Claudia Rankine Citizenship

1325 Words6 Pages
Racial profiling and discrimination is an underlining theme in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric. The author uses everyday encounters to expose the harsh reality African American people live. Rankine’s perspective on racism is applicable to years dating from 1860 to present day occurrences. Discrimination against African Americans is a continuing problem. Although slavery does not exist, African Americans continually grieve the agony their ancestors faced throughout the Civil War and World War II. African Americans overcame slavery and oppression, but are still harassed with racial profiling tactics. “For many African Americas, simply having dark skin seems to be grounds for being pulled over on the highway and searched based on…show more content…
“The media as an institution drew heavily on racially charged images and ideas because those ideas and images helped sell products. For many years, we believed, not only was the institution plagued by racism, but racism became institutionalized within the industry” (Behnken & Smithers, 117). Media and news sources are exaggerated and televised to get viewers, which makes them money. The stories and stereotypes the media puts out for the world to see is for their personal gain. Media corporations do not think about African American lives and the reputations they destroy. Rankine’s lyric “In Memory of Travon Martin,” addresses how racial profiling is not just done by the police, but by neighbors, which suggests that racism exists even among equals. Seventeen year old, Travon Martin was shot and killed in Florida in 2012 by George Zimmerman. Travon Martin had no criminal record and his wrongful murder infuriated the country as a whole, sparking nationwide protests. One year later, Zimmerman was convicted of second-degree murder. The author uses Travon’s case to show that murders targeted towards black men keep…show more content…
Robert Thurston’s book, Lynching: Mob Murder in Global Perspective, depicts the causes and motives, which sparked these killings. Lynching occurred globally from time periods dating back to 1880. There is no moral way to justify the murder of African Americans who were hung in crowds as people watched them die. The Tuskegee meeting defined lynching as any illegal killed by a group, usually of three or more people, acting under the pretext of service to justice, race, or tradition. Other commentators have extended this point by maintained that lynching must have a public motive, one sanctioned by the community, or that the key to lynching is community approval. But what evidence might demonstrate that approval, and how much of it is necessary in order to label a killing a lynching and not just another ordinary homicide (Thurston, 26). Past practices of lynching have ended, but society is still faced with modern day killings caused by firearms. The solution to end mass murdering is not simple; under the Second Amendment citizens have a legal right to bear arms. However, regulations and preventive measures like background checks can help assure that guns will lie in the hands of the right people. Getting rid of weapons will not end racism, but it will make cities and communities safer and reduce the deaths caused amongst
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