In what ways and with what success does Push reveal the complexities of African American identity?
- Brief History of other African Americans with similar stories.
“Much of the grand jury evidence pointed to a possible motive for Brawley's falsifying the incident: trying to avoid violent punishment from her mother and her stepfather, Ralph King. Witnesses testified that Glenda Brawley had previously beaten her daughter for running away and for spending nights with boys. King had a history of violence that included stabbing his first wife 14 times, later shooting and killing her. There was considerable evidence that King could and would violently attack Brawley: when Brawley had been arrested on a shoplifting charge the previous May, King attempted to beat her for the offence while at the police station. Witnesses also described King as having talked about his stepdaughter in a sexualised manner” - Tawana Brawley (Wikipedia)
“Winfrey has stated she was molested by her cousin, uncle, and a family friend, starting when she was nine years old, something she first announced to her viewers on a 1986 episode of her TV show regarding sexual abuse. When Winfrey discussed the alleged abuse with family members at age 24, they refused to accept what she said. Winfrey once commented that she had chosen not to be a mother because she had not been mothered well.” - Oprah Winfrey (Wikipedia)
- Precious’ abuse. Page 133. “I guess, he come over you know. I wake up at night, morning he not wif me, I know he in there wif her.”
- Drug use in Harlem 1980’s. Page 14. “Don’t nobody ring our bell ‘less its crack addicts trying to get in the building. I hate crack addicts. They give the race a bad name.” and page 37. “Give race a bad name, lost in the hell of norf america crack addicts is.”
Why do you think crimes like rape, drug use, and abuse are such big elements in African American Identity and this story?
- More recent examples of ‘stars’ from Harlem and similar difficult childhoods. Azeiala Banks and A$AP Rocky.
- How Precious feels about white people. Page 31. “Do all white people look like pictures? No. ‘cause the white people at school is fat and cruel like evil witches from fairy tales but they exist.”And page 113. “I would be light skinned, thereby treated right and loved by boyz. Light even more important than being skinny; you see them light skinned girls that’s big an’ fat, they got boyfriends. Boys overlook a lot to be wif a white girl or yellow girl.”
Why do you think Precious thinks in a perfect life she would be white? Why not just a different family background?
- Hispanic Immigration and Spanish god. Page 10.
Why do you think she felt so connected with this Spanish man?
And lastly, what do you think the word Push represents? (Being used over and over, is there a specific meaning?)