Claudia Rankine discusses her newest book, race and white privilege

Award-winning American poet, essayist and author Claudia Rankine graced the Dodd Auditorium stage on Thursday evening with a short speech and reading from her newest book, “Just Us: An American Conversation,” a collage of poetry, criticism and first-person prose exploring the technologies of whiteness — silencing, surveilling and policing.

Packed into a small room with no air conditioning, people lined the seats, standing against walls and protruding from doorways just to catch the words from the highly-anticipated reading.

Wearing a simple outfit with shiny flats and donning one of her signature scarfs, Rankine began with a short introduction concerning the unconscious and its influence on how humans interpret and form casual statements and phrases.

“People say they weren’t thinking, and it might be true they might not be consciously thinking, but the statements came from somewhere,” Rankine explained to her audience. “Maybe it’s from their parents, a story they read, or what happened in social studies. So how do you unpack all of that?”

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