At Richard’s third court hearing, three women arrive wearing “turtlenecks and blazers and sensible shoes.” They are worried about Richard. “Not that it’s not a horrible crime,” they say, “but it’s also a crime to try a child as an adult.” As Jasmine watches her son enter the courtroom, she whispers to herself, “God is good, God is good, God is good.”
The women who show up to Richard’s hearing further underscore Slater’s argument that trying Richard as an adult is an unethical approach to his punishment. While Richard deserves to be punished, the justice system seems to be the only supporters of this questionable treatment.
Regis tells Jasmine and the rest of the family about a group of white kids who have recently been in the news for bullying their black classmate. The white kids had called the black student racist names and locked him in his room with a chain around his neck, but they were only charged with misdemeanors. “Girl, they got misdemeanors,” Regis says. “Nobody got charged with any felonies. Three white boys on one black boy.”
Regis’s mention of the white students reflects the institutionalized racism present in the American justice system. While the cases certainly differ in some ways, there are many similarities, and Regis implies that the reason Richard has not been charged with a misdemeanor is because he is African American.