“[A] slim but persuasive volume . . . A sobering primer on the myriad ways African American resilience and triumph over enslavement, Jim Crow and intolerance have been relentlessly defied by the very institutions entrusted to uphold our democracy.” – Washington Post
“[White Rage] is an extraordinarily timely and urgent call to confront the legacy of structural racism bequeathed by white anger and resentment, and to show its continuing threat to the promise of American democracy.” – Editor's Choice, New York Times Book Review
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White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide
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 end of the Civil War to our combustible present, an acclaimed historian reframes the 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 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, 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; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 triggered a coded response, the so-called Southern Strategy and the War on Drugs that disenfranchised millions of African Americans.
Carefully linking these and other historical flashpoints, Anderson pulls back the veil that has long covered actions made in the name of 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.