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White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide
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Pub Date: 2017
ISBN: 9781632864130
Carol Anderson
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide
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White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

by Carol Anderson

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 expression of 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.

" Images of black rage abound -- from riots in L.A. to Ferguson, Minneapolis, St. Paul -- but images of white rage are often hidden in the acts of the justice system and in the halls of congress. Anderson has undertaken a history of white rage, and it is shocking from the first pages. Who knew that Abraham Lincoln wanted to rid the country of slaves by sending them to what is now Panama? How many high school classes teach the true history of Reconstruction? With unceasing clarity and calm, Carol Anderson narrates a history so compelling that I could not stop reading. If you're thinking of picking up a true crime drama, why not enlarge your thinking with a true historical crime drama? This is an extraordinary book and I hope you read it." ~ Louise