White Fragility

White Fragility

Why It's So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism

eBook - 2018
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Random House, Inc.
The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

In this &;vital, necessary, and beautiful book&; (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and &;allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to &;bad people&; (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.

Download readers guides at www.beacon.org/whitefragility.

Publisher: Boston :, Beacon Press,, [2018]
ISBN: 9780807047422
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file,rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor


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The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

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Jun 27, 2020

This book should be used as a primer for white progressives who believe they are non-racist. (Not “progressive” as in votes blue; I am referring to any white person who believes they are too nice/Christian/educated/urban to be racist). The author explains that racism is not an event (Trump rallies, tiki torches, police brutality, etc). Racism is the society we’ve been swimming in for hundreds of years, and white people are the water.

White readers should stretch beyond this book to actively decolonize their minds and bookshelves. “White Rage” by Carol Anderson seems like a strong companion to this book, and is written by a Black woman scholar. Then visit Toni Morrison, bell hooks, the Combahee River Collective, Zora Neale Hurston, Kiese Laymon, Claudia Rankine, Angela Davis, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Isabel Wilkerson, Jacqueline Woodson and stay awhile.

PS This book is sold out everywhere. Buy a book or three from Black authors. Regularly.

Jun 25, 2020

This book cut me to my core. It named a lot of assumptions I just accepted without question being a white person. It helped me unpack a lot of my white socialization and give words to feelings and emotions I didn't understand. The whole point of my reading this book was to learn more about how I am perpetrating white racism without knowing it. This is only the beginning. She makes excellent suggestions at the end of the book for how to continue this work. It was hard to read at times because I saw myself in the book. I absolutely recommend this book.

Jun 25, 2020

It’s brief and breezy and sometimes persuasive. Two cautions: The book defines racism in a way that makes all white people part of it, but then spends too much time talking about people who didn't like being defined that way. (It's almost like the author wanted to maximize drama about this.)
Her constant efforts to point out, in passing, her own progressive credentials establish that this is the choir she has chosen to preach to, but add nothing to the argument. In fact, she doesn’t so much present an argument but rather a catechism.
Several sloppy factual errors in summarizing news events undermine the authoritative tone.

Jun 24, 2020

I would recommend this book to any white reader who is looking for a place to start when reading about systemic racism. This book was written, in large part, for people who think they aren't racist at all because they don't say overtly racist things, but DiAngelo focuses on how all white people have benefited from a society that puts more value on their lives and experiences. It reinforced ideas I had already thought about, but introduced tons of others that I had never considered and also gives examples of specific issues or conversations that you might have had, or have heard, and explains in detail why they are problematic. Be open and honest with yourself, and be ready to put in the work to make real change. Start here.

Jun 22, 2020

This is the worst book I have ever read.

It starts with a premise that all whites are racist, only whites can be racist, all institutions are racist, there's a worldwide conspiracy by whites to dominate and oppress all others and if you object that you're not racist, it just proves that you are.

The author uses circular logic, statements that don't match facts, over generalizations and stereotyping to make her case. She converts objective reality into a subjective
viewpoint that is presented as fact, rather than her opinion. The author is completely certain of her viewpoint and never thinks that there may be other legitimate viewpoints or options. Most damaging, she believes the only way African Americans can succeed is if White people allow it.

Despite this, the book is worth reading because it illustrates a radical mindset that is unhelpful and worsens the situation for black Americans by depriving them of their intelligence, dignity and self-worth.

Jun 21, 2020

"Naming white supremacy changes the conversation in two key ways: It makes the system visible and shifts the locus of change onto white people, where it belongs. It also points us in the direction of the lifelong work that is uniquely ours, challenging our complicity with and investment in racism. This does not mean that people of color do not play a part but that the full weight of responsibility rests with those who control the institutions."

White People: I don’t want you to understand me
better; I want you to understand yourselves. Your
survival has never depended on your knowledge of
white culture. In fact, it’s required your ignorance.
—Ijeoma Oluo

When I say that I am still processing this book, let me say that there is a lot to process. Robin DiAngelo does not give all the answers but she certainly gave me many things to think about, question, and resources to go further. Education is the key to everything -- never stop learning! I definitely learned something about myself by reading this book. I would love to take part in one of her workshops. As DiAngelo says:

"To continue reproducing racial inequality, the system only needs white people to be really nice and carry on, smile at people of color, be friendly across race, and go to lunch together on occasion. I am not saying that you shouldn’t be nice. I suppose it’s better than being mean. But niceness is not courageous. Niceness will not get racism on the table and will not keep it on the table when everyone wants it off. In fact, bringing racism to white people’s attention is often seen as not nice, and being perceived as not nice triggers white fragility.

