Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Audiobook: Pushout

Written by Monique W. Morrison

Read by Kristyl Dawn Tift

Fifteen-year-old Diamond stopped going to school the day she was expelled for lashing out at peers who constantly harassed and teased her for something everyone on the staff had missed: she was being trafficked for sex. After months on the run, she was arrested and sent to a detention center for violating a court order to attend school.

Just 16 percent of female students in the USA, Black girls make up more than one-third of all girls with a school-related arrest. The first book to tell these untold stories, Pushout exposes a world of confined potential and supports the growing movement to address the policies, practices, and cultural illiteracy that push countless students out of school and into unhealthy, unstable, and often unsafe futures.

For four years Monique W. Morris, author of Black Stats, chronicled the experiences of black girls across America whose intricate lives are misunderstood, highly judged—by teachers, administrators, and the justice system—and degraded by the very institutions charged with helping them flourish. Morris shows how, despite obstacles, stigmas, stereotypes, and despair, black girls still find ways to breathe remarkable dignity into their lives in classrooms, juvenile facilities, and beyond.

My Thoughts: Wow! This is definitely a book that all educators should read! When I read or hear about black children getting arrested for throwing a "tantrum" in school or black children receiving adult sentences for crimes that don't match the severity of the sentence, I am angered and baffled. I can't believe, yet at the same time I do believe, that this type of racism is still happening today. Though I work in a school district that is predominantly Latino, I felt that it was important for me to read (or listen) to this book. 

Monique W. Morris shared data that was supported by many interviews of black girls being "pushed" out of the school system and being criminalized. She raised the issues of systematic racism in education and how policies were and continue to be created to ensure that black children lead a path towards prison. Black girls are treated differently then their white peers; they are seen as loud, disruptive, and sexual. The narratives from the girls that Morris interviewed demonstrated how some educators do not have the faith that their black students will succeed and would instead treat them as unteachable students. These educators followed a "No tolerance policy," which hds severe consequences for black girls. Educators fall back to punitive consequences instead of trying to get down to the source of the problems to help support these young girls. 

Much of the information that was shared and backed up with evidence was shocking. The most shocking for me was to realize how common sex trafficking is in the United States. It sickened me and angered me to find out how many of the girls that were interviewed were "prostitutes" at a young age because they needed to find ways to support themselves after the school system failed them. As Dr. Morris pointed out, "But here's the thing: children cannot be prostitutes. Children cannot legally consent to sex, which means that when they participate in the sale of sex they are being sexually trafficked and exploited." So how come authorities do not try to save these girls from this kind of life? Instead of helping these girls out when they are caught for selling their bodies, they are sent to jail.

Now thoughts on the audio production of this book: I would suggest you read the physical copy of this book instead. The narrator Kristyl Dawn Tift was a very monotonous reader. In fact, she had awkward cadence that for a while I thought that it was a computer reading the text. If it wasn't for how interesting the information was, I would have stopped listening to this book. It took me about 2 hours to get used to the narrator and only focused on listening to the important data that was presented. The only time that Tift changed her tone of voice was when she was representing the different stories of the girls. Other than that, she sounded robotic. 

Overall, this book was well worth it. The audio was not that amazing but the actual book was fully educational. I highly recommend this book to anybody who is in education or simply want to educate themselves on how the school system has failed many students. I rate it: 


  1. I will definitely have to get a copy of this one! Great review.

  2. I love audiobooks, but really bad narrators ruin a book imo. So thanks for the heads up on not listening to this book and instead reading the physical copy.

    I want to read this book. I believe it is important to be informed on how various minorities are treated in the USA... At the same time, it's difficult to read just how terrible and marginalized minorities are treated in this country. You'd think in the 21st century things would be vastly different than they are, but reading various stories about minorities and how they way they are still treated makes you realize some things haven't changed and it's heartbreaking to read about.

    I want solutions on how to make impactful, positive changes for all minorities as things can't remain as they are.

    1. Yes, it is so sad that injustices based on race still happen in the United States. We all still have a lot to learn to make things better.