White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

Bloomsbury Pr. May 2016. 256p. notes. ISBN 9781632864123. $26. HIST
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.

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