In the novel, Citizen, author Claudia Rankine shows her concerns with the subtle “everyday racism” African Americans experience on a daily basis and the profound effects this has on their self-image, and uses the secondary pronoun “you” to allow the reader to feel as if they were dealing with these microaggressions. Rankine intervenes in current debates about racism due to her approach on everyday racism. In a time where macroaggressions such as police brutalities have reached the news and is taking up a lot of the racial discussion in the United States, Rankine tries to show the reader the root of the problem/where these macroaggressions stemmed from. decides to take out a magnifier to look at where the disease starts.
The novel tracks both …show more content…
Racism in itself is not difficult to recognize in its extreme forms. However, everyday racism is much more subtle and requires attention. It requires the recipient to be aware of the situation as to what is being said and how it is being said. One of these seemingly subtle incidents of everyday racism, Rankine uses the pronoun “you” by stating, “[b]ecause of your elite status from a year’s worth of travel, you have already settled into your window seat on United Airlines, when the girl and her mother arrive at your row. The girl, looking over at you, tells her mother, these are our seats, but this is not what I expected. The mother’s response is barely audible—I see, she says. I’ll sit in the middle,” (p.12). Here, Rankine uses the pronoun “you,” in hopes to put her reader in the shoes of the victim of this microaggression. If the reader is white, and is able to replace the victim with themselves, they would be able to see the incident as entirely unjust because they have never experienced being stereotyped. She doesn’t mention race but the minute a white reader recognizes that the victim is a black person (Rankine …show more content…
Rankine inserts an image of Hennessy Youngman, who is a youtube personality discussing how to be a successful black man. Youngman sarcastically gives a tutorial where he argues that you have to succumb to the black stereotype in order to succeed stating, “be angry, have this angry n*gga exterior,” and be, “approachable,” and, “white people want to consume the exotic other [...] they don’t really want to understand you, because if they understood you, you’d be just like them, and white people don’t want the n*gga artist to be just like them [...] keep them entertained [...] keep them white f*ckers away from the man behind the curtain [...] that you have a savings account or have a savings account or that you recycle [...],” (Hennesy Youngman, Art Thoughtz). You have to be what the white man wants you to be. As a white person reading this novel and watching Youngman’s video, you can see The issue with this is that as an African American, it’s almost as if you have to fit the racial imaginary in order to be successful, but it’s also the racial imaginary that is what gets so many African American’s in trouble. Successful black artists such as Hennessy Youngman, and any famous black rapper, are only able to fit into the racial imaginary because
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Claudia Rankine’s Citizen explores the daily life situations between blacks and whites and reveals that how little offensive denigrating conversations in the form of micro-aggressions conveyed to the black people intentionally by the whites and how these racial comments fuels the frustrations and anger among the blacks. She gathered the various incidents, where
Both memoirs—John Griffin’s Black Like Me and Dick Gregory’s Nigger—examine race marginalization as it existed in mid-twentieth century America. Griffin’s Black Like Me intimately explores the discrimination against the black community by whites to expose the “truth” of racial relations and to “bridge the gap” of communication and understanding between the two races through a “social experiment”—an assumption of alterity (Griffin 1). In Nigger, Gregory also recounts personal racial discrimination as a black man trying to survive and succeed in a discriminatory society. But unlike Griffin’s experience, Gregory’s memoir progresses from a position of repressed “Other” to a more realized, dominant identity. However, the existence of a dual persona
People on the street do not know him except those caricatured black racial stereotype. People “snap” their books, “clutch” their bags, sees him as a carjacker, mugger, shoplifter, and drug dealer, revealing a common sense that a black man’s life is marked by prejudice and ostracism. By using metaphors, the words “score,” and “green” indicate an incorrect stereotype of black men’s relation with drugs and money. From Young’s standpoint, black men experience some degree of prejudice of being black skin men. Because as he points out, “Plainclothes/ cops follow me in stores/ asking me to holler/ if I need any help.” Plainclothes cops even pretend to be Clerks in the store, and they are so certain that he is black, looks unsettling that they even ask him to “holler” if he wants steal something, and they are ready catch him any minute. Additionally, Young writes about “Crowds gather/& wonder how/the spotlight sounds.” Here, “spotlight sounds” actually refers to the response from the narrator or black men to other’s attentions or treatments. Ironically, people do not listen to black people’s voice, and they simply judge from one’s skin
