Monday, October 5, 2020

Review: Just Us: An American Conversation

Just Us: An American Conversation 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 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.

One 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 Book Festival.

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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