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Iowa parents were somewhat alarmed to learn about a book in the Epworth Elementary Library, a school in the Western Dubuque District.

The book is titled “Something Happened In Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice.” It is considered a “Top-10 Books to Read” in the library.

It starts right away:

“After school, Emma asked her mother: “Why did the police shoot that man?”

“It was a mistake,” said her mother. “I feel sad for the man and his family.”

“Yes, the police thought he had a gun,” said her father.

“It wasn’t a mistake,” said her sister, Liz. “The cops shot him because he was Black.”

The conversation turns to slavery, which was described as:

“Slaves had to do whatever White people told them to do. Even after slavery ended, White people didn’t let Black people live where they wanted, go to school with White people or vote.”

After talking about their own family doing those bad things, Liz added, “some White people still think most Black men and boys are dangerous, even though they’re not.”

The conversation turned back to the man who was shot.

“Was the man that got shot dangerous,” asked Emma.

“No,” her mother said. “Shooting him was a mistake. It was a mistake that is part of a pattern.”

“Like the pattern on my blanket,” Emma asked.

“Yes. But this pattern is being nice to White people and mean to Black people. It’s an unfair pattern.”

In another house, Josh asked his mom if police can go to jail.

“Yes,” said his mother. “Why do you ask?”

“That White policeman who shot the Black man,” said Josh. “Will he go to jail?”

“What he did was wrong,” said his mother.

“But he won’t go to jail,” said his father.

“Why not,” asked Josh.

“Cops stick up for each other,” said Josh’s brother Malcolm. “And they don’t like Black men.”

Josh was confused. “Why not? Some police are black.”

Josh is told many cops — Black and White– make good choices.

“But you can’t always count on them to do what’s right,” his father said.

Malcolm said he could get stopped by police just for being Black, even if he does nothing wrong.

“That’s not fair!” Josh said. “What if it was a White man in the car? Would the police have shot him?”

“They probably wouldn’t have even stopped the car,” said his father.

“Sometimes White people are treated better than Black people,” said his mother. “But it’s not right. Everybody should be treated fairly.”

The book goes on to talk about a new student from an uncommon background that makes friends with Josh and Emma. But only after running down law enforcement.

A full reading of the book is available here:

Author: Jacob Hall



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