After Ferguson in 2014, the visibility of protests against police violence resulted in much analysis of black protest, while the phenomenon of white rage was left largely unexamined until Donald Trump's surprising 2016 presidential victory. This essay reframes the problem of contemporary racial politics as the politicization of white grievance. I draw on the notion that the political imagination of white citizens has not been shaped by loss to argue that in moments when white privilege is in crisis because white dominance is threatened, white grievance is mobilized politically in order to counter perceived “gains”—both material and symbolic—by people of color. It is thus necessary to theorize the kinds of political practices and imaginations wrought by the absence of political loss.

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