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White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  12,890 ratings  ·  2,175 reviews
From the Civil War to our combustible present, White Rage reframes our continuing conversation about race, chronicling the powerful forces opposed to black progress in America--now in paperback with a new afterword by the author, acclaimed historian Carol Anderson.

As Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in August 2014, and media commentators across the ideological spectrum referred
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 31st 2016 by Bloomsbury USA
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Devon Southern leaders had been in control of a group of people for hundreds of years. While they "believed" African Americans were less knowledgeable and "…moreSouthern leaders had been in control of a group of people for hundreds of years. While they "believed" African Americans were less knowledgeable and "didn't care" about their terrible living conditions, they probably knew that African American people would vote them all out of power. Southern leaders were abusers, and no abuser wants to relinquish their power and control. In today's society, the GOP is concerned about the power behind the minority vote so they are trying to put a stop to easy access to polls. History is repeating itself. (less)
Jay It's a painful subject, not to be casually approached, and I'm not sure an "every person" group will have the appetite or the stomach for the appallin…moreIt's a painful subject, not to be casually approached, and I'm not sure an "every person" group will have the appetite or the stomach for the appalling history of racism Ms. Anderson recounts with passion, clarity and (from what I am able to tell), sound scholarship. If you live n the "red" South, as I do, where "white rage" is still alive and well, unfortunately, and the majority of white folks I know think Trump is the second coming, I recommend you first read this book yourself and then make an informed decision as to whether you want to tackle this topic with people who may or may not remain your friends when it's over. Since you posed this question 8 months ago, and I'm a tad "late to the dance" in responding, I'd be interested in whether you and your reading group read or tried to read the book and what the consensus was when you finished. (less)

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Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"White rage is not about visible violence, but rather it works its way through the courts, the legislatures, and a range of government bureaucracies. It wreaks havoc subtly, almost imperceptibly."
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I remember gratitude that Anderson used the phrase “white rage” in her column in ’14 that started to give the context expanded here after a police officer shot an unarmed Michael Brown six times in the middle of the street until he was dead. Still, I hate it that we Whites have to get schooled by POC instead of by ourselves, but that is part of the problem, as well. How do we learn to do effective White-on-White anti-racism work? We know that many White voters for Trump believe that racism exist ...more
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
A high 4 stars! For some reason, I suspect that many may resist reading this book because of the title “White Rage” -- it has a sensationalistic connotation that may be a bit of a turn off. But if you’re one of those people, don’t be deterred. The content of White Rage is the opposite of sensationalistic. In a relatively short and powerful narrative, Carol Anderson carefully and methodically documents the pervasiveness of racism in the US following the end of slavery. She focuses primarily on vo ...more
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is incredibly powerful. And incredibly depressing, and frustrating.

When I took US History in school, the evils of Reconstruction and Jim Crow were mentioned, but they were also a bit glossed over, partly because the next chapter tended to be “and then we had the Civil Rights movement and everything changed for the better, the end.”

This book covers the entire 150 years since slavery was ended, outlining in detail how hard it’s been for black Americans to be treated as full US citizens
As I pondered this book, Nina Simone kept popping into my head.
"Alabama's gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi G*ddam"
Or perhaps James Baldwin articulated the condition that Simone sang about
“Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.”

White Rage is ostensibly a book about anger. An anger that everybody knows about and often ignores. Outrage. Indignity. Disrespect. Resentment. Disgust. Injustice. Viciousness. Cr
A Complex Read

It was more than interesting to finish up this book right after reading White Fragility. While that book focuses on encouraging White people to recognize and dismantle their own biases, White Rage delves heavily into how overt racism has turned into political strategies and policies utilized to keep Black people enslaved to an unfair system.

I’m not sure that Anderson covered much information that I wasn’t already aware of but there were some sections that gave me new insight to ho
Diane S ☔
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nfr-2020
A book that puts the racial divide in a new and powerful perspective. Reconstruction and its failure, the means and ways it failed, along with the whys and how it became a battleground for horrific violence. Hard to read but this part is mostly a summary, albeit a well told one.

When it came to voter supression, I received quite a surprise. I had heard of gerrymandering, but not all the other ways used to make black votes not count. Plus, it's still going on today. In many places, in many ways. T
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a completely enraging book. Anderson basically fits her material into five chapters, beginning with the aftermath of the Civil War through President Obama’s presidency. She is pointing out the ways that America has been granting rights to all its citizens with one hand while taking away the rights of some with the other. She has it all copiously documented, which is useful because she tells us some frankly unbelievable things: did you know 1) in the early part of the 20th Century black f ...more
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“This is … a country for white men, and by God, as long as I’m President, it shall be a government for white men.”

