Book Beginnings quote:
When you are alone and too tired even to turn on any of your devices, you let yourself linger in a past stacked among your pillows.Friday56 quote (59% on e-reader):
And you are not the guy and still you fit the description because there is only one guy who is always the guy fitting the description.Summary: Citizen is part poetry, part essay, part personal, part collective experiences, part historical, and completely heartbreaking and maddening. In it poet Claudia Rankine uses her talent to give voice to the black experience(s) in America. Sometimes, like the opening line, you know she is looking back at her own experiences of being black in America and other times she writes about the experiences of others using lines from news reports or other documents to make her accounting all the more real. Sometimes the poems are about seemingly simple misconceptions like a white friend who mistakenly calls her by the maids name. The maid being the only other black person this friend knows. While other times the poems are about deadly serious topics like the 'stop and frisk' policy that allows for police to stop anyone they suspect of doing wrong. This has led to black men and women being stopped and pulled over for no other reason than they are black because they 'fit the description.' Most of the poems are short and written in free form so, at first glance, I wasn't aware that I was even reading poetry. But the choice usage of perfect words just piled up to leave me clutching my chest because my heart was breaking over and over.
Review: I am sure I'm not the only person who is trying to be open and receptive to change in light of the Black Lives Matter protests and all the information that has been brought forward about white privilege and our ignorance about the racist things we do without thinking. I am trying to shut up and listen. I want to learn and I want to become an anti-racist. Of all the books I've read so far, Citizen has brought me the furthest at the fastest pace. By page two I was seething, and cringing, and crying, and praying "God help us find another way."
The book is divided into sections. The second or third section were all poems about the experiences Serena Williams has had to deal with as a black tennis star that white tennis stars have not had to. For some reason this section opened my eyes even wider than the others. If Serena, who is uber talented and famous, experiences racism on that level then think what happens to the average black man or woman. Ugh. Such exhausting and mind-numbing ugliness.
This book should be required reading but I know a lot of people don't care for poetry. If not this book, what book do you recommend everyone read to help open their eyes about the ugliness of racism in this country? We have a lot of work to do. We can do better. We can be better.