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Author and Emory prof Carol Anderson on “white rage”

Mike Brown, an unarmed black man is shot and killed by a white police officer.

Philandro Castile is fatally shot by a Minnesota police officer, his death caught on Facebook Live by his girlfriend.

When African-Americans protest, it’s labeled as “black rage,” said Emory University professor Carol Anderson, author of “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide”. That view, though, doesn’t adequately answer why people are protesting in the streets, said Anderson, the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of African-American Studies.

Instead, she argues, Americans need to examine the “kindling” that ignited the flames in the first place.

Each time there have been significant gains by African Americans, such as the election of President Barak Obama, of there is a struggle for equal treatment, there is a white backlash, usually in the form of legislation, and when racial and class tensions are high, flames can erupt.

Anderson will speak and and sign copies of her book at 5:30 p.m. today at the Atlanta University Center’s Robert W. Woodruff Library. 111 James P. Brawley Dr. S.W.

There’s renewed interest in the book, which was published earlier this year, is wake of additional shootings of black men by law enforcement and the divisive presidential campaign.

The book explores the history of race in America through the lens of the laws passed to address racial injustices and the subsequent pushback by angry whites.

So, why are whites so angry?

“Part of it is there is a demographic sense that the nation they thought of as theirs -where they had sole access to the resources and rights, such as the right to vote, the right to a fair trial- that there’s this sense that things are changing in a way that the nation they knew is disappearing before their very eyes,” said Anderson, who is also the author of “Eyes Off the Prize: The United Nations and the African-American Struggle for Human Rights, 1944-1955.”

“When they say ‘we want to make America great again’,” she said. “Ask the question, when was that? “

Was it when blacks were enslaved, she asks. Or was it when blacks and women couldn’t vote?

“The election of Barak Obama unleashed forces that had been coagulating in American society,” said Anderson.

Anderson’s address is part of a lecture series to encourage students to be socially conscience and involved in the conversation. The program is in support of “Start Something: Activism and the Atlanta Student Movement,” which runs through May 22, 2017.

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