more about addiction now than when Baldwin wrote this…that it's about more than will power, or seeing the beauty in life…

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I don't know what “dicty” means, but I'm going to infer that it has something to do with “dictate”….so, bossy, tyrannical, I think.

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I don't know what “dicty” means, but I'm going to infer that it has something to do with “dictate”….so, bossy, tyrannical, I think.

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This is kind of beautiful.

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This is kind of beautiful.

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That could definitely mess someone up for the rest of his life.

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That could definitely mess someone up for the rest of his life.

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Most pre-colonial cultural groups were POLYTHEISTIC

Meaning that they had multiple gods and goddesses – of the air, the water, sun, moon, fire, etc. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Most pre-colonial cultural groups were POLYTHEISTIC

Meaning that they had multiple gods and goddesses – of the air, the water, sun, moon, fire, etc. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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They were different cultural groups, with different languages and customs.

Kind of like Indian tribes here in the Americas. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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They were different cultural groups, with different languages and customs.

Kind of like Indian tribes here in the Americas. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Well, seems like English wasn't the most important thing after all…

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Well, seems like English wasn't the most important thing after all…

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Here is what he looked like:

https://i.redd.it/ee4aops727221.jpg Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Here is what he looked like:

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This is a perfect example of how race is a social construct.

You could see that it was him, but the people looking at the video already had constructed in their mind that this was a white person, so they couldn’t conceive that it could be Trevor. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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This is a perfect example of how race is a social construct.

You could see that it was him, but the people looking at the video already had constructed in their mind that this was a white person, so they couldn’t conceive that it could be Trevor. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Nooooooooo…..!

So, what does this teach us? You might as well try! All they can say is no. And they might say yes. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Nooooooooo…..!

So, what does this teach us? You might as well try! All they can say is no. And they might say yes. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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They used divide and conquer.

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It's crazy that you have to submit paperwork on what race you are.

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No wonder he became a chameleon.

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Every anthropology major (like me)has to read about the Khoisan, but I always confused the word with the word “Xhosa”. Now it's clear.

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There's her humor superpower!

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What a painful decision to have to make. And far too many people have to make it every day.

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There it is.

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Andrew was probably in shock, too, but had to get Trevor there.

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It is brilliant logic, and I would probably do the same. But I don't think it will end well…

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Living in limbo is difficult, for sure.

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What an important change…

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I appreciate that he could make this distinction. He breaks things down so skillfully.

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Bruh.

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I guess he wanted the challenge of changing her.

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Yet Abel did not even pretend to claim Trevor as his son, so why prohibit the visits?

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This is an unrealistic expectation. It isn't the culture in which she was raised.

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I'm amazed that he still thought he could get away with lying to his mom…especially HIS mom.

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Maxwell:https://i.pinimg.com/originals/a4/77/53/a477538fc19737fbb724f50455540280.jpg

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It's corny, but I'll say it anyway: knowledge is power.

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I like how he breaks down this process.

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Mexican culture has so much more to offer than fashion design for gangsters.

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Further proof that there is a blueprint, physical and ideological, for empire.

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Ironic.

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It seems like a good idea, but since prison doesn't follow all the rules it should, people get hurt, killed, or misrepresented all the time.

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He is talking about the stock market crash of 1929,which was a major beginning of the Great Depression.

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Can you explain what you mean?

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So if the Finches are poor, and the Cunninghams are poor, what’s the difference? Is one family poorer?

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The Finch family is a little bit different than their neighbors…

The father is older, and has a college education and a law degree. The children probably just started calling him his name because they heard others call him that, and he didn’t correct them because it doesn’t bother him. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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The Finch family is a little bit different than their neighbors…

The father is older, and has a college education and a law degree. The children probably just started calling him his name because they heard others call him that, and he didn’t correct them because it doesn’t bother him. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Exactly. He didn't have money to pay him, so he paid him with food. This happened a lot in the Great Depression.

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He did it on a dare, since Boo Radley is the Neighborhood Creepy Guy.

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Seven is the brother's NAME, like someone might have the name Septimo in Spanish.

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To each according to need, from each according to ability, Bongani’s got kind of a Marxist vibe.

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Look at the next sentence:”…this is way stronger than I’m used to.”

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Humans are usually afraid of something we can’t see but we know is there. We tend to fear the unknown.

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Since he never comes out, they have to use their imagination to try to understand why.

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You could look at photos if you have any….

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Well, more people means there is more possibility for problems, I think. She is smart and tries not to take unnecessary risks.

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Yes, it was something like that.

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No, it’s just one church organized to play ball against another church.

