A Twitter and Youtube readathon – I am only participating in the blog challenges; maybe I’ll do video for the next one!
Reading challenges I’ve done:
1. Read the Group Book Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
5. Combine your favorite genre with your least favorite format or the opposite
7. Read a book by an author you’ve never read before
Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
How Not to Get Shot (and other advice from white people) by D.L. Hughley and Doug Moe – sent by the fab Lena from Lena’s Notebook
Part 1 – How Not to Get Shot (and other advice from white people) and The Hate u Give
I didn’t plan on reading these books together during the same readathon, but seeing as I happened upon them at the same time, and they did fit two of the reading challenge criteria, here they are. The first book was by an author I’ve never read before. That’s because I knew him from the Original Kings of Comedy – an interesting tidbit, seeing as the second book references this movie. And this isn’t the only way in which the two books overlay their stories. Both books address the #blacklivesmatter movement, although one of them rebrands it as #thehateugive for Gen Z. While there are bits of humour in both, they are structured in a way that doesn’t let one forget the gravity of the matter at hand.
While Hughley’s books has an overall sarcastic tone towards the great ‘advice’ white people carelessly hand out during the aftermath of police brutality, one or two phrases here cut to the core of the issue, without abandoning the humorous tone of the book.
‘When Christopher Columbus got lost, that motherfucker got America. When black people get lost, somebody dies or goes to jail’.
As I write this, #MAGA is trending on Twitter, due to young MAGA supporters taunting Native Americans. Hughley does touch on the Trump era in his book, mentioning that the tensions are aggravating, but this isn’t unexpected, seeing as we didn’t do much better before.
Case in point, his book reminded me of a bit from the Chris Rock show that must’ve been one of the first videos I saw online in middle school. See below.
All in all, as surrealist as both the text and this video sound, this is a reality that the largest American racial minority faces day to day, and the only way of changing it is by getting out and voting when the time comes.
The Hate U Give is a YA novel, my least favourite genre, but it did come in paperback so I’m not about to say no to a book in my favourite format (see reading challenge 5). To be fair, I am a but jealous of the genre, seeing all the great titles that are coming out under it. When I was growing up, our only YA novels were Harry Potter and European ones, because translation took ages reaching our neck of the woods. Today’s YA breaks down teenage dramas in a fictional, non-threatening way for people to process their feelings and environment. And while I’m more than happy this happens, I hate that I had to read a book trying to make young people make sense of their friends’ death in an unfair and corrupt society.
This books takes all the tongue-in-cheek ‘rules’ mentioned by Hughley and Chris Rock regarding a police encounter and gives them depth and context. In Chapter 2, each one of the rules mentioned by Hughley are laid out as one of the characters is being stopped by the police. Needless to say, the encounter doesn’t end well. I don’t want to spoil anything, but from the policeman’s reason to the circumstances of the tragedy, everything is done ‘by the book’. Unfortunately, it’s Hughley’s book. That being said, the book touches on other, regular sixteen-year old issues such as one-sided friendships or relationships. It does borrow something from John Green’s tone, who is mentioned being a fan of the book.
I also read THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas, which comes out in February. It’s truly brilliant, and I think it will become a classic.— John Green (@johngreen) November 18, 2016
Now – the obvious question; what does a white chick from Eastern Europe have to do with all of this? To be fair, my knowledge on police brutality comes from a very different context, as someone who was born right after the fall of communism. But I do know what happens when corrupt people get put in places of power, and why we need to go out and vote. There’s a reason a fifth of my country’s population moved abroad in the last decade, and why we have protests going on daily since August. The same corruption that leads to tragedies such as the ones in these books is affecting every country, on a macro level. So what we can do is read about it, become active voices of our communities, and educate our youth about #thehateugive, hoping they will do better.
Part 2 – Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean