Interview

Can We Imagine a Better Way to ‘Be’ Americans?

Poet Claudia Rankine discusses the urgency of reimagining what it means to be American with Eric Liu.

  • November 6th 2020

“It’s not cutting it to say my intentions are good,” says Claudia Rankine, author of Just Us: An American Conversation. As white supremacy becomes increasingly vocalized and often without reproach, how should we deal with it? One of the things Rankine set out to do with her book is interrogate the conversations we have with each other and “show how what seems like an inconsequential moment is tied to systemic patterns in our country.” She and Eric Liu, CEO of Citizen University, discuss the urgency of imagining a different way of being American. A way, as Liu puts it, “that's not bound to an old power-laden notion of whiteness.” Liu leads the Citizenship and Identity Program at the Aspen Institute.

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