Quoted in the 1800s by Andrew Johnson and still relevant now.

My energy has depleted. My general disposition of being a pessimist person increases tenfold when I’m listening to or reading anti-racist literature.

It’s the same battle that has been fought and is still being fought. The American government has gotten real creative with their racism. But then that’s giving them too m
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, recs
Released months before the end of the Obama presidency, White Rage charts the history of white backlash to Black social advancement in America. Whether describing Southern efforts to thwart Reconstruction or analyzing national voter suppression campaigns, Carol Anderson details the many ways in which American history has been shaped by white rage, the perpetual outpouring of violence and terror in response to Black achievement and success. The author’s style is engaging and reads easily, and her ...more
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Change Has to Come!

What happened to a black man in the old south when he didn’t know his place? Lynching! His place was to not look the white man in the eye and to not even look at a white woman. His place was to follow orders and to move off the sidewalk when a white person was walking towards him. His place was to keep his mouth shut and to not be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Actually, there really was no place for the black man in American society, and there isn’t one even today, bec
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Holy cow is this an important book that I think everyone should read.

First of all, the amount of research Anderson has done, even in a relatively short book, is staggering. Almost half the pages in my Kindle version were taken up by endnotes—there are multiple sources cited on every page. I’ve read books by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Mychal Denzel Smith that are more subjective, narrative-style reflections on life as a black person in America, and they taught me a lot—in fact, if I compiled a list of
Peyton Reads
A very important and informative book that I think is needed to be read by everyone. I didn’t rate it because I feel odd about rating non fiction books that examine historical events. I think people can learn a lot from this book. I certainly did!
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Many whites are only now becoming familiar with the term Institutional Racism, and how we benefit in this society merely by being born white. Maybe you've read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and you're ready to read more about race in America. Carol Anderson marvelously lays out every step forward for African-Americans reaching for equitable footing, only to have those rights systematically stripped away by the states. This is the ugly history that they don't teach us in public sch ...more
Clif Hostetler
Apr 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
This book is a virtual catalog of repeated historical instances of backlash that occurred after there has been an advance in racial equality. Author Carol Anderson labels this predictable backlash as "white rage." Use of this term is intended to hold a mirror up to what political commentators have referred to as "black rage" when violence breaks out in response to racial incidents. Anderson shows that white rage causes violence in its own way except that it's done under the orderly facade of res ...more
Book Riot Community
Heart-breaking, infuriating, and absolutely essential, this book delves into the history of systemic racism in American since the post-Civil War period. Anderson shows who again and again, when black Americans make gains in freedom and prosperity, white Americans come along to tear those gains down. It’s a short book, with extensive notes, but it took me a while to read because I had to stop frequently to sit in my anger and frustration at this terrible history. And Trump’s proposed investigatio ...more
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“even where the wound is not fatal, it is grievous.”

an unflinching account of all the ways in which the advancement and progress of black people in the united states of america was and is deliberately opposed, barred, and violently stamped out.

it showcases not only the overt, violently racist individual -- the klan member, the mob leader, the murderer who got away -- but how the entire societal system of the usa has been built on racist laws, legislation, assumption, and policy. and
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
“The truth is, white rage has undermined democracy, warped the Constitution, weakened the nation’s ability to compete economically, squandered billions of dollars on baseless incarceration, rendered an entire region sick, poor, and woefully undereducated, and left cities nothing less than decimated. All this havoc has been wreaked simply because African Americans wanted to work, get an education, live in decent communities, raise their families, and vote. Because they were unwilling to take n ...more
Alice Lippart
Educational and very interesting. Would definitely recommend.
Michael Perkins
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
“The southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow, so that when he had no money for food, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than a black man.”

