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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Building on the groundwork laid in the New York Times bestseller White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo explores how a culture of niceness inadvertently promotes racism.
In White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo explained how racism is a system into which all white people are socialized and challenged the belief that racism is a simple matter of good people versus bad. DiAngelo also made a provocative claim: white progressives cause the most daily harm to people of color. In Nice Racism, her follow-up work, she explains how they do so. Drawing on her background as a sociologist and over 25 years working as an anti-racist educator, she picks up where White Fragility left off and moves the conversation forward.
Writing directly to white people as a white person, DiAngelo identifies many common white racial patterns and breaks down how well-intentioned white people unknowingly perpetuate racial harm. These patterns include:
• rushing to prove that we are “not racist”
• downplaying white advantage
• romanticizing Black, Indigenous and other peoples of color (BIPOC)
• pretending white segregation “just happens”
• expecting BIPOC people to teach us about racism
• and feeling immobilized by shame.
DiAngelo explains how spiritual white progressives seeking community by co-opting Indigenous and other groups’ rituals create separation, not connection. She challenges the ideology of individualism and explains why it is OK to generalize about white people, and she demonstrates how white people who experience other oppressions still benefit from systemic racism. Writing candidly about her own missteps and struggles, she models a path forward, encouraging white readers to continually face their complicity and embrace courage, lifelong commitment, and accountability.
Nice Racism is an essential work for any white person who recognizes the existence of systemic racism and white supremacy and wants to take steps to align their values with their actual practice. BIPOC readers may also find the “insiders” perspective useful for navigating whiteness.
Includes a study guide.
DiAngelo follows White Fragility with a fierce critique of the "culture of niceness" that prevents the hard work of dismantling racism. She identifies many problematic behaviors associated with white progressives, such as showcasing one's "credentials" ("I don't see color"; "my best friend or partner is Black") to establish one's "goodness," co-opting nonwhite culture under the guise of spirituality, and expressing disingenuous guilt over the privileges afforded by whiteness. DiAngelo, who is white, has particularly harsh criticism for diversity initiatives that address "every other possible form of oppression" in order to make white people feel included; she also asserts that many "woke" white people mistakenly believe that unintentional acts can't qualify as racist, and that they are not truly open to the perspectives of people of color, and fail to recognize that a belief in "individualism" ("if we all just saw ourselves as individuals, racism would go away") upholds white supremacy. Defending herself against accusations that she's taking the spotlight away from BIPOC authors, DiAngelo asserts that her work is meant to be read in conjunction with theirs, and includes a study guide to help readers "go deep and grapple." Though DiAngelo's defensiveness is more exhausting than inspiring, she dismantles unconscious biases with precision. Readers will feel compelled to hold themselves more accountable.