Microaggressions In Claudia Rankine's Citizen By Heather Love

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Claudia Rankine’s Citizen poses a dynamic relationship between the two terms microaggressions and macroaggressions. In a critical analysis of Citizen, Heather Love suggests, “Microaggressions can be understood as a point of articulation in a larger circuit of violence: although they barely cross the threshold of visibility (indeed, are sometimes referred to as “invisible racism”), effective description can bring them more clearly into view” (Love 436). Love’s interpretation of the usage of microaggressions in Rankine’s book illustrates a cause and an effect mechanism. These subtle and sometimes innocuous acts of microaggressions are what give rise to the murderous macroaggressions that are present in America. Americans often ponder upon the …show more content…
Words like “beating” and “crushed” cause the reader to actually imagine and feel the action being imposed on Anderson during his death. The reader unexpectedly becomes the one who is experiencing the beating and crushing which causes an emotional experience with the text. For a second, you feel what it feels like to be a black citizen in America. The imprudent murder of Anderson relates to the gruesome murders of Abram Smith and Thomas Shipp in 1930 during the Great Depression. These two young men were African Americans who like Anderson, suffered from being wrongfully killed by whites. Smith and Shipp were unjustifiably accused of raping a white woman and were then lynched with ten thousand white males, females, and children howling for their deaths. A source from America’s Black Holocaust Museum quoted, “When the lynchers started to pull him up, Smith tried to pull the noose from his neck. They lowered him down, stabbed him, and broke his arms. Then they pull him up again” (Kaplan). Just as Rankine’s use of explicit word choice to depict the atrocious death of Anderson, we see words such as, “stabbed” and “broke” that allow the reader to understand the harshness of the crime. Crimes such as the murders of Smith and Shipp were more socially “accepted” in the 1930s, however, it is thought that America has progressed away from hate crimes such as these. The only difference present here is that Smith and Shipp were hung by a tree. But each of these three black men were played with before they were murdered. In other words, the whites involved in both of these cases, tortured these “black objects” and then finally killed them. One can refer to this as a cat and mouse game. It is sickening that this is what

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