cover image The Case for Rage: Why Anger Is Essential to Anti-Racist Struggle

The Case for Rage: Why Anger Is Essential to Anti-Racist Struggle

Myisha Cherry. Oxford Univ, $19.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-19-755734-1

UC Riverside philosophy professor Cherry (UnMuted) makes a bold and persuasive call for using rage to combat racial injustice. Drawing connections between “value, respect, and anger,” Cherry argues that being angry at racism implicitly shows that the racially oppressed are worthy of respect and have value. Inspired by the poet and activist Audre Lorde, Cherry advocates in particular for “Lordean rage,” which “aims for change” and is “informed by an inclusive and liberating perspective.” She finds examples of Lordean rage in the words and actions of Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr. (who once claimed that “riots are the language of the unheard”), and James Baldwin, among others, and contrasts the “respect” given to displays of entitled anger by Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh and other white men and women with the denial of African Americans’ right to anger. Cherry lucidly distinguishes between different forms of rage, and makes clear that anger “must [remain] appropriate, motivational, productive, and resistant” in order to be effective as an antiracist tool. With its incisive readings of classical philosophers, contemporary politics, and even Saturday Night Live sketches, this accessible, passionate, and meticulously argued case is a must-read. (Oct.)