In my book Bad Men, I spend time discussing Riley Freeman as a vulnerable black boy. That take is not at first obvious since Riley comes off as such a bad and troubling character.
However, it's clear over time that the real troubling folks are the adults in Riley's life as well as the bad role models he has. Thinking about Riley's vulnerabilities as a black boy gave McGruder an abundance of comical (and in the long-term distressing) storylines.
So this bad and vulnerable black boy was a crucial creative muse.
This entry is part of a series--28 Days & Ways of Thinking about Bad Men & Vulnerable Black Boys.
Note: For a 30% discount, use the promo code 10FEB23 when and if purchasing the book on the University of Virginia Press site. (For February 2023 only).