“Citizen: An American Lyric” is a poem about the issues of race that gives a voice to African-Americans and strife in a white majority country. The book begins with the mention of “racial incidents experienced by Rankine and friends of hers” in the second person (Chiasson 1). Then, the experiences in a private school, the cabin of a plane, and on the way to therapy demonstrate that Claudia Rankine used African-Americans as professionals and academics who encounter injustices (Bass 1). For example, the author implements Serena Williams’ story. As a black tennis player in a white dominated sport, she had to confront “egregious acts of racism and unfairness” from umpires and commentators (Evaristo 1). One of the author’s objectives is to demonstrate that “no American citizen is ever really free of race and …show more content…
This allowed readers to experience horrible acts of white people and to empathize with the innocent victims. However, Rankine criticizes the people of the United States for their attitudes and behaviors towards African-Americans. Particularly, the author claimed that “as citizens, we are all involved in society’s indignities and injustices, whether as perpetrator or bystander consciously or unthinkingly” (Evaristo 1). Thus, the book challenges people’s perceptions and beliefs, compelling them to reevaluate their actions. The readers begin to understand that their tolerance of violence and lack of actions to prevent racism contributes to injustices in the United States. Rankine even implied that “freedom of expression, something which the accumulative stresses of racial violence would seem to attempt to limit” blocks and alters “his or her experience of citizenship” (Day 3). Therefore, the citizens need to get involved in supporting and protecting African-Americans’ lives, who are loyal residents of the nation as
Coates wrote a 176 page long letter to his 14 years old son to explain what the African American society were going through at the time being. In the book, Coates used himself as an example to demonstrate the unjust treatment that had been cast upon him and many other African Americans. Readers can sense a feeling of pessimism towards African American’s future throughout the entire book although he did not pointed it out directly.
Skepticism about government is, in many respects, part of the DNA of Americans. This skepticism is not without reason – the actions of American politicians in the 1960s and 70s caused much of America to wonder about the motives of elected officials. However, such skepticism is rarely brought up when discussing the government’s participation in denouncing oppression against the African-American community. Most assume the government enforced equal opportunity for minorities out of compassion and humanity. However, much like the other major actions of the government during that era, the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a groundbreaking law condemning segregation, was not devoid of personal motives. The Black community was not oblivious to this fact, and voiced its outrage through different mediums. Within the literary community, James Baldwin stands out as an author who especially attacked the government, claiming all the benefits his community was now receiving was not the result of compassion, but rather was the result of politics as usual.
Society needs to learn the moral boundaries and the respect that should be given to those who have been murdered. Those who are mourning for losing their loved ones through a homicide needs respect also. In doing so, society needs to give privacy to those who have passed and also to the ones who have lost. In Rankine’s essay, “The Condition of Black Life Is One of Mourning” addresses the side affects of frequent homicides and how the community is damaged. Sharing the images of not only black but people of color homicide victims through the media demonstrates that black and other people of color’s lives are perceived as less valuable when their bodies are shown lying on the streets.
Citizen is a biographical excerpt of events that occurred in Claudia Rankine’s life. Claudia, a woman of color living in America, endured racism of different magnitudes while trying to attain the American dream; a decent education, respectable career and an exceptional home. The compilation of her experiences illustrates how during encounters with friends, colleagues, strangers and members of her own family, race can take a center stage. During the course of the many encounters, Claudia does not defend herself. She coped with the situation the best she could at the time; by not saying anything at all. Towards the end however, she was able to gain her voice and cried out against the injustice of it all. In her writing, Claudia displayed how deep-rooted her pain was. Claudia uses metaphors to illustrate the affliction she endured and how baffled she felt at the apparent racism and the blatant disrespect for her humanity.
With all three of these aspects of racism in consideration, race was a prevalent theme in the book that couldn’t escape the reader’s consciousness. Whether it was through showing the division of the communities, or through the feelings that each race held about the other race, the book portrays the history of racism in America.
In the book, “Citizen - An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine wrote about racial prejudice that the black body has been facing due to stereotyping. In the book, Rankine said the blacks are being judged by the color of their skin and not viewed as equal to their white counterpart. Rankine then backed up her claims by using descriptive imagery to create pictures in our mind as well as evoking feelings by citing various incidents to illustrate how black persons are still being discriminated against and wrongly perceived in the society we’re living in today. The purpose of Rankine’s use of her descriptive imagery is an attempt to capitalize on all of a reader 's senses and build them into something vivid and real in the reader 's mind that some
Glamour and money are not the only components surrounding sports; many athletes experience what can be considered the dark side of sports. In the article The Meaning of Serena Williams by Claudia Rankine, some not so glamorous aspects of her life are highlighted. One of the most prominent rough parts of her life includes the racism that constantly surrounded her as an athlete. Whether it be the name calling and humiliation, or being paid less compared to a white woman, Serena has endured it all through her career; it is how she handles such cases that promotes her positive character.
