The racial and cultural identities of the protagonists have prompted some to criticize Sarah Koenig for not grasping many aspects of this narrative. While I agree with this analysis, I did not think it ultimately compromised Koenig's role as an effective storyteller. That is, until I heard Episode 10.
My daughter and I were standing in the middle of the baseball field in Inwood Hill Park, looking up at the stars, when something told me to check to see if the decision was finally announced. "NO INDICTMENT" stared back at me, taunting. I fell to my knees, crying. Yet again I was that kid watching an injustice occur right before my eyes and feeling helpless to do anything about it.
When we use a broad brush to tag some neighborhoods "bad," we're not doing justice to the people who actually live in them. What's more, we let ourselves off the hook, dismissing "bad" areas as places to avoid, not to engage. We rob ourselves of the chance to learn what's really happening in any given place.
Many people seem fixated on the fact that the actual cause of homosexuality has not yet been established with any degree of certainty. As someone who likes to understand the reasons things occur, I respect and appreciate the curiosity. However, the ultimate result remains the same, regardless of whether the cause is genetic, environmental, or some combination of the two.
It's often said that clothes make an individual, but this old adage isn't always true -- as there are many talented individuals who don't dress as expected and still have a lot to offer. The reality is that sometimes individuals who appear to be different don't always get a chance to prove their worth.