Poetry, photography, drawings, journalism, statistics, prose, and even stage directions point us toward the book's subtitle, An American Conversation. For Rankine, only an open, honest conversation on race can heal the wounds of our divided nation.— Andrew
“Claudia Rankine continues to break ground and pierce our souls with her latest offering, Just Us. Always creating compelling innovative forms, she seamlessly weaves poetry, memoir, and cultural/racial research and criticism through the deeply personal lens of her cancer and biracial marriage, probing the larger questions of how Black and white Americans can both occupy the same spaces in such disparate circumstances. Just Us is brilliant, moving, deeply human, and honest. Rankine shines brighter with each book.”
— Angela Spring, Duende District, Washington, DC
“Claudia Rankine really steps up the moment with this book. She invites readers to join a conversation that helps us think through uncomfortable parts of American history. The poems, essays, and images in the book allow for a conversation that opens your eyes and enriches your understanding of our time. Readers will be excited to pick up this wildly creative and powerful writing on race, difference, and politics in America.”
— Alyson Turner, Source Booksellers, Detroit, MI
Claudia Rankine's Citizen changed the conversation - Just Us urges all of us into it.
As everyday white supremacy becomes increasingly vocalized with no clear answers at hand, how best might we approach one another? Claudia Rankine, without telling us what to do, urges us to begin the discussions that might open pathways through this divisive and stuck moment in American history.
Just Us is an invitation to discover what it takes to stay in the room together, even and especially in breaching the silence, guilt, and violence that follow direct addresses of whiteness. Rankine's questions disrupt the false comfort of our culture's liminal and private spaces - the airport, the theater, the dinner party, the voting booth - where neutrality and politeness live on the surface of differing commitments, beliefs, and prejudices as our public and private lives intersect.
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 behavior at a play; and women confronting the political currency of dying their hair blonde, 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 Us is Rankine's most intimate work, less interested in being right than in being true, being together.