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Citizen: An American Lyric

I don’t know what I can say about this book that hasn’t, I’m sure, already been said. It’s been four years now since it was published, and I’m only now getting around to reading it for some reason. And at first I wasn’t sure if it had affected me that much, but since reading it I’ve noticed so many other discussions about race, from Gambino’s This is America to Coates’s article on Kanye, Dirty Computer, and others.

Citizen (by Claudia Rankine) is mostly a laying-bare of the various micro-aggressions the speaker (author?) has experienced, which includes a lot of erasure. It also talks about tennis more than I’d expected, about Serena Williams’s career, about her anger that stands out more against the whiteness of her sport. It also includes a lot of evocative art.

I guess I’m saying I’m reminded again how big of a problem race is in America, how rotten the foundations are, but I’m still at a loss as to what I can do. I’m writing this as a hook for my readlist and as an admonition: read this book. It’s important.