Posted by: bwoof | July 9, 2016

Citizen: An America Lyric by Claudia Rankine

The best part about grad school is the car-pooling pre- and post-class conversations with my classmates. It’s during these times that I learn the most, tangle deeply with ideas, and have the most  “Wow, I never thought of that angle before…” moments.

A class I missed with the cohort last summer included the reading of a book that landed outside the usual grad school researched article backdrop. And it is this book  (is is a poem? a muse? a novel?), required not only by the prof, but highly recommended by my co-learners that I was by happenstance reading in this week when racial tensions heighten, violence increases, and the hope for in-country peace seems virtually hopeless [See this article for a sad reminder about what’s happening this week. And yes, I know that even in the selection of an article there is bias. Truth be told, I don’t know how to choose without some internal filter affecting my choice — but I am now aware that I do have bias.].

citizen an american lyricClaudia Rankine’s CITIZEN: AN AMERICAN LYRIC invites see a subversive world of micro-aggressions that I have, like the many in the book, been guilty of committing. It’s more than unsettling and sobering. And in this week when collective anger erupts into news headlines, Claudia’s words help me understand that the racism is a violence that comes from a place, a place that I need to learn about.

Of the many reviews to consider, here is just one – I offer it in full knowledge that I have curated the options–and I wonder to what extent my own bias has determined my choice.

Oh so complicated!

As Jesus said, “Love your neighbour as yourself”. This may be the best advice ever in these tumultuous times. Dear Claudia, I’m sorry. To what extent can I love?

Grateful for:

  • Literature — the window into the soul
  • Big big big whiteboards that I can use to help us ‘see’ ideas, plans, beliefs
  • Susan C for giving me a copy of Citizen
  • The Meeting House and many reminders through messages, tweets, and conversations that violence is not the only option.

Curious about:

  • What does ‘love my neighbour’ look like when the veins of -isms run so deep that I’m not able to recognize that they are there?
  • What I need to know about ‘black lives matter’? What would Claudia want me to know?



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