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White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  4,319 ratings  ·  825 reviews
From the Civil War to our combustible present, acclaimed historian Carol Anderson reframes our continuing conversation about race, chronicling the powerful forces opposed to black progress in America.

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,” hist
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 31st 2016 by Bloomsbury USA
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Marlene Rosa I would say as someone mentioned before its simple language. Its target audience is general, whats a bit difficult is the subject. Theres a lot to…moreI would say as someone mentioned before its simple language. Its target audience is general, whats a bit difficult is the subject. Theres a lot to cover, and the author does so chronologically. I'm actually listening to it on audiobook. (less)
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)

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4.43  · 
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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
Short, intense J'accuse on the history of resistance to civil rights and progress on racial issues. Starts with the Civil War, and moves through Reconstruction, the Great Migration, Brown v. Board of Education, the War on Drugs, the Voting Rights Act, the Obama Presidency- all of it. A long history of either indifference, obstruction, or murderous mob rage.

Prescient with the rise of the Tea Party, the 'Alt-right', and Trump's rhetoric about 'taking our country back'.
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
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
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog.

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
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. Cruelt
Taryn Pierson
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
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
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
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
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Strange Fruit
Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop
(poem written by Abel Meer
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
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
Recommends it for: every white person
Recommended to Ivonne by: David Anderson
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

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
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,
Aaron Lozano
Jul 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was such a well written and important read. If the title of the book angers you, you are the one who needs to read it most.
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, race
Carol Anderson succinctly describes 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 north for b
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
A. S.
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This primer on racial inequalities faced by black Americans should be required reading for all whites coming out of the womb. Additionally, as a non-black person of color (South Asian to be specific), I think that those of us minorities who seek to disparage the black community and rail against policies like Affirmative Action (AA) should also read this book to understand why these thoughts are counterproductive to a just America.

Anderson starts by reminding us of the Amadou Diallo case, which h
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
This svelte book packs a powerful punch. Although the Ebook edition states 236 pages, about 69 of those pages represent copious notes and the index. So, this book grows out of an op-ed that the author wrote for the Washinton Post after Ferguson, MO exploded. The theme was white rage against progress, rather than black rage against the cops. She expanded on that line of thinking and this volume is the result.

She lays out the clear case of white rage rearing its racist head throughout history eve
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 racism but the overt kind and the subtle kind. In any event this is that type of b
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adults.
Recommended to Helen by: No-one.
This was a gracefully, and well-written book that explains, or tries to explain, the reality that has driven politics and law in the US since the civil war, which is, that white Americans never truly accepted the idea that black Americans can, or should, be equal to them, and therefore, every time African Americans have made some advancements, soon thereafter, reaction, taking many different forms, sets in, to drive black Americans back into ignorance and squalor. This bleak thesis essentially c ...more
Mikey B.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mikey B. by: Sera
Soon after the elation of the Barack Obama 2008 Presidential victory I began to sense a strange whiplash against the man. This became very personal with a definite racist undertone. There were endless silly accusations of him not being a real American citizen, of him being a Muslim... Plus the Republican Party stymied much of his progressive legislation – the universal health package being a prime example.

This book is about this – the constant white resistance to any evidence of progress by Afri
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
I continue to be surprised by how ignorant I am.... At just 200 pages and written in an approachable manner, this book is an easy means to quickly become educated about the black experience in the USA. And that experience, I'm sorry to say, is not at all consistent with my public education. Did you know that the world's largest migration of a people took place here in the USA? Not the Irish moving from Ireland due to the potato famine - nope, The Great Migration took place here beginning in Worl ...more
Chris Burd
Sep 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, politics
I have some complex feelings about this book. On one hand, it's a well-written history 0f the systems of racism in America, from slavery to the present day. Even if you think you know the whole story, hearing it laid out in such a detailed, sequential way will cause you to rethink what you thought you knew.

On the other hand, Ms. Anderson spends a fair amount of time on how the Reagan administration and the CIA are responsible for the drug trafficking into the US in the mid-80's, as they attempte
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who aren't racist
Recommended to Sera by: Dawn
Shelves: library, non-fiction
Anderson does a great job summarizing how blacks have been held back when it comes to education, voting, justice, housing, etc. from the days of slavery to present day. She then ends the book with how different America could have been be if its citizens had embraced the opportunities for change rather than denying them. I was already aware of much of the history that Anderson covers here, which meant that I really didn't learn anything new. However, her final thoughts really resonated with me, b ...more
Rachel C.
I thought I fully understood the bloody, terrible debt America owes its minority population. I was wrong.

This book is the rawest account of race relations I've ever read. Carol Anderson pulls no punches with her prose, even calling out Abraham Lincoln himself:

"In August 1862, he lectured five black leaders whom he had summoned to the White House that it was their duty, given what their people had done to the United States, to accept [his resettlement plan] to South America, telling them, 'But f
David Anderson
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
White Rage is a concise, easy-to-read history of the ways in which white America, especially in the Southern states, has sought to thwart black advancement in education and employment ever since emancipation by all means necessary. While those means certainly included white terrorism, more nefarious and difficult to thwart were the legal means of blocking black advancement, the use of govt. policies and legislation to keep Blacks downtrodden and oppressed. Prof. Anderson quickly covers all the b ...more
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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.
“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.” 13 likes
“The trigger for white rage, inevitably, is black advancement. It is not the mere presence of black people that is the problem; rather, it is blackness with ambition, with drive, with purpose, with aspirations, and with demands for full and equal citizenship. It is blackness that refuses to accept subjugation, to give up. A formidable array of policy assaults and legal contortions has consistently punished black resilience, black resolve.9 And” 11 likes
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