Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"Among white people,
black people are allowed to talk about their precarious lives, but they
are not allowed to implicate the present company...to create discomfort
by pointing out the facts is seen as socially unacceptable. Let's get
over ourselves, it's structural not personal...."
In Just Us,
Claudia Rankine pokes into areas of discomfort surrounding issues of
race - in airplane lines and dinner parties, friendships and theater
audiences, meet the teacher night and discussions on hair color. She
calls up white friends/colleagues to try to understand how they are
seeing or experiencing differently. She doesn't play nice during a
faculty dinner. She documents the places where she fact checks her own
statements. She does not provide easy answers, she is instead modeling
the kinds of conversations we need to be able to have with one another
if we are to move forward.
There is some poetic language in this volume, but I feel like it is much more essay focused than Citizen: An American Lyric.
thing I appreciate about Claudia Rankine is her thoughtfulness, the way
she pauses and considers what she thinks and why she thinks it. I was
really reminded of this in the panel she participated in at the Brooklyn
I had a copy from Graywolf through their
Galley Club, and also from the publisher through NetGalley, since I
didn't realize I'd be getting it in the mail. It came out September 8th
but I've been taking it slow.
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