Review: White Rage

Jack Goodyear reviews "White Rage" by Carol Anderson.

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White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

By Carol Anderson (Bloomsbury)

In White Rage, Carol Anderson focuses on what she refers to as the kindling that produces racial violence and unrest: “white rage.”

White rage, triggered by black advancement, “is not about visible violence, but rather it works its way through the courts, the legislatures, and a range of government bureaucracies. It wreaks havoc subtly, almost imperceptibly … White rage doesn’t have to wear sheets, burn crosses, or take to the streets. Working the halls of power, it can achieve its ends far more effectively, far more destructively,” Anderson writes.

Through a concise but thorough history, Anderson points out the false historical narrative that developed and labeled the black community as one that accepts endless poverty, devalues education and is crime-ridden. This false narrative places the burden on members of the black community in their attempt to change the derogatory stereotype. However, this struggle for a more perfect union only inflames white rage more.

Our inability as a society to confront white rage provided the cover and approval for the racial hostility and violence our nation has and continues to experience. According to Anderson: “The truth is, white rage has undermined democracy, warped the Constitution, weakened the nation’s ability to compete economically, squandered billions of dollars on baseless incarceration, rendered an entire region sick, poor, and woefully undereducated, and left cities nothing less than decimated. All this havoc has been wreaked simply because African Americans wanted to work, get an education, live in decent communities, raise their families, and vote.”

As Christians, we must recognize, admit to and extinguish white rage. Until we are willing to face it, we are doomed to repeat the past when it comes to racist sentiments and actions. Instead, we should strive for a society that practices equality in education, voting and due process.

As Anderson concludes: “This is the moment now when all of us—black, white, Latino, Native American, Asian American—must step out of the shadow of white rage, deny its power, understand its unseemly goals, and refuse to be seduced by its buzzwords, dog whistles, and sophistry. This is when we choose a different future.”

Jack Goodyear
Arlington, Texas


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