Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely's ALL AMERICAN BOYS is sure to change the way you see yourself and others .....
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." ~ Desmond Tutu
The quote above which I discovered for the first time in reading this book says so much about the community responsibility we all have towards one another. I have read literally over a hundred books this year, and I can honestly say that very few have impacted me afterwards the way that ALL AMERICAN BOYS has. Even though I am a 40 year old man of color living in Mississippi I have not experienced the blatant racism and discrimination that others have, but a book like this shows that you don't have to have experienced the events personally to be impacted and changed by them.
What authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely have done is take what is a storyline that has become all too familiar and showed through fiction that things don't change until we do. Through the characters Rashad and Quinn we are able to see how quickly life can change and how people take sides not necessarily based on truth but the connection we feel with one person over another.
Does discrimination and profiling exist? Yes. Does it make all people who look like the guilty or accused bad? No. And those two questions are great reminders as we go through life. In one night both Rashad and Quinn's lives were changed, but it was up to them how they allowed the events to shape them moving forward. Told in their respective voices, ALL AMERICAN BOYS highlights the need to get to know those around us, to understand what others are experiencing and to speak out when others feel they have no voice.
Deeply moving and sure to leave a imprint on your soul, this book and the story it tells is not one you will be able to easily let go.
Cyrus Webb is the President of Conversations Media Group, host of Conversations LIVE Radio, Conversations Magazine and Conversations Book Club.