Mar. 13th, 2017

alexeia_drae: (caress)
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial DivideWhite Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's only March, however, this will likely rank among the top spot for most relevant book I will read this year. After reading this book, the conclusion I draw is that it is impossible to understand the history of the US and modern, yes, modern politics without understanding the history of racism in the US. This book needs to be taught in schools, yet given the white rage that would unleash, it would likely be awhile. And if you have any doubt that white rage is a problem, look at the White House.

This is a short but information packed book detailing the ways that white people have crafted laws to halt the progress black people have made since the Emancipation Proclamation. To those who say slavery ended, get over it, Anderson shows how the south re-created slavery well into the 20th century with laws that limited where black people could work and would jail them for vagrancy if they were not working.

She documents how with each legal victory black people won, white people constructed laws to take it away. Take education for example. White people's efforts to prevent black people from getting an education were so virulent that we decided to cut our own noses to keep black people from a quality education. Basically to prevent black people from receiving a quality education we decided to throw all school, particularly schools with high poverty rates, under the bus and gut education funding. Rich white people could afford private school after all. As a white person living in the south with a learning disability and parent of a biracial son with a disability, I knew that the schools were inadequate for our needs, but I never thought to question why it was this way. But now I know that too many white people would rather see that no ones gets educated than to send their kids to schools with black kids.

And while my parents had the resources to advocate for me and get me the help I need, and while I am able to do that for my son, I have worked with people who are impoverished who suffer thanks to these scorched earth policies because they don't have the money, education and resources. And in this modern debate on so-called school choice which, let's face it, is only a choice for rich, white abled bodied people, you see echoes of when states would pay the tuition for white children to go to private school as they stopped funding public schools when black children were given the right to attend.

If you are a white person, reading this will cause a lot of much needed dissonance. That said, it is a crucial book to read. If anything is ever going to change, white people are going to need to stand up and say we want segregation to end, we want good public schools that educate everyone, we want everyone to be able to vote, and we want police shootings to end.

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