"Certain moments send adrenaline to the heart, dry out the tongue, and clog the lungs." ~ pg. 10
Citizen: An American Lyric is a follow-up to Claudia Rankine's Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. Though I did not read her first book, this bold new book is right on time. It recounts ongoing events in the twenty-first century such as Hennessy Youngman's Art Thoughtz, Hurricane Katrina, Trayvon Martin, Serena Williams, CNN and other media. Reading about these events you question whether they are slips of the tongue or intentional offensives. Either way, it affects our stress level and our idea of citizenship in a so-called post racial society.
"And you are not the guy and still you fit the description because there is only one guy who is always the guy fitting the description." ~ pg. 102
Citizen: An American Lyric is in essay and image format. I am not a fan of poetry but could relate to some of the short essays. Too many times to count I have heard, "I didn't know you were black!" So many times I have been the only meatball in the rice caught in a conversation about race, wondering what impression I gave to let the other person know this conversation was okay to be having. It usually ends with a dismissive "but you're not black black." As if that explanation makes it okay. Meanwhile it is ever present in my mind that I am not treated as an equal citizen. We see it in the media and news every day. We see it in our neighborhoods. Unfortunately, this really is the American lyric that Claudia Rankine so powerfully described in this book.
Title: Citizen: An American Lyric
Author: Claudia Rankine
Published: October 2014
Challenge: Diversity on the Shelf; Popsugar Short Stories; New Authors