"As we are tossed about in the highly political world we live in, she shares a resolute answer that we need."
—RACHEL DIAMOND, Prose Workshop
“As a Korean student who is not familiar to bias or prejudice toward the black people in America, the content of the reading is definitely shocking . . . and I feel gratitude to her making me realize the [situation]. In Korea, some people said that Koreans are discriminated in America, but at the same time, most of the Koreans discriminated Americans and Filipinos. For this reason, I have felt the necessity to deal with the issue [of] racism seriously.”
—EUN SOL LEE, Craft of Poetry
"There are few times in this country when race, a purely visual act, can be put to paper. How do you describe when someone calls you 'boy' when asked to vacate a premises, or when a close friend confuses you for another black worker, calls you two 'essentially brothers' even though you both are not only two separate skin tones but entirely different bone structures? Attempts to explain this can sometimes fall on deaf ears. These situations become submerged in apathy, so much so that it could convince you that you just might be crazy. Claudia Rankine’s Citizen not only describes these situations with the lasting pain these singular exchanges can have, but uses physical images that give context and character to these events so that if words fail, pictures will not. Rankine’s grasp of poetic prose and mastery of the second-person narrative is almost as beautiful as the imagery she has tamed."
—STEVEN UNDERWOOD, Prose Workshop
“It hits home for people of color. . . . It took people like Martin Luther King, Jr., and even Claudia Rankine, to talk or even write about these problems to bring a change to society and bring justice for everyone."
—TIANNA WATSON, Craft of Poetry
“[Citizen] was ‘refreshingly uncomfortable.’ It dealt with an issue that many realize is present, yet are uncomfortable and unwilling to acknowledge or talk about. When considering this, Citizen reminds me of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists. I compare both of these texts because they both deal with a privilege and/or disadvantage that is acquired by uncontrollable characters of being human. . . . When I read the text, it seemed to have this 'as a matter of fact' undertone. Once I heard the text spoken, however, that changed into more of a ‘this is what happened.’”
—SAMIRAH WILLIAMS, Craft of Poetry