On Sunday, Rashad is happy to wake up to a quiet, peaceful room. He thinks about the fact that he was supposed to be at Jill’s party, impressing everyone with his dance moves. Instead, he ended up with a broken nose and broken ribs. Clarissa enters, tells Rashad to breathe into a spirometer, and checks his blood pressure. After, Rashad’s family enters along with their pastor, Jerome Johnson. Rashad feels irritated. He believes in God, but wonders “where God was when I was being mopped by that cop.” He finds it difficult to reconcile this reality with Pastor Johnson’s message that God is always present.
Once again, Rashad is caught in the middle of competing beliefs, messages, and desires. His parents turn to religion as a way of dealing with difficult issues. However, Rashad does not find much comfort in religion in this moment. He feels that there is a level of hypocrisy and dishonesty in Pastor Johnson’s insistence that God is always present. Rather than turning to faith, Rashad wants truth and justice from humanity.
Pastor Johnson tells Rashad that “everything happens for a reason,” which annoys Rashad further. The group prays together, with Pastor Johnson reciting Biblical figures who were subjected to oppression, persecution, and suffering. Spoony arrives and Pastor Johnson observes that he hasn’t seen him at church; Spoony responds sarcastically. Pastor Johnson promises to keep Rashad lifted up in prayer and leaves. Immediately, Spoony switches on the TV to a news item about the incident at Jerry’s.
Spoony represents a younger generation of black people who have a different approach to life than their parents. Whereas David and Jessica place more emphasis on individual responsibility, discipline, and faith, Spoony refuses to find comfort in religion and instead focuses on fighting back against oppression.
The news channel plays a clip of Rashad being beaten, noting that the victim has been identified as “sixteen-year-old Rashad Butler of West Springfield.” Spoony explains that he and Berry sent Rashad’s information to the news. David explodes with anger, saying Rashad “doesn’t need all this craziness.” Spoony responds that police brutality is the real craziness, while emphasizing that his father “of all people should know that.” Rashad doesn’t fully understand what is going on; he watches his father furiously leave the room.
Spoony’s decision to actively draw further attention to Rashad’s case causes conflict, but overall this seems like a more reasonable approach to the situation than that taken by David. It is undeniably true, after all, that police brutality is the real craziness. David seems to want to avoid confronting the real issues, which might mean “peace” in the short term but will not solve anything.
A photo of Rashad in his ROTC uniform appears on the news, and Spoony explains that he supplied the photo in order to control “the narrative.” Rashad is embarrassed and insists on turning the TV off, but he also understands Spoony’s reasoning. Jessica gives Rashad some belongings he requested from home: his duffel bag containing his ROTC uniform and phone, along with his sketchbook and pencils.
Rashad’s acceptance of Spoony’s decisions despite his own embarrassment indicates that Spoony is something of a hero to Rashad. Where Rashad has views that strongly conflict with his father, he respects Spoony’s thinking and trusts that his choices are wise.
Rashad charges his phone and it immediately blows up with text messages. In the first texts, his friends are confused about where he is and why he hasn’t shown up to Jill’s party. Eventually, more texts show up about Rashad being on the news. Rashad responds with a group text to Carlos, Shannon, and English explaining what happened and assuring them that he’s okay. Rashad’s family members remain tense, but relax after a football game comes on the TV. After the football game, the family leaves, and Rashad is grateful for the peace and quiet. Then the news comes back on, however, with another picture of Rashad’s face, along with the face and name of the officer who arrested him: Paul Galluzzo.
Rashad’s family is also a version of the model American family, as is made clear by the fact that they embrace many the typical elements of American culture, such as the military, Christianity, and watching football games on TV. At the same time, they also have to deal with issues that are not generally considered ordinary within the ideal of American life. In this sense, Rashad’s family are excluded from being considered a “normal” American family.