Jasmine tries to “focus on the positive,” like what they will all learn from this awful experience, but mostly she just thinks about “what ifs.” “What if” she had gotten Richard a better lawyer the last time he got in trouble? “What if” he was “tested for ADHD,” or “what if” they didn’t live in Oakland? Jasmine “stops herself,” believing that there must be “a reason” for all of this. “God works in mysterious ways,” she says. “He don’t do nothing on accident.”
Jasmine’s “what if” thinking relies on several things she doesn’t have the power to change, which again emphasizes Oakland’s social inequalities. Jasmine doesn’t have much money, and she is even forced to work two jobs, so it is unlikely that she could have afforded a better lawyer, or medical testing for learning and behavioral disorders, let alone resulting medications. She likely can’t afford to move from Oakland, either. In this vein, Slater implies that social inequality is the “reason” why all of this has happened.