The following morning Lisa takes Starr to IHOP, but Starr barely touches her food. Lisa expresses her anger about the previous night’s interview, saying a grown man could not possibly been afraid of “two children.” People on the internet seem to agree, Starr has noticed, and people she has never met are calling the interview “BS.”
Much of the world appears to reject the media’s treatment of Starr and Khalil, granting hope that justice may be possible after all.
Starr starts to open up about the tension with Hailey, though she leaves out the specific details. Lisa says she never liked the way Starr always let Hailey have her way when they were children. Lisa encourages Starr to make a list of the good and bad parts of her relationship with Hailey. Bringing up Nana’s alcoholism, she says she learned early on that people make mistakes, and you have to decide if your love for them outweighs that. Lisa stayed with Maverick after he cheated on her with Iesha because she decided that the good in their relationship outweighed the bad. She advises Starr to think the same way about Hailey, and decide whether the relationship is worth saving. If not, Starr should let Hailey go.
Starr has apparently always deferred to Hailey, who here acts as a sort of stand-in for white society in general. Lisa’s speech about Maverick’s infidelity reflects the novel’s broader theme that people are more than their mistakes. This teaching directly contradicts with the way society has treated Khalil, and suggests that, if there is to be racial justice, black people must be allowed their full humanity.
Later that day Starr meets the DA, a white woman named Karen Monroe who apologizes for taking so long to meet. The meeting is relatively quick, and Starr is grateful that she “doesn’t ask any stupid questions about Khalil.” While explaining the details of the shooting, however, Starr vomits.
The late meeting suggests Khalil’s case was not initially a priority for the DA. Though emboldened, Starr is still traumatized and struggles to speak up for Khalil.
Maverick and Starr head back to the store together. There, Maverick asks Starr what she sees in Chris—and if she has a problem with black boys. Starr wants to know if Maverick has a problem with white people. He admits that his reservations about Chris stem from insecurity: he worries that did not set a good example for his daughter about black men. Starr responds that he set a good example of what a man should be, and Maverick kisses the top of her head.
Maverick reveals his vulnerability, something black men are not always allowed to exhibit in society. His distrust of Chris does not really have anything to do with Chris as a person, though Starr asserts that the lessons her father has taught her cross racial boundaries.
King pulls up to the store in his gray BMW and asks for DeVante’s whereabouts. Maverick denies knowing where he is. King then says he knows Starr is the witness the news is talking about, and that she better “keep her mouth shut.” Since the police know Khalil sold drugs, digging deeper into his history could lead back to King. King makes a very thinly veiled threat against Starr if she says anything incriminating.
King again attempts to use fear and silence as a tool of oppression. Maverick’s defense of DeVante is a challenge to King’s power over the neighborhood.
Starr and Maverick pick up food from Reuben’s for dinner on the way home. At dinner Lisa casually mentions that she has a second interview for a job at the same hospital where Pam, Carlos’s wife and a surgeon, works. Pam recommended Lisa for the job of Pediatrics Nursing Manager, and thinks it is as good as hers. The job would mean a six-figure salary. Much to Starr’s surprise, Maverick says he and Lisa will look at houses near the hospital before the interview and that he is determined to get the family out of Garden Heights. After dinner, Seven tells Sekani that he won’t be leaving. He will go to community college to stay near his mother and sisters.
Lisa’s new job would be a ticket out of the neighborhood, and a chance for the entire family to start over away from the dangerous day-to-day life of Garden Heights. Seven, however, risks being held back by his ties to Garden Heights and is in danger of falling into the cycle that keeps families trapped without opportunity or security.