Claude M. Steele is the author of “ Whistling Vivaldi”, which mainly represents that the meaning of identity contingencies and stereotype threat, and how can these effect people’s ideas and behaviors. By writing this article, Steele tries to make people know exist of identity contingencies. Gina Crosley-Corcoran, who is a white woman suffered the poverty in her childhood. Through describing her miserable experiences in parallel construction to motivate readers sympathize her, moreover approving that she can as a powerful evidence for affirming the impact of identity contingencies. Crosley-Corcoran admits the white privilege really exist in some way in her article “ Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person”, and white privilege
Living in an environment where the crime rate is relatively low Dreamers do not worry about the daily protection of their bodies leaving room for their minds to be open to explore all life has to offer. Albert Einstein once wrote, “Education is not the learning of facts but the mind to think.” Being an educated black person is not always connected to background, many of the most success people living today have rags to riches story, yet what sets the black dreamers apart is their talk, their address and even at times their looks. Black dreamers’s protection lies in their voice, “You speak very eloquently to be black.” Or in plainer terms, “You talk like a white person.” A black dreamers’ protection lies in their state of dress, for who is going to gun down a man in a suit? When Coates describes his wife’s upbringing he says, “Perhaps it was because she was raised in the physical borders of such a place, because she lived in proximity with the Dreamers. Perhaps it was because the people who thought they were white told her she was smart and followed this up by telling her she was not really black, meaning it as a compliment.” (p.116) These are the people who become caught up in being black but not black enough to be subjected to police brutality. Bell Hooks writes in her essay Gangsta Culture, “On mass media screens today, whether
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.
Under the inability to fit in, he describes how many people in executive positions examine black differently than whites. In their minds, blacks do not have the same criteria to meet as whites do. He goes on to say that whites are more likely to fit in than blacks. They have to hire based on who can blend into `the great white mass.'
Without details, the words on a page would just simply be words, instead of gateways to a different time or place. Details help promote these obstacles, but the use of tone helps pull in personal feelings to the text, further helping develop the point of view. Point of view is developed through the story through descriptive details and tone, giving the reader insight to the lives of each author and personal experiences they work through and overcome. Issa Rae’s “The Struggle” fully emplefies the theme of misplaced expectations placed on African Americans, but includes a far more contemporary analysis than Staples. Rae grapples as a young African-American woman that also struggles to prove her “blackness” and herself to society’s standards, “I feel obligated to write about race...I slip in and out of my black consciousness...sometimes I’m so deep in my anger….I can’t see anything outside of my lens of race” (Rae, 174). The delicate balance between conformity and non-conformity in society is a battle fought daily, yet Rae maintains an upbeat, empowering solution, to find the strength to accept yourself before looking for society’s approval and to be happy in your own skin. With a conversational, authoritative, humorous, confident and self-deprecating tone, Rae explains “For the majority of my life, I cared too much about my blackness was perceived, but now?... I couldn’t care less. Call it maturation or denial or self-hatred- I give no f%^&s.” (Rae 176), and taking the point of view that you need to stand up to racism, and be who you want to be not who others want you to be by accepting yourself for who you are. Rae discusses strength and empowerment in her point of view so the tone is centered around that. Her details all contribute to the perspectives as well as describing specific examples of racism she has encountered and how she has learned from those
Institutionalized racism has been a major factor in how the United States operate huge corporations today. This type of racism is found in many places which include schools, court of laws, job places and governmental organizations. Institutionalized racism affects many factors in the lives of African Americans, including the way they may interact with white individuals. In the book “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Stories” ZZ Packer uses her short stories to emphasize the how institutionalized racism plays in the lives of the characters in her stories. Almost all her characters experience the effects of institutionalized racism, and therefore change how they view their lives to adapt. Because institutionalized racism is a factor that affects how
