The well-meaning but slightly condescending Addie is trying to build a third party system at school. Ms. Wyman advises Addie to work within the system, but Addie refuses. She wants DuShawn to run for president, only she hasn't actually told him yet. DuShawn is one of only three black students in the seventh grade—the other two being Tonni and Royal—and they all hang out together. Addie goes to see DuShawn, hoping to convince him to run as the Freedom Party candidate. She loftily announces that she wants to create a voice for the voiceless, to speak about the many injustices in society that DuShawn, as an African American, has personally experienced.
Initially, DuShawn doesn't take Addie's proposal at all seriously. He feels like she's making him out to be some kind of slave, so he adopts the voice and mannerisms stereotypically associated with an Uncle Tom character. For her part, Tonni's flat-out angry at Addie. She thinks that Addie, a white girl who's never really known injustice, is just using DuShawn to burnish her woke credentials:
What are you but a lily-white girl living your whole life in a lily-white town with a lily-white name like Paintbrush Falls, and you start some sort of liberation movement or something and use DuShawn here like some kind of fool pawn or something, like he’s gonna make you black or something?