White Fragility

White Fragility

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

eBook - 2018
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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. 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.
Publisher: Boston : Beacon Press, 2018.
ISBN: 9780807047422
Branch Call Number: E-BOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xvii, 169 pages)
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


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Aug 03, 2020

This racist screed peddles toxic white guilt. It is making its author fabulously wealthy (adding enormously to her own "white privilege"). But It has been accurately described as the dumbest book ever written. So, definitely do not buy it, you'll only be helping scam artist Robin DiAngelo get even richer. If you are curious and/or feeling masochistic, borrow a copy from the library.

For more insight read this article:

And here's a video review:
WATCH:  "7 Reasons Why "White Fragility" is the Worst Book Ever"

BostonPL_JordanD Jul 31, 2020

An eye-opening MUST read. I learned a lot from this book about society in the United States that suddenly makes sense. I can see now where even I might be part of the problem, though I certainly don't mean to be.

Jul 20, 2020

Actually just The Courage to Heal with "childhood sexual molestation" changed to "racism," and the perpetrator and the victim switched. This book is one long circular argument: if you are white, you are racist because you are white in a "white supremacist" society. Society is racist and white supremacist because white people are racist and perpetuate racism no matter what they do because they are racist. Even if you think you're not racist and feel upset at being caricatured in this manner, your "white tears" (exactly the same tears cried by white women in the past while accusing innocent black men for rape!) is proof of your racism, because you cannot be white in a white supremacist society without being racist. Etc., etc., etc.
I found a quote mine in the introduction attributed to Charles Baudelaire (I am a historian of radical French poets), and a number of historical inaccuracies in DiAngelo's book. The rest she apparently just makes up without any cited evidence. This book lacks any falsifiability, making it no better than any creationist text. It lack rigor, and actually is condescending and racist toward people of color! It manages to insult everyone, and especially one's intelligence. (Don't seek out affirmation from other white people, and don't seek to ask the experiences of people of color - it's not their job to educate you! Stay in your white bubble and shell out more money to take DiAngelo's seminars so you can contemplate your white navel. Don't look for solutions - that's white fragility, too!)
This book is toxic, defeatist and narcissistic, apparently popular among well-off white women who have NEVER lived in a diverse neighborhood, taken public transit, worked with people in color in low-paying jobs, or visited a developing country! It's so myopic, it suggests Black History Month should focus more on white people and their hand-wringing about their "whiteness." (Hoo boy, doesn't that sound like FUN?) DiAngelo has apparently made millions off this book. What a pity that more people cannot see this is just "Satanic panic" applied to racial relations.

Jul 17, 2020

KHoulihan below asserts that DiAngelo 'repackages' the concept of white fragility as if it were her own original concept. DiAngelo does not operate as if the concept of white fragility were her own original concept.

Jul 11, 2020

Initially, upon reading this book, I found it riveting and insightful... and then I learned that it was written by a white woman, and that the concepts described within were Race Theory 101 from Sociology.... both of which are inherently problematic. Weeze Doran (@accordingtoweeze on Insta) has a great summary of the issues with a white sociologist repackaging the work of black sociologists and the concept of white fragility as if they were her own idea and innovation, and also that because DiAngelo is white, that she cannot effectively be an anti-racist educator, without missing and overlooking the massive blindspots of all who are white. Consider picking up a book by an actual Black anti-racist educator, like How to Be Less Stupid About Race by Crystal Fleming instead.

Jul 06, 2020


VaughanPLDavidB Jul 05, 2020

If you want an alternate view on this book, read Matt Taibbi's review, https://taibbi.substack.com/p/on-white-fragility. It is, to put it mildly, scathing.

Jul 05, 2020

As a white guy, it was a humbling read, but feels pivotal in helping me chart a course through (and maybe out of?) the white racism that I and white folks have grown up not recognizing, and thereby perpetuating. It's the first step on the difficult road we've been avoiding, and allllll of our white ancestors have been avoiding, for 243 years.

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.

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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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