The poet, essayist, and playwright Claudia Rankine says every conversation about race doesn’t need to be about racism. But she says all of us — and especially white people — need to find a way to talk about it, even when it gets uncomfortable. Her bestselling book, "Citizen: An American Lyric," catalogued the painful daily experiences of lived racism for people of color. Claudia models how it’s possible to bring that reality into the open — not to fight, but to draw closer. And she shows how we can do this with everyone, from our intimate friends to strangers on airplanes.
Claudia Rankine is the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University and founder of The Racial Imaginary Institute. She is the author of five collections of poetry including "Don’t Let Me Be Lonely." Her plays include "The Provenance of Beauty" and "The White Card."
This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Claudia Rankine — How Can I Say This so We Can Stay in This Car Together?" Find more at onbeing.org.