CRAFT STUDIO: ACCOUNTABLE BY DASKA SLATER
What I was reading:
Accountable by Daska Slater brings readers into the unsettling aftermath of a high school student’s private Instagram account where racism and sexism are disguised as humor. Slater explores the complexities of accountability in the digital age, probing the impact of harm behind screens and challenging readers to think about what it truly means to be held accountable in an online era. Read the Margin Note’s recommendation here.
This book is full of craft studies as it uses a variety of forms to tell the history, context and personal stories behind the account. The text for this craft study can be found here.
What Moves I Notice the Writer Making:
- Repetition: The repetition of “You can…” establishes a pattern, emphasizing the various ways harm can be inflicted. This creates a rhythmic flow, intensifying the impact of each method described.
- Conventions around the repetition: The repeated pattern starts with a single word to describe how you can do it followed by a comma and a more detailed description. Ex: “You can do it indirectly, through rumors or exclusion or assumptions.”
- Analogies and Metaphors: By likening racism to a weapon—a blade honed by repeated use—the author employs vivid imagery, creating a tangible and visceral understanding of the pervasive and enduring nature of racism’s impact.
- Historical Context: Referencing “centuries of wounds” contextualizes the weight of racial discrimination, underscoring that every act or expression carries the weight of a history stained with injustices.
- Rhetorical Question: The closing question—”So what do you do with all that history?”—engages readers, prompting reflection and inviting contemplation on how individuals grapple with the legacy of racism and its pervasive effects.
Possibilities for Writers:
- Write where their thinking takes them after reading the text.
- Borrow the craft moves. Use the beginning line “THERE ARE LOTS OF WAYS TO ___________ ANOTHER HUMAN BEING” and follow the repetition of “you can *single word*, *more description of single word*
- Write about how they would answer the question the text ends with.
“So what do you do with all that history? The person who made the joke or used the slur didn’t commit all of racism’s many crimes, but they still used the same weapon, its blade honed by repeated use.”
- Write their own opinion piece on the topics in the text.