Citizen An American Lyric By Claudia Rankine

1505 WordsMay 9, 20177 Pages
Citizen An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine is a unique piece of literature that truly encompasses the concept of being a Black Intellectual assessing the state of Black people in the American society. Among many of Rankine 's passages in Citizen, she addresses microaggressions, racial incidents and current events surrounding Black Americans. From there her novel further transitions into assessing high profiled racial and political cases in America of Blacks who have died unjust deaths, as well as examining the complex ideas of reaching a resolution to race and ethnic issues in America. What makes this piece of literature unique is that Rankine not only uses political rhetoric to examine the state of the Black experience but through…show more content…
Rankine presents the ideas of Blacks maneuvering through the system by explaining situations which Black people have been affected by systematic racism. For instance, she provides scenarios that show the relationship between Black people and microaggressions. Two scenarios in particular are unique to this concept. The first scenario is Rankine discusses is a Black person’s work being copied at school and they are compared to a White person: “The Route is often associative. You smell good, You are twelve attending Sts. Philip and James School on White Plains Road and the girl sitting in the seat behind asks you to lean the right during your exas so she can copy what you have written. Sister Evelyn is in the habit of taping the 100s and the failing grades to the coat closet doors. The girl is Catholic with waist-length brown hair. You can’t remember her name: Mary? Catherine? You never really speak except for the time she makes her request and later when she tells you you smell good and have features more like a White person. You assume she is thanking you for letting her cheat and feels better cheating from almost a White person”. This passage speaks to the theme of maneuvering through Black spaces because Rankine examines an instance where Blacks are outcasted and treated in comparison to Whites.. It is clear through this passage she uses this scenario to exemplify the relationship between Whites and Blacks and how Blacks in the
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