Claudia Rankine – On Whiteness

BBC Radio 4

The American poet, essayist and playwright Claudia Rankine’s 2014 best-selling Citizen: An American Lyric explores racist micro-aggressions and language. In a new piece for radio, as part of an on going exploration of the nature and meaning of whiteness, Rankine turns her attention to the ubiquity of dyed blonde hair. Walking around New York the poet talks to people about why they dye their hair, and asks whether our elevation of blonde hair has any connection to the power and ultimately the supremacy of whiteness.

Honey blonde, platinum blonde, gold baby lights, sandy blonde, platinum blonde, white blonde… although only around 5% of white Americans are naturally blonde around 3 out of 4 women here colour their hair blonde, but do blonde’s really have more fun?

Producer: Jo Wheeler

Broadcast Date: 16th September 2018