Tiny Navajo Reads: Dear Martin

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November 15, 2017 by TinyNavajo

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

dear martinAgain, another book about social injustice, but this has been one that has stood out to me more than the others have so far. You can compare along with me to The Hate U Give and All American Boys if you so desire.

In this one, Dear Martin is part of a social experiment Justyce McAllister, the main character, decides to try after he is falsely arrested for trying to help his ex-girlfriend get home.

Justyce goes to a private school where is one of few black students; he’s top of his class and set to go to an Ivy League school once he gets out of high school. But none of that matters to the police officer as he puts the handcuffs on Justyce. After a social racism discussion in his history class the next day, where several of his classmates state that racism is no longer a problem, but he knows that it is based on personal experience, Justyce decides to look to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings for answers to his questions about race. But do these teachings still hold weight? Or have things changed so much that Dr. King’s teachings no longer apply to the world?

As Justyce starts his experiment, he starts a journal, writing to Dr. King as well, documenting what he’s trying to do. As he progresses through the year, Justyce realizes that things are different. There are many things that he’s kept his eyes closed to when it comes to everyday racism, and he’s hoping that he can come to terms with it. But all things come to a head when he’s driving with his best friend Manny, with their music too loud, next to an off-duty cop. As words are exchanged, shots are fired and Manny is killed. In the aftermath, it’s not the cop who is under scrutiny, but Justyce.

A lot of the books I’ve read this past semester have dealt with big issues, but this and the previous two similar to this have made an impact on me. I’m not sure it’s an impact that I would have liked to have, but it’s one that I have anyway. I think I’m lucky in some ways, I don’t think that racism has affected as much as it has affected others. I’m not sure if it’s affected me at all, really. But I know that my skin color and how I identify myself does affect me in some ways. It may not be in ways that I notice or see, but it does affect me.

Do you think of things like this? Why or why not? What has changed to make you think of things like this? Comment below and let me know.

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