White Fragility

White Fragility

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

Book - 2018
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In this groundbreaking and timely book, antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility. 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 explores how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively. --Publisher's description
Publisher: Boston : Beacon Press, [2018]
ISBN: 9780807047415
Branch Call Number: 305.8 DIANGELO
Characteristics: xvii, 169 pages ; 23 cm


From Library Staff

White Fragility can be defined as the angry and defensive stance white people can take when confronted by the way they benefit from the racism that is built into our social systems. DiAngelo's book explores that fragility and offers suggestions for overcoming it and moving forward toward a bette... Read More »

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Oct 14, 2020

I would recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about racism in America. In response to critiques saying "why not read a book written by a POC instead", I would suggest that you do both. Having read numerous books by POC, I can say that this one brings a unique perspective to the discussion and is valuable in addition to the others.

Oct 13, 2020

Why not read a book written by a Black author?
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo OR
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Supporting Robin DiAngelo's work over that of POC is a vote for white supremacy.

Oct 08, 2020

This book just reveals that the author is racist and wants to convince people that all white are inherently racist even if they say they are not. Makes no sense, no studies support her statements. It is mostly an anecdotal that she wants to generalize. Not worth reading at all. I had checked it out to understand the reason behind "white fragility", but it just confirmed that it is a made up term with not evidence, yet it is being taught to people as the truth.

Oct 07, 2020

To quote the author, "When I say that only whites can be racist, I mean that in the United States, only whites have the collective social and institutional power and privilege over people of color. People of color do not have this power and privilege over white people." In a further quote, the author states that "people of color may also hold prejudices and discriminate against white people, but they lack the social and institutional power that transforms their prejudice and discrimination into racism."

My take away from this book was that, in the author's view, all whites are inherently racist, the good whites (progressives) can at least work to understand their racism and work to be better people and no person of color is capable of being racist, even the most vile of Anti-Semites (e.g. Louis Farrakhan). In my view, her entire book is a load of crap.

Oct 01, 2020

I had to struggle to read this after seeing her early statement to the effect that "race and gender are social constructs, rather than biologic facts. Knowing that her arguments come from such a scientifically flawed perspective it's difficult to give her much credence. That said, she does make the point that whites cannot possibly have a visceral understanding of what blacks experience in our society. She could have covered that in about one or two pages.

Hillsboro_JeanineM Sep 11, 2020

If you have not thought about race and Racism, then this book will be helpful but if you have already been thinking, reading and discussing race and Racism it is not a must read but it was still valuable to me to read. I did find questions about when did I become aware of Race and how I identified; did have POC classmates; did I have POC teachers - thought provoking. I remember seeing a film on sharing water fountains with POC when I was in kindergarten or first grade; thought of POC classmates from elementary school, busing in my sophomore year of high school; and my sole POC teacher, Mr. Hurt, who really challenged us to meet the kids that were being bused in. For these reflections, the book made it a worthwhile read.

IndyPL_JosephL Sep 10, 2020

Through her workshops and now this book, Robin DiAngelo offers an important talking point in the larger movement of antiracism and how White people can work toward talking about it.

While many of her points can be boiled down to the unsurprising fact that people will get offended if you call out their racism, she frames it from the belief that we need to move past the idea that "being racist" makes you a "bad person" and our knee-jerk reaction to take offence and defend out moral superiority. This is, understandably, a difficult position to take considering the history of racist power and the harm it's caused. Nevertheless, it is a belief that fits well into the larger narrative that acknowledges that a person can be both racist and antiracist.

Once we've moved past both of these moral and defensive roadblocks, she argues, we can finally join the discussion of racism, acknowledge our racist beliefs, and move toward the goal of becoming more antiracist--both as individuals and as a society.

Aug 25, 2020

Not surprisingly, critics of this book exhibit white fragility in their comments.
Quite simply out, what if our society is as racist, and white supremacist as people of colour say it is? It takes very little mental muscle to say “ but it isn’t!”
But what if it is...? This is the starting point for this book. We, as white people, are born into a world view and system that has its roots in violence against people of colour. This is not up for debate. The evidence is clear. What we are called to is shed our veil of lies and denial, and begin the work of listening and learning.
It is only after we wake up are we aware that we were sleeping.

Aug 22, 2020

the author was teaching workshops about white racism and they didn't go over well. Any teacher worth her salt would reassess her presentation and consider a more effective way of attaining her goal. Instead, Robin DiAngelo, Phd --Didi as I think of her--decided the fault must be in her students and evolved her theory of "white fragility."
Imagine! Her audience didn't react well to being called racists! Fancy that! If DiDi knew anything about history she would realize that this represents real progress. At the beginning of the 20th century the intellectual and political elites on both sides of the Atlantic had no doubt that whites from Northern Europe were the superior race, and professors at leading universities in this country wrote books about how hordes from southern and Eastern Europe (those Italians and Jews!) were mongrelizing our country. Even in the 1950s many whites would probably have snickered if you called them racists. Now everyone knows racism is morally offensive. As for her theory itself and her recommendations for how whites should conduct themselves I can only repeat the immortal words of George Orwell"Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them."

Aug 19, 2020

This book points out how whites have certain have certain biases towards race all while pretending to be colorblind .It explains biases that some people don't realize exist. Its shows how to dismantle racists systems that are in place. Very informative. Feel it was a very good read

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Aug 19, 2020

This books explores how white fragility (defensive reactions whites display when their racial views- positions and advantages are questioned or challenged) develops,how it protects racial inequality and what can be done to change these biases. It also shows how society from the very beginning have help to develop these biases and how the hurt both individually and collectively.


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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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