Racism In Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric

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Do we think about language when thinking about the origin of racism? We most likely don’t think about it since language and racism do not appear to be correlated. But aren’t they associated? Yes, they are associated in the sense that language itself can take the form of racism. It is essential to acknowledge that language is one of the most influential contributors to racism in order to see the correlation between them. Words have the power to create great things just like they have the power to destroy them. Claudia Rankine uses her book, Citizen: An American Lyric, to illustrate the idea that racism has become an everyday component of our society. This book expresses the idea that language normalizes the existence of racism. This particular …show more content…

The author was describing what people said about Williams when the following was stated: “She is a woman in love, one suggests. She has grown up, another decides, as if responding to the injustice of racism is childish and her previous demonstration of emotion was free-floating and detached from any external actions by others” (Page 35). The words used in the expression “she has grown up” imply that the racism experienced by Williams was not acknowledged as something out of the ordinary since the change in her actions was attributed to her level of maturity rather than to the acts of racism occurred. It is possible to determine that the person who said the expression was most likely a racist individual trying to cover the racism present in this context by placing Serena (obviously the victim) as the perpetuator and the perpetuators as irrelevant to the matter. It is crucial to pay close attention and notice that this is one of the few moments in which Rankine places her own emotion into her writing. Rankine, through her language, emits her anger toward those who said that responding against racism was “childish.” This shows Rankine’s awareness in regards to the normalization of racism and how she is clearly against

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