Chamblee54

Citizen: An American Lyric Part Two

Posted in Library of Congress, Race, The English Language, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on October 17, 2018


This is the part two in the chamblee54 look at Citizen: An American Lyric. There was little reaction to part one. The rest of the series will be aided and abetted by a pdf edition. PG might even fashion a mashup poem out of the text, to supplement these prose posts.

The pdf has a problem. For some reason, everything is fit into a narrow window. The result is going to be a lot of scrolling. Right now, PG is starting section IV. This is page 59 on the dead tree edition, and page 147 on the pdf. One solution is to copy the file into a word document, and move the text into a more agreeable format. PG can read the text while he is reformatting it.

PG questions the wisdom of tackling this project. We are talking about this author: Claudia Rankine: why I’m spending $625,000 to study whiteness. In a BBC radio show Dr. Rankine asks people if they think about whiteness when they become a blonde. This is not a blonde joke.

Whiteness is a mysterious concept to PG. The subject seems to keep coming up. Whiteness is good for bloggers with whiter’s writer’s block. Chamblee 54 whines whenever whiteness worries wypippo whizzing by. Testing Whiteness And Privilege Stop Getting Racisted At Examine Your Whiteness Examine Your Whiteness Part Two Examine Your Whiteness Part Three In the last part of the EYW trilogy, PG googled the phrase *examine your whiteness.* It comes down to hair. You have the horror movie frizz of Rachel Dolezal, or the soup bowl cut of Dylann Roof.

Study Whiteness was the title of a post at chamblee54. SW was the weekly notes for April 2, 2018. Usually, PG finds a catchy phrase in the text, and uses that for the title. There was an factoid at the end of SW. “In 2016, 574 white people were killed by police, while 266 black people were killed by police. source In 2016, there were 6,576 white homicide victims, and 7,881 black homicide victims. source If you divide the first number by the second number, you get the percent of homicides by police. For white people, it is 8.72% For black people, it is 3.32%.”

Citizen: An American Lyric is supposed to be the focus of this piece. Today we will focus on IV and V. In IV, Dr. Rankine seems to be having a headache. She pulls the blinds down, and tries to escape from the world. A tennis match is on TV, with the sound cut off. For PG, that would be a football game. There is a mirror behind the computer monitor, which points to a TV on the other side of the room. The black lady is watching tennis, while the white man watches football. Tennis is supposed to be a white sport, while football is driven by blackness. Maybe people just enjoy what they enjoy, and the racial labels are only important when it fits your agenda.

Part V continues down the same path as IV. “You hold everything black. You give yourself back until nothing’s left but the dissolving blues of metaphor.” PG notices metaphor more and more. Is PG missing something? Metaphor is a literary gimmick for making comparisons. Except for definition 3 at The urban dictionary: “Metaphor – The word that Christians use to describe contradictions and mistakes in the bible.” Chad went out with a girl named simile. He doesn’t know what he metaphor.

“Hecatomb” is a poem by Mia S. Willis, a Java Monkey regular. She is talking about life in Florida. At several points in the story, the poet shouts “Ain’t that a metaphor?” Does metaphor have another meaning? PG has met many fours. Maybe whiteness will deliver PG from metaphoric fury, into apathetic analogy. It is a parable, or three units of bull?

After a few pages, V recalls two episodes of recreational microaggression. A man cuts in front of someone in a line. A man shows someone a picture of his wife. “She is, he says, beautiful and black, like you.” Soon, the voice is at home. “You lean against the sink, a glass of red wine in your hand and then another, thinking in the morning you will go to the gym…”

The last drink for PG was on December 31, 1988. In a few weeks, it will be thirty years. There is privilege in being able to make that move, and to stick with it. Some people want you to die, so they can laugh at your dead face. When you are in a fight, being fair is a luxury you cannot afford.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Marion Post Wolcott, photographer “Watching a game at Fourth of July celebration, St. Helena Island, South Carolina” July 1939. Part one and part three of this series are now available for your viewing pleasure.

4 Responses

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  1. Whiteness On YouTube | Chamblee54 said, on October 18, 2018 at 11:48 am

    […] you for reading to the end. What better way to end this than with Claudia Rankine, whose work is being discussed on this blog. “One of the things that we don’t say explicitly is that whiteness is a […]

  2. Citizen Part Three | Chamblee54 said, on January 22, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    […] of awards harvested by CAAL. Is this a book to be admired, or a book to be enjoyed? Part one and part two of this series are online. Pictures today are from The Library of […]

  3. Citizen: An American Lyric | Chamblee54 said, on January 23, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    […] the answer is to go off on an authority figure. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. Part two and part three of this series are now available at an internet near […]

  4. Pretty Monsters Part One | Chamblee54 said, on December 10, 2019 at 9:08 am

    […] introduction to the big read. CAAL, a rambling art book, was not a good fit for PG. (Part one Part two Part three) When the lady from 7 Stages turned up with a box of books, PG was wary. PM is […]


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