At Rainier Scholars we try to maintain our integrity by asking the same thing of ourselves that we ask of our students — be scholars in habit, not merely in words. This involves assigning regular homework to ourselves that we think will make us better at our jobs, or better as an organization. This is most fun when we come across a resource that ties together all of our social concerns in an interesting or engaging way.
The book New Kid by Jerry Craft could promisingly be pitched as the Rainier Scholars problem statement without any hint of irony. I won’t summarize the whole book, but it’s essentially about a Black American boy searching for an intellectual home while managing the gaze of racist culture. That and: microaggressions, stereotype threat, hood diets, dietary colonialism, liberal safari racism, milquetoast diversity, nerd homelands, literary racism, non-cognitive skill development, and video games. It’s also a really, really funny book.
There was a time when the idea that a comic book could help us build a better community or society sounded silly. Not anymore.