Citizen An American Lyric (Book) : Rankine, Claudia : "Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Courtesy of the Artists. Just eight […] In this section, then, his (probable) voice emerges as one of unification, as he speaks about his “brothers.” Moreover, his observations about slavery and the Jim Crow era highlight the fact that contemporary racism has its roots in the United States’ history, which has easily made its way into the present. Claudia Rankine (/ ˈ r æ ŋ k ɪ n /; born September 15, 1963) is an American poet, essayist, playwright, and the editor of several anthologies.She is the author of five volumes of poetry, two plays, and various essays. For complete recording and program notes go to Jacket2. This Wednesday, April 25, I will be co-facilitating a campus-wide discussion with Dr. Ching-In Chen (SHSU Department of English) on Claudia Rankine’s (2014) book-length poem Citizen: An American Lyric. Citizen switches between several speakers, although the reader may not be informed of these switches at all. The Question and Answer section for Citizen: An American Lyric is a great The sixth poem, "August 4, 2011 / In Memory of Mark Duggan,” begins by taking up the issue of silence in a different light. The narrative then shifts to a group of boys approaching the tree that evening (after the other boy has left) and hanging a noose from its branches. The truck has run over a black person, and the aural landscape would suggest that it is proud of this. More importantly, though, it’s worth considering Rankine’s interest in Hurricane Katrina, since the fact that relief organizations effectively left black communities to fend for themselves is a perfect illustration of the ways in which racial prejudice and implicit bias has worked its way into contemporary times, bringing themselves to bear on life or death situations. This is only a short answer space but I can make a general comment. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”. The first part of the event is another player hounding Zidane with racist epithets, and the second part is Zinedine head-butting the player in the chest. Small strips that encompass every frame of the interaction accompany the text as it progresses. Suduiko, Aaron ed. Although it’s never stated that this man is African American, the protagonist’s empathy suggests that the main reason nobody is sitting next to him is because he is a black man—and, of course, because they have preconceived and unfair ideas about what this means. In this script, an unidentified speaker (who appears to be a lawyer) tells a story about driving home from a client’s house one night, knowing he’ll be pulled over by the police. I also found section VI on Katrina, Trayvon Martin, James Craig Anderson, the Jena Six, and New York’s stop and frisk policy especially powerful. Like in the rest of Citizen, blackness is only mentioned where it is used through language. The longest section by a large margin, Section VI turns out to be around 60 pages, depending on the edition. Consequently, these recordings document the last moments of Trayvon Martin’s life, meaning that they are “the call[s] of good-byes.” The picture included at the end of this “situation script” is also worth paying attention to, since it’s a famous photograph of a public lynching that took place in Indiana during the Jim Crow Era. Like Serena Williams’s actions at the 2009 U.S. Open, Zinedine Zidane’s decision to headbutt Materazzi is an example of what it looks like to allow oneself to respond to injustice in real time—or, as Frederick Douglass might put it, what it might look like when somebody finally “resolve[s] to fight.”, A new script begins, this time for a so-called “Public Fiction” called “Making Room.” In this section, the. An abstract painting, showing a black male made of bright gold and blue riveted metals, finishes this poem. He can just feel that this is going to happen. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. ... Claudia Rankine ” Jenny @ Reading the End says: December 6, 2015 at 10:04 am. A police vehicle comes to a screeching halt and the narrator must get on the ground, despite the fact that he only fits a description and is not the criminal. The officer claims that this man fits the description of a criminal on the run, and though the narrator is not this person, he is quite accustomed to being the person who “fit[s] the description.” In the end, he is charged for speeding even though the officer originally said he. Another man knows he will be pulled over, and prepares with an opened briefcase on the passenger seat and the word yes rolling about his tongue. Key Figures. A new script for a “situation video”—this one called “Stop-and-Frisk”—appears. And though this doesn’t necessarily excuse the Jena Six for resorting to violence, readers will perhaps sense that they are in the process of learning that outrage (and, indeed, violence) isn’t a productive way of responding to bigotry and injustice. Chapter Summaries & Analyses. The unidentified speaker then suggests that “boys will be boys,” especially as they try to figure out “the position of positioning,” which everyone knows is only a problem for “one kind of boy.”. France and Europe has a long history of racism against Algerian people. Indeed, the person who makes a point of noting that the people impacted by the hurricane are “so black” renders them “hypervisible,” focusing first and foremost on the color of their skin. As soon as a different passenger gets off, the woman sits down. Each was described as a script of a situation video. In the following poem about the Jena Six, Rankine illustrates the deeply racist and threatening provocation of nooses appearing in a tree on a high-school campus. In interviews, Rankine says that the stories are collected from a wide range of different people: black, white, male, and female. In this version, though, their bodies have been removed, and there is only darkness above. The quotes Rankine draws from Fanon and Baldwin speak to how people who have been impacted by bigotry respond to such offenses. What’s notable, though, is that this specific version of the picture has been altered. Claudia Rankine is most recently the author of the poetry collections Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2014), Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2004), and Plot (Grove Press, 2001).For Citizen, she received the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry.She currently