Study Guide

Hirohito in One Crazy Summer

By Rita Williams-Garcia

Hirohito

Delphine meets Hirohito at the Center and immediately judges him. While it would be plenty terrible for her to write him off as a jock or a nerd or some other social status, instead Delphine gets racist about it. She confides in us:

I wanted to ask him how it felt to have slanted eyes, hair like pine needles, and coppery-colored skin. Which one was he more: Chinese or colored? (17.7)

You know, for a girl who is clearly aware of the fact that she is at the receiving end of a whole lot of racism, Delphine sure busts out some racism of her own pretty quickly. This goes against everything Delphine has told us about how she feels about race—she's treated differently because she's black, but then judges Hirohito because he's not black enough. We don't get to know Hirohito all that well, but he provides a good window for us into Delphine's attitude about race and stereotypes, reminding us that she's not quite as worldly and with-it as she fancies herself.

Luckily, Hirohito also comes with a go-kart. Before long, he lets Delphine ride it down the hill, and she has the time of her life. She might get off to a shady start with him, but Hirohito ultimately helps Delphine loosen up a bit and connect with being a kid. He helps her act like a kid again, even if it's just by letting her speed down a hill on his go-kart.