Author(s): Claudia Rankine
Contemporary America finds itself riven by a culture war in which friendships, families and communities are under strain and defensiveness and aggression alike are on the rise, enshrined in federal law-making and government policy. It is not alone. In such partisan conditions, how can humans best approach one another across our differences? Taking the study of whiteness and white supremacy as a guiding light, Claudia Rankine avoids simply telling us what to do, and instead urges us to enter into the discussions which could offer the only humane pathways through this moment of division.
Just Usis an invitation to discover what it takes to stay in the room together, and to breach the silence, guilt and violence that follow direct acknowledgements of the role of whiteness. Rankine's questions disrupt the false comfort of spaces like the airport, the theatre, the dinner party and the voting booth, where our public and private lives intersect, and neutrality and politeness live on the surface of sometimes fundamental oppositions of commitment, belief and prejudice.
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 behaviour at a play; and women confronting the political and cultural implications of dyeing 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 Usis Rankine's most intimate work, less interested in being right than in being true and being together.