serves as the Henry G. Lee Professor of Poetry at Pomona College. Citizen: An American Lyric essays are academic essays for citation. The textbooks taught him these things, but they could not teach him that he would be "walking into a fist punching through the blackness" (90). Citizen switches between several speakers, although the reader may not be informed of these switches at all. "James Craig Anderson is dead" becomes the anthem of the final stanzas (85). Chapters 3-4. Copyright © 1999 - 2021 GradeSaver LLC. This is hardly the first time that the reader has confronted this tension. Claudia Rankine is a Jamaican-American poet and playwright. To keep with the trend of quoting, James Baldwin is frequently quoted in these passages as well. The narrator is on the phone with her brother, continuing to talk though he has all but hung up the phone. The eighth poem in this section is called "July 29-August 18, 2014 / Making Room.” A woman stands on the subway even though there is a seat available next to a man. A replica with black men’s faces compliments the picture, but the windows and bars are replaced with fences, barbed wire, and trees. Summary. Citizen: An American Lyric study guide contains a biography of Claudia Rankine, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Struggling with distance learning? "Making Room" is used as a script for Public Fiction at Hammer Museum, whereas the others are used for a video collaboration with Rankine's husband, John Lucas. In a series of “Scripts for Situation Videos” that Rankine created with her husband, John Lucas, she addresses Katrina, the murders of Trayvon Martin and James … You ask if he will, but this irritates him. In this context, though, the boys who make up the Jena Six are in the process of figuring out how they fit into their surrounding circumstances, and though the white boy they hurt is presumably also trying to come to terms with his cultural positioning, the speaker indicates that the struggle to orient oneself in society is significantly more difficult for black boys attempting to make sense of their place in a racist world. His skin has perhaps a slightly more olive tone, but an American would never assert his blackness based only on visuals. This is also the only poem told in the second person in this section. The College of Education and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Sam Houston State University, with our partners from the Division of Student Affairs,… This section is broken into segments, beginning with one entitled "August 29, 2005 / Hurricane Katrina." GradeSaver, 15 August 2016 Web. LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in. This “situation video” references the Jena Six, a group of six African American high school students who were arrested in 2006 for severely beating a white boy at a party. It’s unclear who is speaking during this section, though it seems possible that the voice belongs to Trayvon Martin, a black teenager from Florida who was shot and killed by a member of a gated community’s neighborhood watch in 2012. This section dips into figuration and abstraction, but readers might intuit that the speaker (who is most likely Trayvon Martin himself) is referring to the fact that the incident that unfolded between Trayvon Martin and the neighborhood watchman who killed him was picked up in the background of several telephone calls that neighbors placed to the police. Another person comments on the situation by talking about getting chills while looking at the people who have been influenced by the hurricane, emphasizing that they are extremely poor and “so black.” \. Stop-and-frisk policing is a method of law enforcement that is prone to racial profiling, since it allows officers to stop civilians and search them for weapons or other illegal possessions without adequately justifying why. Communicating nonverbally, he and the protagonist then feel supported by one another despite the unaccommodating atmosphere of their immediate environment, which is full of people who are clearly biased against black people. Even where borders seem to have been broken down, the traces remain. The UK media covered the Rodney King-LA riots differently than the US. content is what is said in a literary work, form is the way in which it is said. Each photo is the same young black boy, and the captions below each are ‘BLUE’, ‘BLACK’, and ‘BOY’, respectively. "October 10, 2006 / World Cup," the seventh poem, follows an escalation of events involving two players at a soccer match, one of which (Zinedine Zidane) is of Algerian ethnicity. That evening, a group of white boys strung up nooses on the tree. Johanning, Cameron. Read the Study Guide for Citizen: An American Lyric…, Considering Schiller and Arnold Through Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, Poetry, Politcs, and Personal Reflection: Redefining the Lyric in Claudia Rankine's Citizen, Ethnicity's Impact on Literary Experimentation, Citizen: A Discourse on our Post-Racial Society, View our essays for Citizen: An American Lyric…, Introduction to Citizen: An American Lyric, View the lesson plan for Citizen: An American Lyric…, View Wikipedia Entries for Citizen: An American Lyric…. Teachers and parents! She intersperses her writing with images of various paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other digital media … As New Yorker writer Don Chiasson notes, Rankine has said that this is an attempt to "pull the lyric back into its realities." A woman down the train asks a man to switch seats so she can sit with her daughter or son. The police officer won't tell you why you are getting out of the car and getting on the ground, although you both agree that you were not speeding. Another script for a “situation video”—this one entitled “Jena Six”—appears, presenting readers with an account of an unidentified character walking into a school yard and sitting beneath a tree. This time, the protagonist focuses not on her own mistreatment, but on the glaring assumptions her fellow passengers have made about the man sitting next to the empty seat. When somebody asks where FEMA or the other relief organizations are, another person answers by saying that she heard that the people who are supposed to help want to stay away. Claudia Rankine is an important voice asserting the fallacy of a postracial multicultural America, in which citizens of all physiognomies and histories are supposedly guaranteed equal access to resources, opportunities, and fair treatment in the eyes of the law. