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Killing Rage: Ending Racism

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  2,032 ratings  ·  108 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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
Feb 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: politics, non-fiction
An utterly useless book; 270 pages of repetitive crap that blames everything and explains nothing. Hooks constantly refers to the "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy" as the source of all her woes, despite neglecting to provide any real critique of capitalism. I assume she just throws that one in there for good measure. I came to this book expecting to learn something about institutionalised racism and sexism, but instead hooks is content with making shockingly sweeping vague statements suc ...more
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
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
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'. "
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
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very thought-provoking and insightful. I appreciate hooks’ writing style and her goal to write in a way that reaches all audiences. Sometimes I have trouble wading through and retaining statistics etc so I greatly appreciate her approach to writing. This was my first experience reading her work and I’m definitely motivated to read more after this.
Randall Wallace
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Angela Davis and bell hooks are great authors for examining race and racism the way they really should be examined – through their interrelationship to class and gender. After the suppression of the Black Panthers by the FBI’s Cointelpro program, black rage, however justified, became a sacrificial offering to whites. Blacks had to learn to choke down their rage. We still live in a white supremacist state (racism’s strongest weapon is not prejudice but domination) with violence condoned by the st ...more
Jun 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: women and also everyone
Shelves: favorites
this woman is so smart. i never stopped being impressed, and enthralled by her intelligence. i could imagine that as my understanding of the issues addressed in this book broadens i may not agree with everything she says, but i can't imagine i would stop feeling awed by her ability to address taboo and complex issues head on- with subjectivity, honesty, and big sharp brains.
in portland, as in many desireable cities, there is ongoing gentrification. never having really lived with this before, i h
Michelle (In Libris Veritas)
I doubt I'll write a full length review for this one as I've been dealing with illness for over a month now and I'm utterly tired, but also because this was a frustrating read.

I think her points are excellent and that every essay really had something that needed to be said (and more importantly heard)...but the way it's written is something had me questioning if any of it was worded out of necessity or not. I found countless instances of words over 6 syllables being used when there are perfectl
Sep 13, 2018 rated it liked it
"All white people (and everyone else in is society) can choose to be actively anti-racist twenty-four hours a day if they so desire and none of us is a passive victim of socialization (...) Racism is oppressive not because white folks have prejudicial feelings about blacks but because it is a system that promotes domination and subjugation" pg 154

"To accept racism as a system of domination that can be changed would demand that everyone who sees him- or herself as embracing a vision of racial soc
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fall-winter-2016
I'm so glad I picked up this book it was so informative and still really relevant to today.
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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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