The United States is a very diverse nation with people from all over the world. Our nation consists of Caucasian, African American, Chinese, Mexican, and many distinctive ethnicities. However, many people struggle with discrimination and judgment from other people on behalf of their race. For example, researcher Kate Kenski highlights the multiple events of her seven year old daughter when she was harassed by children in her school. They would exclude her from activities in view of color of her skin, and her peers would torment her for her physical appearance. In Kate Kenski's article "Racism is not Isolated," she effectively utilizes her daughter's experience in school to prove that racist events are not isolated occurrences and opportunities
In Claudia Rankine’s 2014 book, Citizen: An American Lyric, she promotes the idea of a “post-race” society, captivating the reader into a position of self-reflection. The lyricism of her prose explores the definition of the titular ‘citizen’, thereby encouraging and promoting change. Her incentive is not to change the minds of readers, only broaden scope of the world they already have, honing on the undeniable reality of the world. She invites her reader to emotions of grief and outrage, which leads the reader toward self-awareness. Citizen seeks to inspire her audience through the presentation of identity politics in the modern-day. It is a work premised on self-awareness to unconscious thoughts and actions. Her use of the second person,
He characterized African Americans based on plantations, watermelon patch Alabama porch monkeys. In the studio he stereotyped all rappers as those who all smoke and drink. Showing the interaction with everyone in the studio doing nothing but speaking on blacks and their difference between whites. He only showed the negative effects of rappers in the studio, showing nothing positive about what they are doing.
I was late for school, and my father had to walk me in to class so that my teacher would know the reason for my tardiness. My dad opened the door to my classroom, and there was a hush of silence. Everyone's eyes were fixed on my father and me. He told the teacher why I was late, gave me a kiss goodbye and left for work. As I sat down at my seat, all of my so-called friends called me names and teased me. The students teased me not because I was late, but because my father was black. They were too young to understand. All of this time, they thought that I was white, because I had fare skin like them, therefore I had to be white. Growing up having a white mother and a black father was tough. To some people, being black and white is a contradiction in itself. People thought that I had to be one or the other, but not both. I thought that I was fine the way I was. But like myself, Shelby Steele was stuck in between two opposite forces of his double bind. He was black and middle class, both having significant roles in his life. "Race, he insisted, blurred class distinctions among blacks. If you were black, you were just black and that was that" (Steele 211).
The sympathetic humanist might bristle at first, but would eventually concur. For it's hard to argue with poverty. At the time the novel was published (1912), America held very few opportunities for the Negro population. Some of the more successful black men, men with money and street savvy, were often porters for the railroads. In other words the best a young black man might hope for was a position serving whites on trains. Our protagonist--while not adverse to hard work, as evidenced by his cigar rolling apprenticeship in Jacksonville--is an artist and a scholar. His ambitions are immense considering the situation. And thanks to his fair skinned complexion, he is able to realize many, if not all, of them.
One argument she has is that master narratives are written by “voices of white male intellectuals” and are therefore, not accurate in comparison to a theory that can be written by a black theorist of real black experiences. She describes the act of reading postmodernists’ theories about postmodern blackness as, “outside looking in”. Even essays and articles written by black folks are reacting towards high modernism, in which black women seemingly do not have a role in the black cultural production. Overall, she argues that without direct contact and experiences of the “other” we move in a direction that supports radical liberation struggles by allowing white theorists to write about their experiences for them. This results in readers believing what these “voices of white male intellectuals” pick and choose to publish as their conceptions of “Otherness”. An example she provides in the article is rap; hooks uses rap as an example of where young black folks highlight their voices. She encourages this beyond rap, beyond critiquing postmodernism