Silent rage and the politics of resistance: Countering seductions of whiteness and the road to politicization and empowerment

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10 Scopus citations


Feminist theorists of color (Lorde, hooks, Collins) have provided a framework for addressing how rage can serve as a tool of empowerment. These authors focus explicitly on expressed rage. Instead, in this article, I ask, what happens to that silent rage-rage that remains unspoken? I define silent rage as a space. that inside space in which women of color define the self. a place in which we make ourselves subject, determining who we are spiritually, emotionally. a space in which rage can work to decolonize ourselves. a space in which we refuse to concede to White dominance. By addressing the use of how silent rage serves as a path to empowerment for women of color, I envision this work to be an intervention in much of the educational discourse that valorizes speech as the primary means of empowerment. It is my goal to reinscribe the potential of silence as a strategy of resistance, particularly for women of color in the academy. Through narrative, I complicate rage in a modest way, by conducting a self-excavation of sorts. I address how silent rage has served the following purposes for me: as a possible road to empowerment/transformation; it has helped me gain clarity as to making sense of racism; and has served as a reminder of the need to re(politicize) self, essentially being a catalyst for social change. However, I also warn that while silence may serve as a source of empowerment, there are also several dangers of remaining silent, which may occur when being seduced by whiteness, and hegemonic ideology overall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-598
Number of pages10
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • critical race feminist theory
  • empowerment
  • racism
  • women of color in the academy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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