Review: Tony Medina wrote this graphic novel as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. He based the fictional Alfonso Jones on several of the young men shot by law officers in the last few years.
I specifically asked for this book to review because I’m white and I’m a racist. As the Black Lives Matter grew to prominence, I reacted with contempt and scorn, pushing aside the movement as the petulant rantings of a self-victimizing people.
It was through speaking with a friend several years ago, that I began to question this attitude. Maybe…I was wrong.
I decide to explore the racism in my heart, a journey which has lead me to get involved in my community, listen to voices I previously ignored, contemplate thoughts I previously considered stupid, and – to read books that challenge my own experience and education.
Medina’s book is just such a book. With thick bold lines and dynamic art, Medina weaves the tale of the fictional Alfonso Jones into a narrative of black lives taken through police action. I did not agree with everything Medina said – but I can’t tell if that is because he was actually wrong or because of my own racist perceptions. It seemed as if he was saying that everyone killed by police was innocent of any crime. That isn’t true. But perhaps, that isn’t the point? Guilty or not, every American is entitled to a fair trial and the expectation of safety while under police management. As a white American, I take that expectation as fact. I am learning that for black Americans, it is a lie.
This book did not magically change my thinking. Instead, it is another valuable step in my own journey to understand the struggle of Blacks in America, and my own contribution to that injustice.
I would recommend it as part of any library dedicated to understanding the condition of black Americans and particularly, I recommend this work to anyone looking to understand a perspective outside their own.
Note: I received this free from LibaryThing’s Early Review Program, in exchange for my fair and honest opinion
Bookmarks: 4 of 5
Awards: 2018 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens list (Young Adult Library Services Association) and the New York Public Library's list of Best Books for Teens.
Year Published: 2017
Date Finished: 5-1-2017