as the agent of or on someone's part
“But I feel like I should apologize on
behalf of white people everywhere.”
appeal or request earnestly
The entire drive I
plead with God to let DeVante be okay.
a rude decoration inscribed on rocks or walls
At the Cedar Grove Projects there’s
graffiti on the walls and broken-down cars in the courtyard.
a painting that is applied to a wall surface
Under the Black Jesus
mural at the clinic, grass grows up through the cracks in the sidewalk.
convert code into ordinary language
A pair of gray high-tops dangle by their laces from the utility line in front of the house, telling everybody who can
decipher the code that drugs are sold here.
an ornate branched lighting fixture
Compared to the outside, the inside is five-star-hotel nice. They have a damn
chandelier in the living room and brand-new leather furniture. A flat-screen TV takes up a whole wall, and tropical fish swim around in a tank on another wall. The definition of “hood rich.”
characterized by extravagance and softness
DeVante lies on the floor in the fetal position at the foot of a king-size bed. The
plush white carpet is stained with his blood as it trickles from his nose and mouth.
the act of grasping
“Seven, no,” I say. He tries to pull away, but my
grip and Kenya’s
grip are steel. “You go out there and you’re dead.”
utter in an angry, sharp, or abrupt tone
“He put his hands on you,” Seven
snarls. “I said I wouldn’t let that happen again.”
the feeling of being thwarted in attaining your goals
I understand his
frustration like it’s mine.
draw back, as with fear or pain
Chris and Seven each take one of DeVante’s hands and pull him up. DeVante
winces and cusses the whole way. Once on his feet, he bends over, holding his side, but slowly straightens up and takes steadying breaths.
accept people into an exclusive society or group
I got beat worse than this when I got
a large and brightly colored handkerchief
King Lords in gray
bandanas and Garden Disciples in green
bandanas stand on a police car in the middle of the street, chanting, “Justice for Khalil!”
a feeling of intense unhappiness
misery loves company, but I think it’s like that with anger too. I’m not the only one pissed—everyone around me is.
break into many pieces
shatters at the pawnshop on the next block. Then at the beauty supply store near it.
a group of persons gathered together for a common purpose
“This is not a peaceful
assembly,” an officer on a loudspeaker says.
move away from each other
Disperse now, or you will be subject to arrest.”
ensuring observance of or obedience to
“Stop throwing objects at law
enforcement,” the officer says. “Exit the streets immediately or you will be subject to arrest.”
a headlong rush of people on a common impulse
He hops off the bench, and we run. It’s damn near a
stampede on the sidewalk.
a basis for comparison
“DeVante’s got a point. What makes his name or our names any less normal than yours? Who or what defines ‘normal’ to you? If my pops were here, he’d say you’ve fallen into the trap of the white
utter monotonously and repetitively and rhythmically
“A hairbrush is not a gun! A hairbrush is not a gun!” a voice
chants from another loudspeaker. It’s echoed back by a crowd.
a person who has revolutionary ideas or opinions
Now I knew Ms. Ofrah was about that
radical life, but when you think “attorney” you don’t really think “person standing on a police car with a bullhorn,” you know?
a group of people who try together to achieve certain goals
You can destroy wood and brick, but you can’t destroy a
yielding positive results
“Who said talking isn’t doing something?” she says. “It’s more
productive than silence. Remember what I told you about your voice?”
I scream at the top of my lungs, hoping Khalil hears me, and chuck it back at the cops. It explodes and
consumes them in a cloud of tear gas.
flow over or cover completely
I try to tell them about the bus, but explosions go off and thick white smoke
engulfs us. My nose and throat burn as if I swallowed fire. My eyes feel like flames lick them.
steal goods; take as spoils
When my eyes aren’t closed I see what my neighborhood has become. More tanks, more cops in riot gear, more smoke. Businesses
ransacked. Streetlights are out, and fires keep everything from being in complete darkness.
any epidemic disease with a high death rate
The windows are boarded up with that same “black owned” tag on them, like it’s lamb’s blood protecting the store from the
plague of death.
feeling or expressing pain or sorrow for sins or offenses
“C’mon. Make sure y’all sound
remorseful, all right?”
a very intense and uncontrolled fire
With the boards on the windows, he can’t see the
inferno in the store unless he looks through the front door.
cover with liquid; pour liquid onto
Tim rushes a bucket of water from his uncle’s restaurant. He runs into our store and
douses it on the flames, but he’s forced to jump back too.
rise and move, as in waves
Flames eat away at the roof, and smoke
billows from the windows of the barbershop next door.
the amount by which something increases
“It’s a step up. You gotta earn my tolerance in
increments if you gon’ date my daughter.”
“Of course I’m mad. I’m actually pissed. But I’m happier that you’re safe. Now, my mom and Pam, that’s a whole different story. I can’t save you from their
malicious burning to destroy property
“Sooo . . . thanks to all these witnesses, we should get King for
a policy of action to achieve a political or social goal
She also says she thinks I have a future in
a smile expressing smugness or scorn instead of pleasure
Tupac stares back at me from a poster, a
smirk on his face. The Thug Life tattoo on his stomach looks bolder than the rest of the photo. It was the first thing I put in my new room. Kinda like bringing Khalil with me.
restore to a previous or better condition
“And I’m gon’ figure something out to do about the store till I get it
renovated,” says Daddy. “We ain’t gotta live there to change things, baby. We just gotta give a damn. A’ight?”
the remains of something that has been destroyed
The store is the hardest to see. The burned roof folds into itself like the slightest wind will knock it over. The bricks and burglar bars protect charred
feeling guilt or embarrassment or remorse
ashamed of Garden Heights and everything in it. It seems stupid now though. I can’t change where I come from or what I’ve been through, so why should I be
ashamed of what makes me, me? That’s like being
ashamed of myself.