Cover image for White rage : the unspoken truth of our racial divide
Title:
White rage : the unspoken truth of our racial divide
ISBN:
9781632864123

9781632864130
Physical Description:
246 pages ; 25 cm
Contents:
Prologue: Kindling -- Reconstructing reconstruction -- Derailing the Great Migration -- Burning Brown to the ground -- Rolling back civil rights -- How to unelect a black President -- Epilogue: Imagine.
Summary:
"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 an op-ed in the Washington Post showing that this was, instead, 'white rage at work. With so much attention on the flames, ' she writes, '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 flash points 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."--Publisher's description.
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Summary

Summary

National Book Critics Circle Award Winner
New York Times Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of the Year
A Boston Globe Best Book of 2016
A Chicago Review of Books Best Nonfiction Book of 2016

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," historian Carol Anderson wrote a remarkable op-ed in The Washington Post suggesting that this was, instead, "white rage at work. With so much attention on the flames," she argued, "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, and then the election of America's first black President, led to the expressionof white rage that has been as relentless as it has been brutal.

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.


Author Notes

Carol Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of African American Studies at Emory University. She is the author of many books and articles, including Bourgeois Radicals: The NAACP and the Struggle for Colonial Liberation, 1941-1960 and Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African American Struggle for Human Rights: 1944-1955 . She was named a Guggenheim Fellow for Constitutional Studies. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

The election of Barack Obama to the presidency in 2008 represented for many the transition of the U.S. into a post-racial nation. In the aftermath of the 2015 Charleston shootings, continued episodes of police violence, and repressive voter registration laws signifying the continuation of historical tendencies, however, critical issues once thought closed are now just as alive as ever. In this engaging, thought-provoking work, Anderson (Eyes off the Prize, 2003) argues that what is really at work in America is a white rage. This rage is characterized by an epistemic violence working through the courts, legislature, and government bureaucracies and triggered by black advancement. Anderson examines this larger trend, from the close of the American Civil War to the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education and the civil rights movement to the current, contentious debates. Anderson's clear, ardent prose detailing the undermining of America's stated ideals and democratic norms is required reading for anyone interested in the state of American social discourse.--Odom, Brian Copyright 2016 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

WHITE RAGE: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, by Carol Anderson. (Bloomsbury, $17.) In 2014, as protests erupted in Ferguson, Mo., after the killing of Michael Brown, Anderson wrote about the white backlash to black progress. She expands her argument to include tensions stretching back to the Civil War, times when white rage thwarted efforts toward democracy and a semblance of racial equality. SWING TIME, by Zadie Smith. (Penguin, $17.) Two girls in Northwest London forge a close, complicated friendship in their dance class, where they are the only "brown girls"; they rely on one another to navigate a swirl of issues surrounding class, race and politics. Years later, their relationship has ruptured but still forms the emotional core of the novel, which brims with "cadenced digressions and lyrical love letters" to dance and London itself, Holly Bass wrote here. BEING MORTAL: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande. (Picador, $16.) Gawande, a staff writer for The New Yorker and a surgeon, examines various models of living for older people, from multigenerational homes to hospice care, and outlines a case for a paradigm shift among medical professionals: Doctors should expand their focus from treating and curing disease to improving well-being and end-of-life care. THE SENILITY OF VLADIMIR R, by Michael Honig. (Pegasus, $15.95.) A novel imagines President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in decline: retired, sidelined by dementia and tended to by a cast of aides. His nurse, Nikolai, an unfailingly scrupulous man, is naive about Russia's corruption, until his nephew becomes embroiled in a scandal - exacerbated by Nikolai's proximity to Vladimir. As our reviewer, Boris Fishman, wrote, "this is an author who understands the grotesque reality of a place where the honest man is the coward." LABOR OF LOVE: The Invention of Dating, by Moira Weigel. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.) After a heartbreak, Weigel set out to investigate the history of courtship in the United States and the romantic dissatisfaction and unbalanced gender roles it perpetuates. Weigel adroitly draws on pop culture and history - from reality TV to the self-help industry - as evidence, though her scope is largely limited to straight couples. HOW TO PARTY WITH AN INFANT, by Kaui Hart Hemmings. (Simon & Schuster, $16.) With her personal life in turmoil, Mele Bart, a single mother in San Francisco, looks to a local cookbook competition as a distraction. There, she finds solace and strength in a band of other hilarious and misfit parents, who help temper the absurdities of raising children in a hypercompetitive and status-obsessed community.


Kirkus Review

A close reading of America's racial chasm.In the wake of what were often termed the Ferguson riots, Anderson (African American Studies/Emory Univ.; Bourgeois Radicals: The NAACP and the Struggle for Colonial Liberation, 1941-1960, 2014, etc.) wrote an opinion column for the Washington Post with the headline, "Ferguson isn't about black rage against cops. It's white rage against progress." Here, she extends her argument, showing how any signs of black rage might be more than justified in the face of decades of white intolerance, indifference, and obstruction. The author provides a perspective dating back to the Civil War, charging that the victory outlawing slavery failed during Reconstruction, which shifted terms without significantly improving the plight of the former slaves. "Indeed, for all the saintedness of his legacy as The Great Emancipator," she writes, "Lincoln himself had neither the clarity, humanity, nor resolve necessary to fix what was so fundamentally broken. Nor did his successor." Most of what Anderson traces in this compact study offers more summary than revelation, and while it does testify to the dehumanizing effects of white power and prejudice, the "white rage" of the title seems more like a rebalancing of the scales than a precise description. As she writes in the wake of Ferguson, "framing the discussion, dominating it, in fact, was an overwhelming focus on black ragewhich, it seemed to me, entirely missed the point." Yet the book builds to an emotional climax that justifies its title, as the election of the nation's first black president brought such intensity to the nation's fissures: "the vitriol heaped on Obama was simply unprecedented," and the "hatred started early." By the epilogue, Anderson's analysis seems prescient. "Not even a full month after Dylann Roof gunned down nine African Americans," she writes, "Republican presidential front-runner, Donald Trump, fired up his silent majority'with a macabre promise: Don't worry, we'll take our country back.' " A book that provides necessary perspective on the racial conflagrations in the U.S. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

Fitting together historical flash points from the aftermath of the Civil War to the current Black Lives Matter movement, historian Anderson (African American studies, Emory Univ.; Bourgeois Radicals) displays how public policies have systematically discarded all attempts at a colorblind U.S. democracy. The author shows how whites have passionately refused to budge from positions of privilege, thwarting at every turn black advances toward equal rights and economic opportunity. Indeed, she illustrates how white rage has persistently undercut progress among African Americans. For example, by closing down public schools and then abandoning public education systems, she notes, white reaction sabotaged the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education mandate for equal rather than separate public education. The author further exposes white rage as national; not regional, as she recounts -Northern and Midwestern opposition to the Great Migration of the 1900s and describes mass black incarceration, decimated central cities, defunded and dysfunctional institutions, and even the vitriol heaped on President Barack Obama. VERDICT Anderson's mosaic of white outrage deserves contemplation by anyone interested in understanding U.S. race relations, past and present.-Thomas J. Davis, Arizona State Univ., Tempe © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Prologue: Kindlingp. 1
1 Reconstructing Reconstructionp. 7
2 Derailing the Great Migrationp. 39
3 Burning Brown to the Groundp. 67
4 Rolling Back Civil Rightsp. 98
5 How to Unelect a Black Presidentp. 138
Epilogue: Imaginep. 161
Acknowledgmentsp. 165
Notesp. 167
Indexp. 231