As Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in August 2014, and media commentators across the ideological spectrum referred to the angry response of African Americans as 'black rage', historian Carol Anderson wrote a remarkable op-ed in the Washington Post showing that this was, instead, 'white rage at work. With so much attention on the flames,' she wrote, 'everyone had ignored the kindling.'
Since 1865 and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, every time African Americans have made advances towards full participation in our democracy, white reaction has fueled a deliberate and relentless rollback of their gains. The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with the Black Codes and Jim Crow; the Supreme Court's landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South while taxpayer dollars financed segregated white private schools; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 triggered a coded but powerful response, the so-called Southern Strategy and the War on Drugs that disenfranchised millions of African Americans while propelling presidents Nixon and Reagan into the White House.
Carefully linking these and other historical flashpoints when social progress for African Americans was countered by deliberate and cleverly crafted opposition, Anderson pulls back the veil that has long covered actions made in the name of protecting democracy, fiscal responsibility, or protection against fraud, rendering visible the long lineage of white rage.
Compelling and dramatic in the unimpeachable history it relates, White Rage will add an important new dimension to the national conversation about race in America.
©2016 Carol Anderson (P)2016 Audible, Ltd
"Narrator Pamela Gibson perfectly conveys the insightful research and writing in this book about civil rights in the U.S. by an Emory University historian. Anderson contends that when African-Americans make even the slightest progress, a subtle, almost invisible, white rage in the form of opposition reverses what little progress has been made. An example is the current suppression of black votes under the guise of voter fraud prevention. Gibson's delivery registers rage and compassion where appropriate. No one - from Lincoln to Trump - escapes criticism. Hard truths and supporting citations are clearly stated, leaving no confusion for listeners. Also, Gibson ably presents Anderson's unexpected humor, for example, when she talks about the current paralysis of the U.S. Senate." (AudioFile magazine)
Really like non-fiction with a well told story
I've been on a bit of a binge with "White Trash", "Hillbilly Elegy", "American Maelstrom", "Dog Whistle Politics" and "The End of White Christian America". In part to try and understand how poor working class (OK white) people are drawn to the fringe of right wing politics and is there hope for my Republican party.
Although the author gives an excellent chronology of black oppression through politics, I was looking for more insight into the psychological/sociological aspects. They were there, I just wanted more.
I am glad I read it but, I'll have to keep on searching.
I would highly recommend this book to all white people that would truly like to understand the crazy surface fear and hate of black people.
I have learned so much about my families racist deep visceral racist attitudes my entire life.
I could never, ever understand why and how the got these attitudes.
To me this book explains this perplexing notions.
The recent killing of unarm black men, women & children is nothing new. It is more American than Apple Pie. As the legendary NFL Hall of Fame coach, Bill Parcells said, "You are what your record (history) say you are". Carole Anderson reveals in her book, "White Rage", the dark, evil original sins created by the "Founding Fathers", and perpetuate by their progeny; chattel slavery & the racism used to justify it's existence and maintain the hegemony of western (so called) civilization.
As a mix race male of white and black, I thought I knew the history of the civil rights and the back lash from it. I was dead wrong. This book has opened my eyes. I saw other reviews saying the book only blamed white people, I see it as "White Political Culture" that work against the newly freed black people. And from there to the president, trying to under mine the black race in America.
This book was explosive for me! The author did a masterful job of chronicling from Reconstruction to present the systematic white backlash of any progress that Black People have made in America! It is well worth the investment to gain the knowledge that is contained in this work! In fact, I would go as far as to say this should be required reading in every Black home! This is a must for your library!
Like many white people, I've been trying to better understand the ongoing racial divide in America. With that as a goal, I've been reading every book I can find on the topic. There have been some great ones ("The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin, "Between The World And Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and "The Souls of Black Folk" by W.E.B. Du Bois are all excellent). And then we have Dr. Anderson's book "White Rage."
I really wanted to like this book, but it was painful to read because the author does a poor job of hiding her contempt for white people. I mean this author REALLY does not like white people at all. Given that the author is a scholar of African American history, I can understand some of this anger (Spoiler Alert: white people have done a lot of bad stuff to black people throughout history). However, this book is supposed to be an objective academic look at race, not a diatribe against whites.
Chapter after chapter of Dr. Anderson's book details the cruel and horrible things that white people have done to innocent black people (and I agree the history is terrible). But to hear Dr. Anderson tell it, any advancements that black people have made over the years has been entirely on their own with little or no help from white people. Dr. Anderson even gives short shrift to Abraham Lincoln, writing that he "lacks humanity." In other words, Dr. Anderson has a very black and white view of history.
To accept Dr. Anderson's characterization of history is to believe that the NAACP and almost all black institutions of higher learning were built entirely by black people with little or no funding or support from white people. I find this silly falsehood to be extremely divisive. Can't we just admit that some white people are good and some black people are bad simply because all of us are people? Black people in America certainly have it much worse than white people, but blaming all black problems on white people is a little bit much. Surely white people have done something good at some point. Can't we say that white people are at least 10% good? Can't we say that black people are at least 10% responsible for their life choices? Until both sides can admit some basic truths about each other, we're not going to make much progress.
I gave this book one star because chapter 6 is very good. In chapter 6, Dr. Anderson talks about Republicans using the phony issue of "voter fraud" to reboot Jim Crow and subvert our democracy. Jim Crow 2.0 is definitely a serious problem and deserves its own book, but hopefully it will be written by an author who doesn't hate white people so much. As a white man myself, it's true that I can never fully understand the hate that black people feel towards white people. But as a fighter for social justice, I know that alienating those white people who are trying to make things better is not a very good strategy.
If you are black and born after 1615, you better read this. If you are white, you need to find out how the government has played you against black people all these years.
White Rage is already stunning for it's title, for it puts racism very much in the present tense and the moral burden where it should be. Anderson takes us from Reconstruction to Ferguson showing a long history of injustices that are still operating today. Maybe the saddest for me was the failure of school and housing integration that makes us a virtually apartheid country (Jonathan Kozol, Shame of the Nation.) I wish she went into the psychology of white rage a bit more.
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