Others and Allies

Title: Crosshairs

By: Catherine Hernandez

Genre: fiction dystopian lgbtqia+ literary

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{This Book Reflection Contains Spoilers}

Crosshairs by Catherine Hernandez paired with Steven Smith Teamaker Black Lavender Full Leaf Black Tea.
Crosshairs by Catherine Hernandez paired with Steven Smith Teamaker Black Lavender Full Leaf Black Tea.

Summary: Crosshairs by Catherine Hernandez is a dystopian tale that shares the experience of being “other” and examples of true allyship.

The main character Kay, checks multiple boxes of “other” as a queer, femme, black male. Over a period of time we witness the changes that “others”, like Kay go through. One day they are freely walking the streets, the next day they lose access to money, food and shelter and the next day they are living in the shadows and in hiding as a means of survival. Throughout Kay’s journey he is helped by white allies who have wholeheartedly committed to fighting for the rights of the “others''.

Thoughts after reading the book: There are parts of this book that share similarities to horrific historical events which I reflected on:

  • There was a storm that took place in the book and the lack of government aid to the mostly black communities impacted reminded me of hurricane Katrina back in 2005.

  • There was harassment of "others" despite their financial status. This made me think of what many upper class minorities go through driving too nice of a car, living in a too nice of a neighborhood, etc.

  • The Prime Minster in the book reminded me of Trump based on the derogatory terms they used when referring to illegal migrants and women.

  • There was a fire that was set on a black community which reminded me of Tulsa.

  • The concentration camps and the shaved heads of the workers reminded me of the Holocaust.

  • The overall storyline of “others” trying to make it out their hell with the help of allies made me think of the underground railroad, slaves and abolitionist.


Allies: There is a meditation that the allies would recite everyday as a ritual. It goes:

"When I do not act, I am complicit!

When I know wrong is happening, I act!

When the oppressed tell me I am wrong, I open my heart and change!

When change is led by the oppressed, I move aside and uplift!"

This meditation was very eye opening to me because I see it as an intentional way to fight white supremacy by starting with self. Self-reflection in general is no easy work, but necessary. This meditation kept the allies in check of their privilege and helped them stay the course fighting for justice and equal rights.

Others: I enjoyed a poem from this book performed by a protester as Kay walked down the street. This poem speaks to the resilience of those deemed as "other":

"We have been occupied

Papered

Carded

Listed

Interned

Torn

Ripped

Shorn

Walked

Blanked

We have been occupied

Internalized

Assimilated

Bordered

Fenced

Reserved

Unrecognized

Colonized

Halved

Quartered

We have been occupied

Policed

Stripped

Searched

Patted down

Spotlighted

Assassinated

Imprisoned

Sentenced

Executed

We have been occupied

Whitewashed

Dyed

Bleached

Shaved

Starved

Sterilized

Stolen

Sold

Discarded

We have been occupied

Indebted

Unforgiven

Schemed

Played

Traded

Exported

Imported

Outsourced

Foreclosed

These are names they gave us

These are the ways they took from us

These are the ways they tired

But we are like the waters on this land

Slicing mountains in half

We have our own names

We did not lose everything

We survived them

We are more powerful than we hurt us

We will remember our ancestors

We will drum

We will sing

We will feed each other truth

We will look out for each other

We will come together

We will protect Mother Earth

We will speak for those who cannot

We will make way for our elders

We will listen to our youth

We will remember

We are memory

We will decolonize"


Final thoughts: Crosshairs is no easy read, but a relevant read. This book will make you reflect on privileges' that you may have. It will make you question if you are doing all that you can to be an ally to those who are "other" compared to you.


- Maya & The Spine Down





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