Analysis Of Claudia Rankine's Citizen: American Lyric

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Claudia Rankine analyzes racism to its core, bringing to surface that miniscule events are just as problematic as televised ones. Her words are beautifully brutal, striking up emotions for anyone that reads it. As readers, we are taken through a journey from past to present events of racial incidents experienced by different genders and ages. Above all, Rankine provides a strong indication that racism is far from over. Citizen: American Lyric is formatted into various stanzas and sentences, in some cases the stanzas are just one line in other cases they are paragraphs. Additionally, the lyric is divided into seven section, each connected by the theme of racism. Rankine uses various literary elements throughout the lyrics. However, the point …show more content…

Similar to future sections in the lyric Rankine makes allusion to news events. Throughout section two of the lyric, people question why black people are always mad and whether they should be. A YouTuber mentions that anger is the only way blacks can be successful in their culture. The sections then goes on to speak of Serena Williams, although we are informed about her success in her tennis career, it is completely overshadowed by her “unnecessary anger”. This was particularly interesting because this was how Serena Williams was thought of by the public during this time, everyone ignored her success and focused on one thing to criticize her for. Making the reader realize why she acted the way she did. Williams and other icons have every right to be angry, because they faced injustice throughout their lifetime and career. Though, they are scrutinized for using their platform to bring awareness to it. Eventually Williams changes her persona, consequently leading the press describes her as “calmer”. But, one can imagine the willpower it took to control one's anger from Wozniacki tasteless stunt, as seen in the image selected by Rankine. Yet, perhaps this stunt was needed to finally prove that Serena William and other community members still have the right to be …show more content…

There is a belief that since America is unsegregated everyone is now equal and it is possible to achieve the American Dream. However, the passing of civil rights laws does not make up for the lost time during discrimination and segregation. Claudia Rankine clearly demonstrates that the black community continues to face discrimination, stereotypes, and prejudice. Additionally, she states that minor incidents are actually a part of the societal and political problem that needs to change. There are two messages Rankine sends. The first “It wasn’t a match, I say. It was a lesson.” Meaning that the purpose of the lyric is for the reader to gain insight into what it means to be black. The second message feels almost hopeless: “I don't know how to end what doesn't have an ending,” demonstrating that it has been decades of these events occurring, because there is no solution and questioning if there ever will

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes claudia rankine's analysis of racism to its core, bringing to surface that miniscule events are just as problematic as televised ones.
  • Analyzes how citizen: american lyric is formatted into various stanzas and sentences, and divided into seven sections, each connected by the theme of racism.
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