Study Guide

Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison Race

By Shaka Senghor

Race

Shaka experiences a lot of racism throughout Writing My Wrongs, and he also has to do a lot of learning to figure out what he thinks about race in America. Some of his problems stem from obvious discrimination, like when white prison guards mistreat Black prisoners. But a lot of Shaka's problems also seem to come from ways that various systems are more subtly tilted against him, like the fact that his childhood school didn't teach him about a lot of the accomplishments of Africa and African Americans in history.

In cases like these, it's harder to figure out exactly who is responsible or how to fix it. But Shaka seems to be saying that the solution involves both individuals and a wider community. For him, individual learning about the accomplishments of Africans and African Americans inspires a desire to grow as a person and to change society for the better.

Questions About Race

  1. How does learning more history shape Shaka's understanding of race and how to make progress on racial reconciliation?
  2. How does reading and writing help Shaka understand more about the racism Black communities face? What does he learn about trying to change society through reading and writing?
  3. What are some of the things Shaka's various communities do to try to overcome racism against them?

Chew on This

Experiencing racism in prison made it harder for Shaka to change.

Overcoming the problems racism causes in society isn't just about avoiding obvious discrimination; it's also about trying to build a society that welcomes and appreciates everyone.