“I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background.” One of many powerful quotes in Citizen, Claudia Rankine’s heart-wrenching, genre-bending, rage-inspiring 2014 collection.
With the current abhorrent human rights violations inflicted upon George Floyd acting as the most recent entry in a blood-soaked history of racism in this country, this book, now more than ever, is a critical and necessary read. It is a back-hand slap across the face, an expose of the intolerable injustices and dehumanizations that have been disgustingly perpetrated, and are still being perpetrated, against black human beings, both blatantly and under-handedly. Racism and injustice and dehumanization will no longer be tolerated, nor should they ever have been in the first place, to any degree. This is non-negotiable.
Citizen, perhaps more than any other book this decade, deserves to be cemented into humanity’s literary history, serving as an explosive guidance text for generations to come. Please read it, then do something. Vote against anti-discriminatory polices; donate to organizations that are combating despicable and hateful cogs in the broken machine of our society. Change can only be made when our hands are linked, our voices are loud, and our hearts are bared, firm, and angry.