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It’s a small town in the South. Lots of boys started hunting when they were young.

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The Dalai Lama says, “learn the rules in order to break them properly”.

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If he did something wrong, I hope he has to pay consequences. The same standard should apply to police as to people who are not police.

Yes, the police must enforce the law, but they must also live by the same laws as everyone else. Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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The fishing rod is the job.

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Sounds like South African chopped cheese!

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Andrew Jackson enacted the Trail of Tears:

The Trail of Tears was a series of forced relocations of approximately 60,000 Native Americans between 1830 and 1850 by the United States government. Members of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations (including thousands of their black slaves) were forcibly removed from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States to areas to the west of the […]

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King Leopold of Belgium: “ I do not want to miss a good chance of getting us a slice of this magnificent African cake.”

WARNING: this is a disturbing image. https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/king-leopold-1280×720.jpg Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Cecil Rhodes:

“The native is to be treated as a child and denied franchise )the right to vote). We must adopt a system of despotism…in our relations with the barbarism of South Africa.” Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Did they do that because you saw something happen?

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I hope he is thinking about that. I hope he is thinking about the weight of his actions.

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See, I would never have thought about it that way. This is why we need to read.

How else would I know that there are millions of people who think about an event I’m familiar with in such an unfamiliar way? Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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Well, so, he got a K-12 education and a street education.

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Winamp was a media app he used

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And this is Alexandra. Big difference.

https://infrastructurenews.co.za/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2015/02/Shacks-in-Alexandra-Township-800×600.jpg Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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This is Soweto…

https://www.outlookindia.com/outlooktraveller/resizer.php?src=https://www.outlookindia.com/outlooktraveller/public/uploads/articles/explore/South-West-Township-in-Johannesburg-,South-Africa.jpg&w=500&h=400 Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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This is where the bootstrap expectation doesn’t work.

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Here’s Bolo Yeung and Bruce Lee. I don’t know what John might have looked like.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91q0L7G5EDL._AC_SX425_.jpg Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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They need to get angry, and do constructive things with the anger.

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Ew.

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His Malcolm X moment.

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Oh man. The friend zone.

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Trevor saw the difference between why and how his mother hit him, for discipline and love, and why and how Abel hit the other kid, to satisfy his anger.

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That’s heavy.

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So important; she remembered that having a child with someone means you are going to have that person in your life somehow forever, even if they are not your romantic partner any more.

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Maybe it’s not the same as having someone there every single day, but he was a regular, steady presence in his life, which is huge. It could even be better than being there every day and fighting all the time.

Print this page. Author Ms. Hernandez-Speer

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A question for the ages.

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Wow. Some people never learn this. He is definitely lucky. Dogs are amazing.

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Foomp. He invented a new example of onomatopoeia.

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I like the subway

I said in my Quicklist that I like riding the subway, which I mostly do. I’m a native New Yorker and have almost always depended on the subway. However, my current job isn’t on any subway line, so I drive to and from work. I wish I didn’t have to, because parking and traffic are both nightmares and add a […]

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Recent Posts

With a serious beard!

Well, Dee didn't like much of anything part of living in the country.

Yes! That's exactly what it was, even though it didn't have that name yet.

I see her as kind of in between the two daughters in her level of confidence…More confident than Maggie, less confident than Dee.

At least in terms of natural abilities, like innate intelligence, if not material things.

That's what he heard, yes.

It seems that it happens very often.

So did the pawn broker.

Exactly. If it is as magical as he believes, he thinks that he could bring her back.

Still passed out from the liquid “imagination.”

Definition

Liquid imagination. Oh dear.

It's a quest! A hero's journey!

Allusion

“Indianizing” the metaphor

Look again…

Inference

Explanation

Yes, in theory.

Hm, I don't see the connection between these two ideas.

Correct. Maggie is more accepting of her mother's traditional ways and is closer to her in general.

Dee is not doing the handshake; her boyfriend/husband/whateverheis is trying to do a complicated handshake with Maggie.

Yes, that seems to be what she is doing. If not better, than at least different. She wants to set herself apart from them somehow.

Maggie wasn't just unhappy…what happened to her in that fire?

He's not a barber. It's just the only word the narrator could pick out from an unfamiliar-sounding name.

“Asalaamaleikum” means “Peace be upon you” in the Arabic language.

Very surprised. She had never seen anyone who looked like that before.

Historical and cultural context

This might be what the house looked like: https://images.app.goo.gl/uigrbGAXBDC3Xmhq8

Here's the thing: Dee had intellectual intelligence, and her mother and sister had practical intelligence.

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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