Interrupting racism takes courage and intentionality; the interruption is by definition not passive or complacent. So in answer to the question 'Where do we go from here?,' I offer that we must never consider ourselves finished with our learning. Even if challenging all the racism and superiority we have internalized was quick and easy to do, our racism would be reinforced all over again just by virtue of living in the culture."

Jun 20, 2020

White Fragility: Why it is so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism is a highly-rated and popular book at this time. The author, Robin DiAngelo, has years of experience as a diversity trainer. She asserts the society of the United States is based on white supremacy. She says all humans have prejudice. She states American life is shaped by segregation, and racism-free upbringing is not possible. Whites benefit while people of color suffer. Whites could not be “superior” unless there were others.

DiAngelo thinks whites are “fragile” as they have not had to deal with issues of race. When told of their racist statements or actions, white people take it to mean they aren’t being nice or good. Most whites will say they are not racist. They get upset or defensive, instead of listening to the reasons their statements or actions were hurtful and learning from the situations. Yes, whites face barriers, but not racism barriers, and benefit from unearned advantages.

The author argues she thinks white progressives cause most of the daily damage to people of color. She argues reverse discrimination is not possible in our social system. She feels white people think they have nothing to ever learn about race. She says there is no color-blindness. American individualism, romanticism about the good old days, and the desire to be comfortable with the way things are helped form systemic discrimination.

This book would be helpful for diversity training leaders, people unfamiliar with white privilege, those wanting more insight about racial relations, and for people who would like to work on recognizing their own microaggressions. There are checklists to consult for discussion, thinking, and learning. Clear analogies are made to further explain the points she makes.

“The failure to acknowledge white supremacy protects it from examination and holds it in place,” according to DiAngelo.

I think it is Important to read this book but it seems repetitive and focused on what is wrong with white people in general— little other than wake up and learn is offered.

Jun 09, 2020

This was a difficult book to review. I absolutely hated the first third of the book. The author just sounded like a white apologist. I felt like she was saying everything good that has ever happened to a white person was because a person of color was put down. There was lots of identifying of problem areas with no examples and broad brush blame applied to everyone. I also completely disagree with her statement that only white people can be racists. I debated even finishing the book. Boy, am I glad I did! The last part was filled with great examples of specific behaviors. The explanations were clear. The responses by people when confronted with their racism was spot on. I came away with some areas I need to work on in my own life and felt I got a lot out of the book. I just wish the first part of the book was not so poorly done.

May 02, 2020

An eye-opening tool of a book that's bound to make the reader uncomfortable in some very important ways. DiAngelo sticks very well to her topic-how to talk about racism with white people. It catalogs the reactions, thoughts, and push-back the conversations are likely to have, and how to effectively listen to racial feedback. It's a book to return to again and again, because there's more in it than can be digested in a reading. Particularly relevant were the ways that knee-jerk reactions to the term "Racism" and the portrayal of racism/racists in media creates a dangerous protection of both white ego and cultural racism. A great and highly recommended read.

JCLBetM Mar 23, 2020

Ooof. This was like the refreshing pain of having cold water thrown over you. One of the best descriptions of exactly what racism is and why other forms of prejudice and discrimination just aren't the same. I also had never quite understood what people meant when they said race isn't biological -- you can see the different skin colors and other physical traits and they are formed through genetics, so how is that not biological? But DiAngelo explains that it's not that those things aren't real, it's that at some point those differences were separated into categories and declared different races, not for the purposes of science but to stamp some as inferior. This fairly short book is packed with so much -- I highly recommend it and know I'll be returning to it again because I want these lessons to sink in.

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JCLChrisK Nov 06, 2019

This book is intended for us, for white progressives who so often—despite our conscious intentions—make life so difficult for people of color. I believe that white progressives cause the most daily damage to people of color. I define a white progressive as any white person who thinks he or she is not racist, or is less racist, or in the “choir,” or already “gets it.” White progressives can be the most difficult for people of color because, to the degree that we think we have arrived, we will put our energy into making sure that others see us as having arrived. None of our energy will go into what we need to be doing for the rest of our lives: engaging in ongoing self-awareness, continuing education, relationship building, and actual antiracist practice. White progressives do indeed uphold and perpetrate racism, but our defensiveness and certitude make it virtually impossible to explain to us how we do so.


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