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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Robin DiAngelo’s treatise about confronting systemic racism may be an uncomfortable read for most white people—and that’s the point. DiAngelo, an antiracism educator, was motivated to write her book after noticing that many white participants in her trainings were unable or unwilling to talk about racism. She argues that this resistance is a large part of what keeps oppressive systems in place, and lays out specific examples of the privileges white folks enjoy to the detriment of others. This incisive book is a necessary read for anyone interested in combatting racism.
Diangelo (What Does It Mean to Be White?), a race scholar and professional diversity trainer, delivers a thoughtful, instructive, and comprehensive book on challenging racism by understanding and working against what she terms "white fragility," the reaction in which white people feel offended or attacked when the topic of racism arises. She explains that the book is primarily intended for white audiences to aid in "building our stamina" for tolerating these discussions in order to challenge racism. Diangelo brings together personal experiences, extensive research, and real-world examples including missteps she herself has made, such as joking inappropriately about a black colleague's hair to demonstrate how entrenched racism remains a societal norm in institutions and white people's mindsets, including supposedly "colorblind" thinking and behavior. Her analysis effectively challenges the widespread notion that "only intentionally mean people can participate in racism"; rather, she explains, racism is "deeply embedded in the fabric of our society." She ends with a step-by-step blueprint for confronting and dismantling one's own white fragility to try to "interrupt" racism. This slim book is impressive in its scope and complexity; Diangelo provides a powerful lens for examining, and practical tools for grappling with, racism today.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is an excellent book for those interested in developing a more honest relationship to their unavoidable social/culural conditioning as a white person.
It is 100% essential for young white men to read this book. As someone who needed this book in their life, I ended up spending a good amount of time reflecting and learning during my read through. Extremely important book and will be reccommending it to others.
Apparently all white people are guilty of the original sin of “racism” and the must seek atonement from “people of color” (such a strange, sacralizing phrase) in order to pay their indulgences. Bizarre. