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“Hey, Will, I said into the picture. This is for you. Ma’s always telling us to take responsibility. That we have to live up to what dad died for. We need to get good grades and go to college and take advantage of every damn minute of our lives because he died for us. I believe that. But I believe he died for this, too. If he died for freedom and justice-well, what the hell did he die for if it doesn’t count for all of us”(293)?
Quinn declares his father’s legacy and the true meaning of All American. American values should be given to all citizens regardless of race and that is what Quinn is protesting for. He is trying to emphasize that if freedom and justice doesn’t count for every American then what did their dad die for? Quinn is trying to pass down the values of what it means to be a American to his brother so he shows what his dad died for.
“I just wanted him to stop beating me. I just wanted to live. Each blow earthquake my insides, crushing parts of me and never seen, parts of me I never knew were there. ‘Fuckin thug’s can’t do what you’re told. Need to learn how to respect authority. And I’m gonna teach you, he taunted, and was whispering in my ear”(25).
Rashad s thoughts of being beaten shows how brutal Officer Paul Galluzzo attack was. Rashad is not even sure if he will survive. Officer Galluzzo is clearly using a level of force that is immensely unnecessary for the situation with Rashad. Furthermore Officer Galluzzo’s comments about “fuckin thugs” show that his attack on Rashad is not personally aimed at Rashad but an act motivated by his prejudice against African-Americans and his need to show his power.
“All I wanted to do was see the guy I hadn’t seen one week earlier. The guy beneath all the bullshit too many of us see first-especially white guys like me who just haven’t worked hard enough to look behind it all”(309).
This quote represents Quinn’s realization of how to fight racism by him and his fellow white Americans learning to see individuals as they truly are rather than their stereotypes. and shows his own maturity. This quote also shows Quinn growing as a young man. For Quin, learning to see others as they truly are and taking his own time and effort to do so shows that he is truly learning about who he wants to be. He realizes that the nation needs to see people how they truly are to fight against racism.
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