Citizen : An American Lyric

1454 Words6 Pages
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a “citizenship is the common thread that connects all Americans” (“Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities”). However, regardless of possessing a citizenship, there is an apparent divide in race, highlighted in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, as the author exposes the daily experiences of having dark skin in the United States, which can strip the feeling of being American for people. For every citizen to feel like a true citizen of America, a citizenship should not be the only “thread that connects all Americans” (“Citizenship”). Rather, each citizen should have the common feeling of belonging to society, which is accomplished by people fulfilling their…show more content…
The neighbor calls this friend “a menacing black guy,” not “that nice young man.” Then, he proceeds to tell Rankine that he has called the police (Rankine 15). Once again, in the book, a black person is portrayed as an animal, as he seems like a threat. Due to the neighbor believing that the friend was a “menacing” man, rather than the “nice young man,” he implies that he thinks that all black people look the same. This also connects to the ideology that “black people are animals,” as most people cannot tell the difference between each animal from the same species. In addition, the neighbor’s rapid progression towards the calling of law enforcement is shocking. Before even calling Rankine, he immediately phones the police, signifying racial profiling. If the friend were white, the neighbor would have taken other actions before calling the police, such as calling Rankine or even asking the friend what he is doing. Through the two situations, the reader can understand that Rankine’s view of a citizen is one in which there is no discrimination between races; all races receiving equal treatment. Rankine’s opinion of citizenship is a valid one, as black people are also given unjust treatment from government workers. This includes the use of excessive force by police officers, such as the infamous case of the Tamir Rice shooting. Shaila Dewan and
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