Racism In Claudia Rankine's Citizen

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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 …show more content…
Rankine’s lyric Citizen has been described as “meditation on activist struggles and literary aesthetics” (Ferguson et al). Rankine used her gift as a writer to show that we may be in the twenty first century, but even today not everyone is treated as equals. She has reinvented what the word citizen truly means by showing the not so pretty side of what a superior attitude can produce. Rankine exposed the sad and dirty stories that African Americans have to put up with daily. She poses the question “what makes white people think that they are more superior”, which leads us to ask our selves if we subconsciously see those around us as inferior. One story after another Rankine displayed the harsh reality that is African Americans are stereotyped. Whether it is a famous tennis player or a person in a coffee shop, they can all feel the people looking down on them for their skin color. Race is a very current subject in today’s world, and it has turned the subject into a nonchalant topic, but Rankine managed to bring it back to …show more content…
Rankine went as far as naming her lyric about race issue Citizen. Some may think the title is sarcastic or a way of mocking the people who think they are more of a citizen than the next person, but I see the title as a label for all people. Claudia Rankine’s title had a deeper purpose than to just mock the people who felt they were better than others. Rankine wrote this lyric in the hopes of opening the eyes of those who believed that race was no longer an issue. One of the greatest wants in life is to feel like you belong, and by giving the name Citizen to her lyric it gave the people who felt inferior like they had a place they could fit

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