The audience clapped—many people in the audience clapped—and Rankine began her remarks. She said, “I don’t like to use the word ‘racist.’” She discussed how using that word immediately catapults the speaker, if black, into an “angry black person” stereotype. She described her first experience of reading the poem as one of not even anger or offense but of shock, bewilderment; as she read she asked, “What? What?” If the “what” is a rhetorical question, it can end there, in the silence that answers it. But Rankine mobilized the question: Where was she supposed to locate herself in relationship to this poem? Was she the “big, black girl”? She contacted Hoagland, a colleague of hers at the time, to ask him about the poem. He said, “This poem is for white people.” And next in my notes I have the line, which Rankine may or may not have said immediately following Hoagland’s statement: “Who let America in the room?” The conversation was now about much more than an individual, offending poem.