[IMAGE: Square dusty blue background with 3 illustrated figures lines up at the bottom. From left to right, there is a girl drawn with a purple and yellow color palette, a man drawn with a dark green and red color palette, and an old woman drawn with a grey and white color palette. At the top, text reads “State of Misery”]
STATE OF MISERY: Chapter Two (James)
*TRIGGER WARNING* RACISM
A Collaborative Mini Graphic Novel by Charis Huling, Claire Zhang, and Meilun Yan
This is a collaborative graphic novel about the human rights issues in Missouri. This book was created based on true events, particularly the NAACP travel ban to Missouri. The short novel hones in on transphobic and racial tensions that exist in the state and includes statistics and infographics alongside the story to show that even though it is fiction, the events aren’t unrealistic.
The story follows Alexa, a trans girl; James, an African-American father; and Deborah, a white teacher. Both Alexa and James’s son face scrutiny under a school setting, and eventually, their characters connect under the oppression that Deborah perpetuates.
[IMAGE: A photo of a physical book with the first image as the cover.]
[IMAGE: The book is flipped open with the transparent cover lifted to reveal a shiny page with a blue background, and rectangle in the center of yellow, purple, red, and green colors coming together. The author’s names are revealed: Claire Zhang, Charis Huling, Meilun Yan.]
[IMAGE: The above image but digitally. The author’s names appear again]
[IMAGE: Illustration of a Missouri driver’s license on a dark green background. The man’s name is James Roger Ferguson and he is 42 years old.]
[IMAGE: A red to green gradient background with black and white illustrations on top. There are three panels: The first has hands in handcuffs; the second, an angry face; the third, the face with emphasis on the mouth. There are four panels of text: “Sir, you’re under arrest”, “You have the right to remain silent”, “Anything you say can be held against you”, and the last is from the angered face which reads “You black bastard. I’ll get you fired.”]
*SB-43 is Senate Bill 43 in Missouri. It would make it much more difficult for minorities to report workplace harassment. Previously, protected minority groups could speak out against workplace discrimination, but under the new act, discrimination has to be the motivating factor to an action. This means that the employer holds the power to fire minorities for small offenses as long as it can’t be proved that being a part of that group was the reason. For example, if an employer wishes to have an all-white workplace, and an employee of color makes a mistake in the slightest, the employer can use that mistake as the motivating factor to fire the employee.
[IMAGE: A red to green gradient is the background. A young boy, James’s son, is drawn in the same color palette and is opening a door. He says “Dad? There’s something on our door”. At the bottom of the image, the door is revealed with graffiti reading “Blacks should be hung”.]
IMAGE: An infographic about African Americans in Missouri. African Americans are 5 times more likely to be shot and killed by the police than white Americans. For every 1 black person in Missouri, there are 8 white people. 28 people were shot and killed in Missouri in 2017, and yet despite being in the minority, 12 were black. 70% of hate crimes in Missouri are racially motivated.]