One of our recommended books is Just Us by Claudia Rankine

JUST US

An American Conversation


As everyday white supremacy becomes increasingly vocalized with no clear answers at hand, how best might we approach one another? Claudia Rankine, without telling us what to do, urges us to begin the discussions that might open pathways through this divisive and stuck moment in American history.

Just Us is an invitation to discover what it takes to stay in the room together, even and especially in breaching the silence, guilt, and violence that follow direct addresses of whiteness. Rankine’s questions disrupt the false comfort of our culture’s liminal and private spaces—the airport, the theater, the dinner party,

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As everyday white supremacy becomes increasingly vocalized with no clear answers at hand, how best might we approach one another? Claudia Rankine, without telling us what to do, urges us to begin the discussions that might open pathways through this divisive and stuck moment in American history.

Just Us is an invitation to discover what it takes to stay in the room together, even and especially in breaching the silence, guilt, and violence that follow direct addresses of whiteness. Rankine’s questions disrupt the false comfort of our culture’s liminal and private spaces—the airport, the theater, the dinner party, the voting booth—where neutrality and politeness live on the surface of differing commitments, beliefs, and prejudices as our public and private lives intersect.

This brilliant arrangement of essays, poems, and images includes the voices and rebuttals of others: white men in first class responding to, and with, their white male privilege; a friend’s explanation of her infuriating behavior at a play; and women confronting the political currency of dying their hair blond, all running alongside fact-checked notes and commentary that complements Rankine’s own text, complicating notions of authority and who gets the last word.

Sometimes wry, often vulnerable, and always prescient, Just Us is Rankine’s most intimate work, less interested in being right than in being true, being together.

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  • Graywolf Press
  • Hardcover
  • September 2020
  • 360 Pages
  • 9781644450215

Buy the Book

$30.00

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About Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine is the author of Just Us, credit John LucasClaudia Rankine is the author of Citizen: An American Lyric and four previous books, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. Her work has appeared recently in the Guardian, the New York Times Book Review, the New York Times Magazine, and the Washington Post. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, the winner of the 2014 Jackson Poetry Prize, and a contributing editor of Poets & Writers. She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2016. Rankine is the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University.

Author Website

Praise

“Rankine presents another arresting blend of essays and images, perfectly attuned to this long-overdue moment of racial reckoning. . . .  [Analyzing] the overwhelming power of whiteness in everyday interaction . . . Rankine once again opens a literary window into the Black experience, for those willing to look in.”Booklist, starred review

“An incisive, anguished, and very frank call for Americans of all races to cultivate their ‘empathetic imagination’ in order to build a better future.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Rankine seeks to find a space beyond white defensiveness and guilt where meaningful discussions can take place. . . . A must-read to add to the conversation on racism, antiracism, and white fragility.”Library Journal, starred review

“Fiercely intimate, rigorous. . . . [Just Us] lets all of us in on the conversations—with others and the self—that are necessary for survival, which, attested by this all-too-human account, is rooted in the vigilance that racially imagined people must maintain for their very being.” —Nuar Alsadir