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Killing Rage: Ending Racism

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  2,321 ratings  ·  145 reviews
One of our country's premier cultural and social critics, bell hooks has always maintained that eradicating racism and eradicating sexism must go hand in hand. But whereas many women have been recognized for their writing on gender politics, the female voice has been all but locked out of the public discourse on race.

Killing Rage speaks to this imbalance. These twenty-thre
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 15th 1996 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1995)
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J.G. Keely
Feb 03, 2011 rated it did not like it
Ultimately misguided, hyperbolic, self-serving, and blinded by bitterness. What's most telling about this author is that she has made it impossible to discuss her without addressing her pretension (for those not in the know, she insists her name be spelled all lower-case). According to her, this is meant to be a sign of her humility, a sign that the author's identity is unimportant--of course it achieves the opposite effect, placing intense importance on her, taking something that is normally ta ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
“A black person unashamed of her rage, using it as a catalyst to develop critical consciousness, to come to full decolonized self-actualization, had no real place in the existing social structure.”
This book took a while to read because it is dense and difficult. Part of the difficulty, no surprise, is being confronted with places I didn't see as embodying racism because I am part of the white dominant group. For instance, integration... mind blown. But the other part of the difficulty is the cu
Michael Finocchiaro
bell hooks was an amazing black feminist activist and this confrontational book has her at her peak of militancy but always articulate and balanced in her views. Given the current political climate, a great book to discover or go back and re-read!
By rights I should not be giving this any rating because I did not read it all. I borrowed this book now and skimmed it because I'd never seen anything by bell hooks and wanted to just look at it to see what folks are talking about when they raise her name.

Dense, delicious seasoned reasoning, so hard to back away from, to turn one's back on. Any objection one might raise to giving African Americans their due and proper place in the growth and history of this country, she will have a calmly deva
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
hooks has a real talent for conveying complex theory in highly-readable prose. In killing rage, she argues convincingly that ignoring race doesn't make one a non-racist person (neither a non-racist white person, nor a person of color free from internalized racism.) Rather if one wants to become a non-racist person, one must commit to confronting and dismantling, consciously and conscientiously, the insidious ways in which white supremacy is institutionalized in our society. ...more
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
After watching the George Zimmerman trial, while at the same time working with a disabled African American man and his family who was brutalized by the Rochester Police Department, I needed some inspiration and analysis about race and white-supremacy in Amerikkka. bell hooks offered both in her book killing rage: Ending Racism. Even though the book was written in the mid-1990's, it has so much to offer that is absolutely relevant now. ...more
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Hooks says, “White rage is acceptable, can be both expressed and condoned, but black rage has no place and everyone knows it” (15). First, I just love her confidence as a writer—and everyone knows it—and second, her position here is important. Black rage needs a place, a public forum. If it is not claimed or re-claimed, as she suggests earlier in the book, then a kind of self-immolation and cultural immolation occurs.
Will Shetterly
May 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
The opening essay is very much worth reading, though not for the reasons Bell Hooks offers. Think of her as a Nabokovian unreliable narrator, and it's both sad and hilarious. It's the story of a ticket mix-up on a plane. A white man has a ticket for a seat, and due to some error, a black woman believes the seat is hers, but her ticket says otherwise. To Hooks, all the whites who observe what happens are complicit in racism because they don't ignore the ticket and accept the black woman's word.

Johnny Correa-Lowrance
Apr 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This book gave me the vocabulary to finally describe the pain and anger I have felt in my past.
Sonia Crites
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is definitely not easy or light reading. It has given me much to consider when it comes to my own personal views and values. It's encouraged me to expand my thoughts on both racism, feminism and the intersection of them both. ...more
hooks' influence is widely felt today. This book raises questions and concerns that are still not answered. It isn't easy reading, but then again, very few things worth listening to and thinking about are. Agree or disagree with her, think she is a prophet or a fool, at least she will get you to think and talk. ...more
Asim Qureshi
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: resistance
Short, but so incredible. Just one small vignette:

"With the television on, whites were and are always with us, their voices, values, and beliefs echoing in our brains. It is this constant presence of the colonizing mindset paSSively consumed that undermines our capacity to resist white supremacy by cultivating oppositional worldviews."
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Another totally transformative book by bell hooks. The pages of the copy I borrowed were underlined like crazy. The book should just have one big underline under it, and many circles around it, and on the side, a big "YES!!!". Ok that is extreme, I am not that kind of underliner, but so many of the concepts in this book have been enlightening for me.

Here is one quote, explaining the namesake of the book. At some point I'd like to compare this quote with Amber Hollibaugh's description of how she
Sep 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: see below
you should this book if:
you don't think racism exists any more
you don't think there's anything you can do about racism
you think racism and sexism and classism are separate entities
you think black people are always so angry
you think bourgie blacks haven't escaped the racism
you believe the world should be color blind
you don't know why jews and blacks dislike each other
you don't believe in white, patriarchal systems of power
etc etc.
basically, everyone should read this book. mandatory reading.

Jeanette Lukowski
Feb 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
A tough, but socially important book to read. We can only change behavior we are willing to acknowledge, after all.
Nathan Albright
Nov 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: challenge2017
This book is a pile of contradictions that is as fascinating as it is ridiculous.  One wonders if the author is aware of just how much massive projection there is as she attacks a variety of facets while demonstrating the same qualities she decries.  Do you want a book that complains about black self-hating while demanding white self-hating, justifies anti-Semitism by accusing Jews of racism, argues for male self-hating while decrying female self-hatred in continual attacks on a supposed patriar ...more
Mar 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: racial-justice
bell hooks is one of the most important antiracist voices in the world, yet is not often referenced these days. Certainly, antiracist scholars such as Ibram X. Kendi are aware of her importance as a forebear and put her forward in their writings. But, having as we do a fascination for the modern and recent, hooks has to a certain extent fallen by the wayside, which is a shame, for she has much to teach us.

