- Unfortunate Implications: Set in around the black sharecropper settlement in the South, who immediately are wary of and defer to Ish during his stopover on his trip across country. In the far future they're stated to still be raising cotton for their long-vanished landlords. Apparently not even the complete collapse of civilization and the near-extinction of the human race is enough to end Jim Crow.
- Values Dissonance: The "horrible secret" that Ish's love interest has been hiding is that she's part black. To his and his creator's credit, Ish laughs at the thought that this would seriously be a problem.
- There's a bit of Values Dissonance in the moment where Ish suddenly adds up all the clues about Em's ethnicity: "brunette complexion, dark liquid eyes, full lips, white teeth, rich voice, accepting temperament ... "
- More Values Dissonance in the chapter "The Year 22", specifically about the business involving Charlie and Evie. It's wrong for Charlie to target Evie sexually because he's got what one character calls "Cupid's diseases", and may spread them into the rest of the community. It's wrong in Ish's eyes because Evie is mentally handicapped and is bound to produce "a lot of little half-witted brats". But nowhere, not once, by any character, is it suggested that it's wrong because what Charlie is doing is rape -- Evie is incapable of giving or denying meaningful consent.
- The Tribe's sentencing Charlie to death is therefore Right for the Wrong Reasons, although when this troper read the scene where the vote was taken he got the impression that the main characters were thinking this even if they didn't want to outright state it (hence the unanimous vote). We are only working with Ish's inner monologue as a point-of-view, and he sees things quite differently from the rest of the Tribe. Consider that there was initial dissent in the deliberation: George in a rare moment of insight theorizes that Evie may not be mentally disabled at all, but 'put crazy' by losing her entire family as a very young child and being left alone for an indeterminate amount of time before Ezra's clan found her--genetically she's fine. Still, whether she's actually mentally handicapped or insane due to childhood trauma, Evie cannot give consent to Charlie.