46 pages 1 hour read

George M. Johnson

All Boys Aren't Blue

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | YA

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Breaking Cycles of Violence Through Narrative

Content Warning: “Breaking Cycles of Violence” references sexual abuse as well as racist and anti-LGBTQ+ violence. “The Intersection of Blackness and LGBTQ+ Identity” references slavery and anti-LGBTQ+ bias.

Johnson’s primary purpose in writing this memoir was to help educate a younger generation and prepare them to identify and break out of cycles of violence related to oppression. Johnson writes in the Afterword that “if one person is helped by [Johnson’s] story, then it was all worth it” (173), indicating the importance of helping to break these cycles. Johnson specifically writes against cycles of racist and anti-queer violence—particularly violence against those at the intersection of Blackness and queerness. Although much of this violence is systemic and societal, it also operates on an individual level, internalized as self-hatred or other harmful beliefs and practices; for example, Johnson imagines that the cousin that abused them might have been abused himself. It is therefore important, Johnson suggests, that those who experience such violence do what they can to resist it.

Breaking these cycles of violence means giving a new generation the representation, language, and stories that Johnson lacked growing up. This in turn means sharing their entire story in all of its joy and shame, including the uncomfortable and intimate details.