People are losing their minds over White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo.
Losing. Their. Minds.
Why? Because the truth is hard to swallow, isn’t it? If you google “white fragility,” you will find pages of links to chat rooms, YouTube videos, podcasts, and talk shows deliberating about this book (even if the arguers have admittedly not read it). Robin DiAngelo has white and black people from all walks of life discussing the content in her book. She has made an impact on the race debate in the United States, and White Fragility is a pivotal book for those wanting to improve society.
Curious? So was I, so I jumped on the bandwagon and read the book.
Wow, was I shocked and enlightened!
Robin DiAngelo discusses what she termed, “white fragility,” a means of protection of racial control and white advantage. She discusses the differences between prejudice, discrimination, and racism, and gives countless, detailed examples of white fragility in action. She argues that racism is the foundation of Western society. We are socialized into a racial hierarchy, shaped by forces of racism, and no one is exempt. Therefore, racism must be continually identified, analyzed, and challenged. Racial hierarchy is invisible and taken for granted by most white people.
(Before you stop reading this blog or are tempted to call me a name, read the book and decide for yourself.)
To improve society as a whole, it is vital to understand what Robin means by “white fragility” and the privilege that comes with a white, American birthright, whether we are born poor, middle class, or rich. It is time to stop dismissing the experiences of black people. To do so is to remain in the dark and perpetuate racism. It is to never improve society.
I am going to take a stand here and proclaim that I agree with DiAngelo; I found Robin’s argument sound and her assertions backed up with ample evidence. As a Hispanic woman who grew up working-poor in a white, upper middle-class neighborhood, I witnessed racism many times. I also experienced it as a Hispanic American, and so did my parents. I am not black, of course, and I do not claim to know what it is like to live as an African American in the United States, but I did experience prejudice, discrimination, and racism as a Hispanic female. (Maybe someone needs to write a book about systematic Hispanic racism, but this blog is not about that).
I recommend White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo to all white people (Yes, a pretty broad category, isn’t it?). I highly suggest reading it with an open mind. It might be difficult to read because of what the author implies, but I found DiAngelo’s argument strong. This book is a must-read for students of racial, white, ethnic, or cultural studies.
A bit about the author, Robin DiAngelo:
Robin DiAngelo is a consultant, educator, and facilitator for over twenty years on issues of racial and social justice. She has worked with a range of organizations, including private, governmental, and nonprofit.
She holds a Ph.D. in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington in Seattle (2004) and also two honorary doctorate degrees in the areas of Whiteness Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis. She is currently Associate Professor of Education at the University of Washington, Seattle.
A two-time winner of the Student’s Choice Award for Educator of the Year at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work, she has numerous publications and books, including Is Everybody Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Critical Social Justice Education, co-written with Özlem Sensoy, which received both the American Educational Studies Association Critics Choice Book Award (2012) and the Society of Professors of Education Book Award (2018).
To learn more about Robin DiAngelo, or to purchase a copy of White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, visit RobinDiAngelo.com.