"That should be a national motto for us" - K. Tippett
January 15, 2019 3:22 PM   Subscribe

How can I say this so we can stay in this car together, and yet, explore the things I want to explore with you? This is the question Claudia Rankine asks when Krista Tippett interviews her about race and her 2014 book Citizen: An American Lyric, among other things. They also talk briefly about Eula Biss's questions about whiteness and white debt. (First link contains both an audio interview and its transcript.)

Biss was also interviewed by Tippett for On Being. (Link contains both the audio interview and its transcript.)

Among her many honours, Rankine is the founder of The Racial Imaginary Institute and was a MacArthur Fellow in 2016.

Biss's latest book is On Immunity: An Inoculation. Her previous book Notes from No Man's Land won a National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism.

Previously on MF (Rankine): The Meaning of Serena Williams

Previously on MF (Biss): On Immunity
posted by platitudipus (9 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
I read Citizen side by side with How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon (many previouslies), mid 2016. They both crushed me, but in some way I think prepped me for the election.
posted by Gorgik at 4:56 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Oh, I haven't read the book by Laymon. Do you recommend it, Gorgik?

My thought, when I read Citizen, when I read the (earlier) companion volume Don't Let me be Lonely (also subtitled An American lyric), and when I heard this interview, was that I could only wish to be as brave and clear-thinking as Rankine is. (And I'll stop fangirling now...)
posted by platitudipus at 5:17 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Laymon's new book, Heavy, is supposed to even better. I've heard nothing but raves about it.
posted by TwoStride at 5:40 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


oooh...I'll have to seek it out.
posted by platitudipus at 5:41 PM on January 15


I would recommend reading How to Kill Yourself first and then Heavy, first because there's more of a range of topics in the essays, but also because, since Heavy of course includes the period during which he was writing those essays, it's very instructive to read it afterwards and ask yourself what you guessed or understood or missed or misunderstood about his personal life based on any given essay.
posted by praemunire at 6:02 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


...anyway, I wonder. Rankine came away from that Uber encounter with an awareness of her driver as a whole human being with a lot of pain, etc. What did her Uber driver come away with?i
posted by praemunire at 6:05 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Presumably what they went into the transaction for - insufficient payment and a five-star review.
posted by Grangousier at 2:24 AM on January 16


Citizen is excellent. Long Division is also pretty good. There was a FPP on Laymon like last month that's a comprehensive and compelling sampler.
posted by sibboleth at 7:27 AM on January 16


I am so intrigued by the The Racial Imaginary Institute. As an urban planner, I think about spatial imaginaries, but these are so bound up in racialized notions of "the public." From the interview:
Part of my desire to have a conversation is really to be able to find my own blind spots and to be able to open — to be curious, to go places with a person beyond our predestined positionings.
posted by spamandkimchi at 10:30 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


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