Award-winning author Claudia Rankine discusses Just Us with editor-in-chief Tom Beer.
On this special episode, sponsored in part by Amazon Crossing, poet and essayist Claudia Rankine discusses Just Us: An American Conversation (Graywolf, Sept. 8), a paradigm-shifting cross-disciplinary collection of essays, poems, and images that contend with the perceptual and experiential divide betweenBlack and White Americans.
Kirkus: “Rankine writes with disarming intimacy and searing honesty about pointed exchanges with White friends and colleagues, fissures within her marriage, and encounters with White strangers who assume some sort of superiority of rank. Throughout this potent book, the author ably conveys the urgency of the stakes regarding race in America, which many White people fail to acknowledge as an issue. The way she challenges those close to her, risking those relationships, shows readers just how critical the issues are to her—and to us” (starred review).
Rankine and guest host Tom Beer discuss negotiating the difficulties of discussing race in America, that Black and White Americans live in “parallel realities,” different perceptions of “White privilege,” who gets to live in peace (and where), civility as deflection, negotiating everyday racism, and conversation as a tool for dismantling systems of oppression.
But first, in an interview sponsored by Amazon Crossing, host Megan Labrise talks with Swedish hip-hop star Jason Diakité about his moving memoir, A Drop of Midnight.
Then editors Eric Liebetrau and Laurie Muchnick join with their reading recommendations for the week.
Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream by Mychal Denzel Smith (Bold Type Books)
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf)
Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald (Grove)
Also mentioned in this episode:
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House)
Fairview by Jackie Sibblies Drury
Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.