Chapters 16–21

In this best-selling novel, sixteen-year-old Starr's life is turned upside down when she witnesses the death of her friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Learn these words from Angie Thomas's powerful and provocative debut.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. testify
    give a solemn statement in a court of law
    Ms. Ofrah arranged for me to do an interview with one of the national news programs today—exactly a week before I testify before the grand jury next Monday.
  2. develop
    elaborate, as of theories and hypotheses
    “Millions of people around the world have heard the name Khalil Harris,” she says, “and they’ve developed their own ideas of who he was. Who was he to you?”
  3. aspect
    a characteristic to be considered
    “What do you think about people who focus on the not-so-good aspect of him?” she asks. “The fact that he may have sold drugs?”
  4. risk
    expose to a chance of loss or damage
    My uncle’s a cop. I know not all cops are bad. And they risk their lives, you know? I’m always scared for my uncle.
  5. assume
    take to be the case or to be true
    “You wish that more cops wouldn’t make assumptions about black people?” she clarifies.
    “Right. This all happened because he”—I can’t say his name—“ assumed that we were up to no good. Because we’re black and because of where we live. We were just two kids, minding our business, you know? His assumption killed Khalil.
  6. dissect
    analyze by breaking down into components
    The Saturday news programs discussed the interview too, dissecting my words like I’m the president or something.
  7. outraged
    angered at something unjust or wrong
    This one network is outraged by my “disregard for cops.”
  8. minority
    a group of people who differ from a larger group
    Maya nudges my side. “Hey. We minorities have to stick together, remember?”
  9. ghetto
    a poor densely populated city district
    Either I’m poor Starr who saw her friend get killed in a drive-by, or Starr the charity case who lives in the ghetto.
  10. extent
    the point or degree to which something extends
    Being two different people is so exhausting. I’ve taught myself to speak with two different voices and only say certain things around certain people. I’ve mastered it. As much as I say I don’t have to choose which Starr I am with Chris, maybe without realizing it, I have to an extent. Part of me feels like I can’t exist around people like him.
  11. charity
    an institution set up to provide help to the needy
    “He let Khalil come with us to Taco Bell. We were struggling, but Khalil was like our charity case. Everybody knew his momma was a crackhead.”
  12. responsible
    worthy of or requiring trust; held accountable
    “Look, you not responsible for your sisters,” Daddy says, “but I’m responsible for you. And I ain’t letting you pass up opportunities so you can do what two grown-ass people supposed to do.”
  13. mercy
    the act of showing great kindness toward the distressed
    I ask for some mercy, God. That’s all. Mercy for Garden Heights, for Khalil’s family, for Starr. Help all of us through this.
  14. shard
    a broken piece of a brittle artifact
    Glass shards glisten all over Momma’s good sofa. A brick sits in the middle of the floor.
  15. coincidence
    an accidental event that seems to have been arranged
    “It ain’t no damn coincidence that somebody’s trying to scare us the night before she testifies to the grand jury,” Daddy says.
  16. destiny
    a course of events that will inevitably happen in the future
    “‘We want freedom,”’ I say. “'We want the power to determine the destiny of our black and oppressed communities.’”
  17. brutality
    the trait of extreme cruelty
    “‘We want an immediate end to police brutality,”’ I say, “‘and the murder of black people, other people of color, and oppressed people.’”
  18. objective
    the goal intended to be attained
    “And what did Brother Malcolm say is our objective?”
  19. intention
    an anticipated outcome that guides your planned actions
    By any means necessary didn’t keep Brother Malcolm from dying, possibly at the hands of his own people. Intentions always look better on paper than in reality. The reality is, I may not make it to the courthouse in the morning.
  20. adequate
    having the requisite qualities or resources to meet a task
    “Are you serious right now?” Uncle Carlos yells. “You really think gangbangers can provide adequate security?”
  21. insinuate
    suggest in an indirect or covert way; give to understand
    Hell no, I don’t wanna work with criminals, but don’t you ever insinuate I don’t care about any of those kids!
  22. deja vu
    the experience of thinking a new situation already occurred
    We turn onto the street where the courthouse is, and I have one of those weird deja-vu moments.
  23. barricade
    a barrier set up by police to stop traffic on a street
    News vans and trucks are across the street from the courthouse, and police barricades separate them from everybody else.
  24. frenzy
    state of violent mental agitation
    Two traffic lanes separate the courthouse from the media frenzy, but I swear they’re a world away.
  25. clerical
    of or relating to religious officials
    Hundreds of people quietly kneel on the courthouse lawn. Men and women in clerical collars stand at the front of the crowd, their heads bowed.
  26. entourage
    the group following and attending to some important person
    She looks at my entourage. “I’m sorry, but only Starr’s parents are allowed to watch in the TV room.”
  27. colleague
    a person who is member of one's class or profession
    One of Ms. Monroe’s colleagues swears me in, and I promise on the Bible to tell the truth.
  28. jury
    a body of citizens sworn to give a verdict in a court of law
    It’s been over two weeks since I talked to the grand jury, and now we’re waiting for their decision, which is similar to waiting for a meteor to hit.
  29. racist
    discriminatory on the basis of skin color
    “You even accused me of being racist.”
    “But you have said and done some racist stuff.
  30. apologize
    acknowledge faults or shortcomings or failing
    “I’m not apologizing because it was only a joke!” she shouts. “It doesn’t make me a racist.
  31. eventually
    after an unspecified period of time or a long delay
    “He was a drug dealer and a gangbanger,” Hailey says. “Somebody was gonna kill him eventually.”
  32. tolerance
    the act of putting up with something
    All four of us have been sentenced to three days’ suspension, despite Williamson’s zero-tolerance policy.
  33. suspension
    a temporary debarment from a privilege or position
    Dr. Davis told him, “Given the circumstances”—and he looked straight at me—“ suspension will suffice.”
  34. indict
    accuse formally of a crime
    “But if they decide not to indict, y’all gotta tell these li’l dudes not to burn this neighborhood down.”
  35. condone
    excuse, overlook, or make allowances for
    If you can’t translate Parentish, this is what they really said:
    Momma: I don’t condone what you did, and I’m not saying it’s okay, but I probably would’ve done it too.
  36. collide
    be incompatible; be or come into conflict
    I should be used to my two worlds colliding, but I never know which Starr I should be. I can use some slang, but not too much slang, some attitude, but not too much attitude, so I’m not a “sassy black girl.” I have to watch what I say and how I say it, but I can’t sound “white.”
  37. dysfunction
    any disturbance in the working of an organ or body part
    Embarrassing dancing and dysfunction aside, my family’s not so bad.
  38. awkward
    socially uncomfortable; unsure and constrained in manner
    This is the most awkward situation ever—my friend’s dad possibly wants to kill me.
  39. cultural
    of or relating to the arts and manners that a group favors
    Our family, Kenya, DeVante, and Layla—basically, all the black people—sing the Stevie Wonder version of “Happy Birthday.” Maya seems to know it. A lot of Seven’s friends look lost. Chris does too. These cultural differences are crazy sometimes.
  40. diploma
    a document certifying the completion of a course of study
    I’m proud of you, man. Like I told you, I never got a diploma. A lot of young brothers don’t get theirs. And where we come from, a lot of them don’t make it to eighteen.
Created on June 26, 2017 (updated April 8, 2019)

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