Killing Rage was written in 1995, and it is discouraging to see how little has changed in t
Dec 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
This work provides a good overview of what it means to have an anti-racist agenda. While every essay in this work is brilliant (with each section building on an idea mentioned in the previous essay), the organization could be tighter. However, as hooks herself explains, the simplicity and clarity in her writing makes her works accessible, which might just be the most important thing in texts that are intended to enlighten diverse audiences. I found myself enjoying the sections on black intellect ...more
Apr 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
I just recommended this book to a(n Italian) friend who told me she didn't understand US race issues so I thought I would post it here. bell hooks is controversial, to say the least, and some of her books (on love, for example) are all over the place at this stage but a number of her earlier books are thoughtful gems. This is one of them; in it, hooks looks at every day occurrences of racism and how racism affects the recipient. She examines the anger/pain caused by being in the receiving end of ...more
Nov 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this book immediately after reading Race Matters by Cornel West - they paired really well and kept my mind in focus and active on matters of discerning where and how racism plays out in the communities I participate in and in the broader society I live and work in.

Just as Race Matters begins with a true real life story of Cornel West's so too King Rage starts with a story that takes place on an airplane for bell hooks. The best way to start - put the reality right out there. The story was
Petter Nordal
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book, a truly hopeful book. If you are put off by the first few pages or first few essays, I encourage you to persevere. many of us get so accustomed to racist injustice that we despair of ever seeing and end, and this is precisely why this book is hopeful. sometimes it is clumsy reading, since her insistence on avoiding euphemisms often means using technical or laden terminology, but because she does not get caught up in trying to put things nicely or trying to see the bright si ...more
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's uncanny that a book which was written in 1995 is still SO relevant all these years later. Reading this book made me pause and reflect on the world around me, but also on how I've been living my life up to this point. While I did not agree with everything she said (some points seemed very radicalized to me), there were nonetheless very profound points that were made and my respect for bell hooks is still great. I'd definitely recommend this book, but I suggest taking notes as you read to go ...more
Apr 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A lot of people said this book was angry but I got more urgency than anger. I think when reading or talking about race people get uncomfortable and hear an indictment out of truth. I found this book to be very challenging to my own thoughts about Blackness and my own class/educational/straight/cis privilege. I've learned new ways to be thinking of how to hold myself accountable and it's reinvigorated my interests in the importance of cultural/media literacy. She offers so many solutions in this ...more
chantel nouseforaname
Great information serves as a reminder.. but honestly, corroborated a lot of emotions and thoughts I've been having for a long time. The thing about reading a book like this as a young black female is that it provides a sounding board and a place to feel like your thoughts are not crazy. It validates your mentality and shows you that what you're feeling is rooted in something much larger than you. It also reminds you that you have a role to play as well in certain situations by the way you think ...more
Nicole Martin
Feb 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone and everyone
I haven't read anything by bell hooks that I didn't like, but this one really lit a fire in me. When I first picked up the book I thought the title meant "killing rage" as in to destroy rage, but actually she is explaining and justifying the rage that oppressed folks feel towards their oppressor that makes them want to murder them.
In traditional bell hooks fashion she looks at not just racism, but sexism and class-ism as well.
Joseph Robbins
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
" When race politics are the issue, it is one of the rare moments when white men prick up their ears to hear what black men have to say. No one wants to interrupt those moments of interracial homo-social patriarchal bonding to hear women speak. Given these institutionalized exclusions, it is not surprising that so few women choose to publicly 'talk race'. " ...more
Rachel Helms
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Still relevant 18 years later. Honestly just read everything by bell hooks. I especially recommend this book to other people (esp. white people) looking to further enhance their knowledge of anti-racist movement and challenge their own biases.
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fluid collection of essays on subjects important on their own feet and interconnected to form the body of racism and discussions on how to end it—move beyond it—recognize and move away from it—hooks can be heard in great black intellectual activists today, from Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor to Killer Mike. Black self-determinism, class consciousness, and radical assessment of the white patriarchy, these are the consistent, militant ways hooks attacks our greatest and longest lasting American problem ...more
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-baby
This is a BOOK. bell hooks gets deep into so many facets of white supremacist capitalist systems of oppression it was frankly exhausting, but also invigorating. Like, she did that so that I could do that. "that" for me being think critically about the ways I benefit from and contribute to said oppressive systems and ways to NOT do that, and how those systems and resistance of them has or has not changed since this book was originally put together. Much to think about, and I don't know what else ...more
Erin Nordhof
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want somewhere to start when it comes to non-fiction books about becoming anti-racist, this book is a good one to begin with.

bell hooks' discussion of intersectionality of capitalism, racism and sexism helps with making the reader more aware of how each "-ism" plays a part in creating the society in which we are currently living.

I also remember discussing bell hooks in my gender studies class in college, and I'm mad at myself for taking this long to further explore her work. Yet, I'm gla
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bell hooks (born Gloria Jean Watkins) is an African-American author, feminist, and social activist. Her writing has focused on the interconnectivity of race, class, and gender and their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and domination. She has published over thirty books and numerous scholarly and mainstream articles, appeared in several documentary films and participated in ...more

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