All American Boys

by

Jason Reynolds

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#RashadIsAbsentAgainToday Symbol Analysis

#RashadIsAbsentAgainToday Symbol Icon

After Carlos spray-paints the words RASHAD IS ABSENT AGAIN TODAY outside Springfield Central High, many of the students take pictures of it and begin discussing Rashad’s arrest online with the hashtag #RashadIsAbsentAgainToday. The choice of words in this phrase recalls slogans from the Black Lives Matter movement—such as “Say Her Name”—which draw attention the absence of black people harmed and killed by the police and aim to reverse the erasure of these people from public memory. The slogan is also a reminder that Rashad’s arrest has interrupted his education, highlighting the issue of how racism makes it more difficult for black people to access educational opportunities and success. The fact that it is turned into a hashtag also reflects the Black Lives Matter movement, which utilizes online organizing and social media in order to spread its message and gather support. Because online activism and social media are disproportionately associated with young people, #RashadIsAbsentToday also serves as a reminder that young people are powerful and have the ability to positively affect the world around them.

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#RashadIsAbsentAgainToday Symbol Timeline in All American Boys

The timeline below shows where the symbol #RashadIsAbsentAgainToday appears in All American Boys. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
10. Tuesday: Rashad
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
...picture of the graffiti outside school. Berry explains that the graffiti has inspired a hashtag, #RashadIsAbsentAgainToday, and that there is going to be a protest. Jessica is nervous about this and... (full context)
14. Thursday: Rashad
Racism, Stereotyping, and Police Brutality Theme Icon
American Culture, Values, and Patriotism Theme Icon
Maturity, Discipline, and Responsibility Theme Icon
Heroes vs. Villains Theme Icon
...parents drive home, there is a tense silence in the car. At home, Rashad searches #RashadIsAbsentAgainToday and is shocked by the volume of posts it returns. He sees videos of people... (full context)