Carol Anderson titled this book to convey the response that white people and those in power have historically used to lead to violence and policy changes that eliminate many gains that Black people have garnered in the US. Similarly to The New Jim Crow White Rage discusses the transition from slavery to reconstruction to Jim Crow to the war on drugs and then finally to the election of Donald Trump.
I personally learned a lot about the horrible views of former Presidents like Andrew Johnson and their compassion for white people that feared their power was being contested at all with the ending of slavery. Anderson lays out the pivotal laws and policies that were passed, especially in Southern states to restrict the education of Black people in America, which led to many more setbacks and still have lasting effects today.
While I learned a lot about mass incarceration and its design as a way to further disenfranchise Black people while reading The New Jim Crow, Anderson’s chapter on Nixon, Reagan, and the war on drugs further highlighted to purpose of the messaging and policies that allowed it to do so much damage.
The book concludes with the a chapter on immediate counter-reaction after Barack Obama’s election as the first Black President as well as a additional add-on chapter that talks a lot about how those reactions led to Donald Trump becoming president. The final chapters talk a lot about how limits to the Voting Rights Act and specifically designed tactics to suppress the vote of Blacks, Latinos, and other minorities is yet another continuation of the pattern of white rage in response to a changing demographic and more gains for non-White people in the US.
This book is heavy on the history, but Anderson highlights good examples that support her overall point and message in this book that the rage of white people, specifically those that believe in white superiority, fights just as hard to reverse and undermine the progress that Blacks in America have made through emancipation and the Civil Rights era. While the book is about the wrong kind of white rage, it certainly brought out a good kind of white rage in me, and I hope others read this book and have similar feelings.