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. Chapters 5-6. Chapters 1-2. From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. Please provide the paragraph in question. Citizen: An American Lyric Claudia Rankine. In fact, roughly half of this section is comprised of quotes from both African-American and white historical figures. Images and accounts of looting took over, and the murder of an unarmed man by the police goes quietly away. And sure enough, it does, an officer asking him to get out of the car and telling him to lie on the ground. Trayvon Martin, James Craig Anderson, the Jena Six, and Hurricane Katrina are all treated powerfully in Citizen, but Rankine’s foregrounding of the more persistent noise of everyday racism is itself a protest against the demand placed on black artists to perform familiar forms of “commodified anger.” At... Look at the first paragraph on page 24. strictly speaking form and content are inseperable. The Learning Network For those who know Zinedine Zidane, the soccer player mentioned in one of the stories, there may have been some confusion, because Zidane is a French man. Instant downloads of all 1408 LitChart PDFs This altercation was connected to an incident that took place at their school, when a black student and his friends decided to sit underneath a tree, under which only white students usually sat. The first poem contrasts the "fiction of facts" which "assumes randomness and indeterminacy" with the necessity of visual presence (73-75). Enjoy this free preview Unlock all 24 pages of this Study Guide by subscribing today. You look at the man’s reflection in the window, which is shrouded in darkness from the subway tunnel. If you are asked to move, you will tell them that you are "traveling as a family" (114). Claudia Rankine PoemTalk #114, Discussing Claudia Rankine's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely", feat. They are entitled "November 23, 2012 / In Memory of Jordan Russell Davis" and "February 15, 2014 / The Justice System.”. The second poem, "February 26, 2012 / In Memory of Trayvon Martin," the narrator asserts that her brothers, who are notoriously normal, doing things like waiting and saying the narrator's name on her birthday, have been imprisoned. 15 The video poem opens to the sounds of organ music, reminiscent of a Baroque funeral dirge, followed by a group of black teens walking towards a clothing boutique. Chapter 7. Again, readers encounter another abstract and poetic section. For example, in "Making Room,” the reader can easily identify the cause for the woman who is standing instead of sitting next to the man: he is black. She distinguishes this verbiage from going to prison. Citizen by Claudia Rankine is a collection of poetry, essays and images that explores race in the 21st century. This is also the section most heavily criticized because of its attempts to tie politics, a highly fact-driven field, into poetry, a highly emotion-driven field. It was published in 2014 and won several awards including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, LA Times Book Prize for Poetry, PEN Open Book Award. It isn’t particularly clear what, exactly, a “situation video” is, though readers will perhaps have a better sense if they visit Claudia Rankine’s website, where there are a number of conceptual videos accompanied by the text in this section. Baldwin seems cognizant of this dynamic, which is why he upholds that black people must at least try to find ways to keep themselves from “smash[ing]” the white people who treat them so poorly. ... Claudia Rankine contemplates citizenship in a deeply divided society. Simone White, Kyoo Lee, and Gabriel Ojeda-Sague on July 15, 2017. A man ponders what the water wanted, as if this tragedy were in the past and not the present. This is the blue sky. Irritated by supremacist treatment at school, the Jena Six were six dark youngsters in Jena, Louisiana sentenced in the 2006 beating of Justin Barker, a white secondary school understudy. Rather, it often leads to little more than patronizing tokenization. Citizen An American Lyric (Book) : Rankine, Claudia : "Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. The aggregate of these quotations are the unmistakable difficulty of reproaching loaded words of racism with unimaginable equal force day in and day out. A noteworthy paradox emerges in this moment, as the black people affected by Hurricane Katrina become “hypervisible” but are also forgotten about. The man next to you finally turns toward you. Word Count: 198. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/28/books/review/claudia-rankines-citizen.html And yet, the African American people dealing with the fallout of Hurricane Katrina still feel overlooked by society on the whole, having been left to fend for themselves. Rankine experiments with boundaries. There is, however, a simple event underpinning all of this figuration: the 2011 death of James Craig Anderson, a middle-aged black man who was intentionally run over by a young white man driving a pickup truck. Martin became an iconic figure in the aftermath of his death, which led to an outpouring of rage regarding hate crimes, racial profiling, and violence against the African American community. ‘Blood at the Root’ Draws Inspiration From the Jena Six Case in Louisiana. A new seat opens up on the train and the woman who avoided the seat next to the man in question now sits down, prompting the. This white man is the person whose voice appears in the snippet of audio the speaker references—a condemning piece of evidence. Claudia Rankine is an essayist, poet, playwright and the editor of several anthologies; she is currently the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University. This, in turn, causes the protagonist to question why someone would ever feel disconnected from this kind of tragedy, since any human should be able to understand this sorrow and anger. "Citizen: An American Lyric Section VI Summary and Analysis". What is "sellable anger"? However, her decision to sit next to him turns into something meaningful when he turns to look at her, making it clear that he sees her kindness as an act of solidarity, not one of pity. This “situation video” references the Jena Six, a group of six African American high school students who were arrested in 2006 for severely beating a white boy at a party. 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