It is a series of monologues which she has created from interviews. In that racially divided neighborhood, populated largely by African Americans and Chabad Hasidic Jews, a car driven by a Jewish man veered onto a sidewalk and struck two children, killing Gavin Cato, a 7-year-old Caribbean-American boy. The death, and what the African-American community perceived as a delayed response of city emergency medical personnel, sparked protests by them in the neighborhood. During these, a group of black youths attacked and fatally injured Yankel Rosenbaum, a Jewish student visiting from Australia. Days of rioting ensued, exposing to national scrutiny the depth of the racial divisions in Crown Heights. The rioting resulted in injuries, arrests, and an estimated one million dollars in property damage.
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It does start off slowly. Since the beginning of the book examine the context of the play, and the deaths that set off the Crown Hill riots in the early 90s, the reader is invested in those events. The beginning of the play itself, though, after setting out the deaths, takes a step back to discover Jewish and African American life in the area, before moving forward to what the reader was expecting.
Of course, whether or not the play would be so powerful without some of that extra understanding She also neglects to mention that Black on Jewish violent crime was rampant before this incident, but not visa versa. The author depicts hate crimes committed by African Americans against Jews as a situation where "misunderstandings" and "cultural differences are the cause?
The elephant in the room is that this kind of thugy behavior by black folks is the same way the KKK treated them, although the KKK had better excuses then a "car accident". The car accident was the excuse the racist lynch mob used, and all lynch mobs have their excuses. Just a bunch of opportunists. It shows the blind spots we have when it comes to race that no one is a little suspicious about a black woman shaping a hate crime her people committed in a way that sees all sides as equally credible.
Think about this: if the roles were reverse do you think she would portray it in a way that made a car accident and a violent lynching are equally tragic?
Fires in the Mirror