Touching upon one specific case of this growing problem, she incorporates “Michael Brown,” who was an “18-year old unarmed black man shot down by a white police officer.” As heartbreaking as it sounds, it has happened on several occasions to men similar to “Michael Brown.” Accordingly, Myers formulates that it “is the same story. It is just different names.” Myers logically lists the other names of several black men who unfortunately fell victim to hate crimes, (Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin), as well as flashing their images on the screen. Not only does Verna Myers use imagery in order to show that there is an evident issue with brutality and racism, but she knows it will tug on her viewers heartstrings. Likewise, this makes her audience become wary and sympathetic towards the situation at
Today, blacks are respected very differently in society than they used to be. In “The Help”, we see a shift in focus between what life is like now for the average African American compared to what it was like for them to live in the 1960’s.“The Help” teaches readers the importance of understanding and learning from our history. The novel is a snapshot of the cultural, racial and economic distinctions between blacks and whites in a particularly tumultuous time in American history. “The Help” encourages readers to examine personal prejudices and to strive to foster global equality.
Even though they are innocent, blacks still get arrested in the most part of cases. The difference between these two authors are how they portray the messages of racism where Rankine shows it through images and artwork while Smith shows it through deep and powerful poems. For example, Rankine shows an image of “stop-and-frisk” policy where it shows that cops still stopped and questioned blacks even though they are not doing anything wrong. The reason why the cops stopped them is because of their skin color and the cops think that blacks always do suspicious things. All these African Americans are always the victims of suspicious crimes as it shows in the images. In addition, Smith expresses his emotions through poems, such as A History of Violence in the Hood, Dear White America and Dinosaurs in the Hood. In “A History of Violence in the Hood,” Smith writes: “& the preview just keeps repeating over & over.” It shows that history of violence for these African Americans never stop and the cycle keeps continuing where they always get arrested and questioned. In the end, they are always seen as a dangerous person and these people do not commit justice and fair treatment because of how the society treats them. In “Dear White America, “ Smith states: “I
Ever since the abolition of slavery in the United States, America has been an ever-evolving nation, but it cannot permanently erase the imprint prejudice has left. The realities of a ‘post-race world’ include the acts of everyday racism – those off-handed remarks, glances, implied judgments –which flourish in a place where explicit acts of discrimination have been outlawed. It has become a wound that leaves a scar on every generation, where all have felt what Rankine had showcased the words in Ligon’s art, “I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background” (53). Furthermore, her book works in constant concert with itself as seen in the setting of the drugstore as a man cuts in front of the speaker saying, “Oh my god, I didn’t see you./ You must be in a hurry, you offer./ No, no, no, I really didn’t see you” (77). Particularly troublesome to the reader, as the man’s initial alarm, containing an assumed sense of fear, immediately changing tone to overtly insistent over what should be an accidental mistake. It is in these moments that meaning becomes complex and attention is heightened, illuminating everyday prejudice. Thus, her use of the second person instigates curiosity, ultimately reaching its motive of self-reflections, when juxtaposed with the other pieces in
Black excellence: a term that is possibly defined as the recognition and celebration of the successes of the black community. Lacking from the definition is the idea that the acknowledgement of the excellence for black community is directly correlated to the experience of racism. In order for black excellence to be acknowledged, you must discuss the racism it had to overcome in order to reach said excellence. In the essay entitled “The Meaning of Serena Williams”, author Claudia Rankine discusses the career of tennis phenomenon Serena Williams and the natural excellence that she embodies. Throughout the essay, Rankine explores the perceptions of Serena’s excellence in relation to her identity as a black woman. For Rankine, while she never explicitly defines black excellence, she refers to the phrase when she states, “Only after they give 150 percent will white Americans recognize black excellence for what it is” (Rankine). They, in this case, refers to the black community and the belief among the community that in order to achieve recognition for being excellent, you must work harder than members of the white community. Even when acknowledged, it is often hypocritical because the acknowledgement stems from the idea that despite being black, you were able to achieve some sort of excellence. This is the problem.
In Ta-Nehasi Coates’s “Letter to my Son”, Coates addresses the overwhelming inequalities between African American culture and Caucasian culture in America. The state of diversity and equity in society is grim for a period of time. Every race constitutes individuals. The more close-mindedness is perpetuated, the more likely the majority of society will fall back into racist tendencies and acceptance of ethnic presumptions. Coates knows the hardship black population endured that white population will never understand. Coates subvert conventional discourse about the idea of supremacy by indicating intellectual delegitimacy; white people are smarter and degeneralizing bodies; to unlock the painful truths of America. Giving it a deeper connotation to depict those who is
Through literary works readers are able to learn about the various meanings of human life experiences. Literary works influences each reader differently. Country Lovers and The Welcome Table are two short stories that deal with the common struggle of racism and discrimination among African American women.’’ Racism is an enduring, salient aspect of social and global structures. It is based on demonstrably false theories of racial different appropriated by a culture in order to deny or unjustified distribute social privileges, economic opportunities, and political rights to the racially stigmatized groups. Racism thus, structures social differences, power or culture or whom.’’ There are many stories that are written to show the everyday struggles of human conflicts and struggles that humans embark on in everyday life. The two stories I will be identifying the differences and similarities among the two powerful stories of two African American woman. I will be examining the content, form, Style of the literary works.