Book Reviews

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Time to finally “step out of the shadow of white rage”

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson is a well-researched and deeply disturbing book about how both the state and the federal government have pursued an intentional, comprehensive and ultimately devastatingly effective effort to disenfranchise African Americans from, literally, almost the day after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

The author, Carol Anderson, presents the staggering block of policies that have limited access to voting, prohibited the pursuit of jobs, blocked home ownership, left schools dilapidated and underfunded and created a poverty-to-prison pipeline. The cumulative result is a slow-moving tragedy for African Americans, with whites throwing barrier after barrier in their paths, stretching back 200 years.

The information provided in this book is, by extension, a remarkable testament to the resilience of black Americans as they have fought against injustice in the face of staggering odds. That America has such a shameful history is heart-breaking, that these policies continue today, masquerading under Orwellian double speak, is truly grotesque.

Anderson's prose is strong, sharp and eloquent. “…white rage has undermined democracy, warped the Constitution, weakened the nation’s ability to compete economically, squandered billions of dollars on baseless incarcerations, rendered an entire region sick, poor and woefully undereducated, and left cities nothing less than devastated. 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.”

Only someone able to suppress rational thought could not be persuaded, and moved, by this powerful book. Everyone should read this book, especially those who think we live in a post-racial country. We have so much work to do to overcome the past, and yet we continue to repeat horrific mistakes.