-Martin Luther King


“The U.S. demographics are sliding away from white conservatives and they are very aware of this. It has yet to change structures of power¬–-at least not as much as it should have had- --but when you’ve s
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I listened to this audiobook for Books With Shae's Blackout Buddy Read. I would highly recommend watching the live show discussion about this book and White Fragility on her YouTube channel.
This book is essential education. I listened to it over two days, so I did not absorb everything that was written in this book. It is a reference, and should be revisited. It reads almost like a textbook at times, but that was the most effective way for the author to get her points across. I am someone who li
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an quick read, and describes US history from prior to the Civil War to Barack Obama's presidency. This is a powerful book. Carol Anderson lays out the way racism has been baked into America's laws at the federal and state levels, and into America's attitudes for many years. She describes egregious practices and, at times, horrific violence, occurring whenever African Americans have gained rights, with a steady erosion of these rights since Reconstruction to attacks on the Voting Rights A ...more

White people are so scared of black people
they bulldoze out to the country
and put houses on little loop-dee-loop streets
and while America gets its heart cut right of its chest
the Berlin wall still runs down main street
separating east side from west
----“Subdivision,” Ani Difranco

Carol Anderson’s White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide is an extremely difficult book to read. In 164 pages, she lays out the case that America is a country built on racism and white anger towards African Am
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received this book, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide,written by Carol Anderson as a Goodreads giveaway. Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing for my copy.

This book begins with the shooting of Michael Brown, a young African American man, who was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri in August of 2014. This shooting is one of many which occurred involving African American men and police across the country. The unrest and outrage associated with these
Ivonne Rovira
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Carol Anderson’s White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide is so moving, so eye-opening, so enraging in this time of renewed Jim Crow legislation and outlook that I really don’t have the words. Yes, someone as verbose as I can’t summon the words.

Nor can I recommend this highly enough; I only wish I could award it six stars. I’ve finished the last page, but I can’t seem to stop weeping for what is — and for the better America that might have been had we white folks listened to our bett
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you are a fan of Howard Zinn’s ‘A People’s History of the United States’, you will probably enjoy this book, ‘White Rage’ by Carol Anderson.

It is necessary to read history that is uncomfortable. In some cases the stories hit close to home when the white establishment are the clear villains. Reagan and Eisenhower were not great presidents if you are measuring their enthusiasm for ending obvious inequalities and addressing racism. In any event this is that type of book.

Chapter 1 Reconstructing
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Meticulously researched and documented by Emory Professor and Departmental Chair Carol Anderson, White Rage chronicles how blacks have been systemically abused by white America and the anger that their ongoing insistence on fairness and equality has provoked.

"Reconstructing Reconstruction" shows the many ways in which the Emancipation Proclamation was crippled for a century, including the insidious Black Codes, which made seeking jobs impossible due to charges of vagrancy and peonage, where shar
Jessica Sullivan
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
America is currently in the midst of a clear whitelash, as evidenced mostly clearly by the election of Donald Trump, a man whose bigotry and white supremacy were cornerstones of his campaign.

This past weekend, in Charlottesville, we saw further evidence of this whitelash: a mob of racist and anti-Semitic white people, emboldened by the president's rhetoric, felt so threatened by racial progress that they infiltrated an entire town with their bigotry and violence.

But, as Carol Anderson explains,
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Carol Anderson succinctly describes many of the innumerable ways white Americans--often through legislation and in the courtroom--have systematically repressed the advancement of African Americans from the end of the Civil War until today. She describes:

- Specific ways the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution were undermined to prevent blacks from gaining full rights during Reconstruction

- How, during the early 20th century, southern states fought to prevent blacks from moving nor
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't know how to write this review without sounding completely ignorant. On the night of the 2016 election, when the results had come back, I numbly wrote in my journal about my confusion. I have a fascination with plane crashes, because it's usually not one thing that went wrong, but a series of small things that all cascade and become catastrophic. I wondered what all of the events were to have tilted the election results the way they had.

Born in Texas and brought up in a decent (I thought
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads database.

Carol Anderson is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of African American Studies at Emory University. Professor Anderson’s research and teaching focus on public policy; particularly the ways that domestic and international policies intersect through the issues of race, justice and equality in the United States.

Articles featuring this book

The last five years of world history have been nothing if not...eventful. When living in interesting times, there's nothing better for...
108 likes · 18 comments
“The truth is that the hard-fought victories of the Civil Rights Movement caused a reaction that stripped Brown of its power, severed the jugular of the Voting Rights Act, closed off access to higher education, poured crack cocaine into the inner cities, and locked up more black men proportionally than even apartheid-era South Africa.” 21 likes
“Imagine if Reconstruction had actually honored the citizenship of four million freedpeople—provided the education, political autonomy, and economic wherewithal warranted by their and their ancestors’ hundreds of years of free labor. If, instead of continually re-fighting the Civil War, we had actually moved on to rebuilding a strong, viable South, a South where poor whites, too—for they had been left out as well—could gain access to proper education. Imagine” 20 likes
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