Analysis Of Claudia Rankine 's Citizen We Are Exposed From The Harsh Reality That Racism

791 Words Jul 29th, 2016 4 Pages
In Claudia Rankine’s Citizen we are exposed to the harsh reality that racism, though in different forms, is still alive today. Rankine is said to have pushed the form’s of poetry in order to “disarm readers and circumvent our carefully constructed defense mechanisms against the hint of possibly being racist ourselves” (Bass). Her lyric fights against the vicious stigmas that lie with the stereotypes associated with African Americans. She was able to change the meaning of the word that is citizen and in doing so change the mindsets of the people who read Citizen. When we imagine racism it usually stems back to our history lessons on slavery, but today we see racism in a whole new light. In Citizen Rankine identifies what the people’s idea of a modern citizen truly is, not what the textbook term for it is.
The Webster Dictionary classifies a citizen as “one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman.” In todays world people still see those of a different race as subordinate, and maybe not because they are racist, but because there is stigma that hangs over them that history’s past has yet to let go. Rankine wrote of the daily encounters that those of a different race have to tolerate, whether it be an eccentric look or an inequitable pronouncement. Rankine used the name citizen to illustrate the partiality of not only who a modern citizen is, but also how incorrect the modern definition is. We are all considered citizens in the eyes of the law, but in the eyes of the…

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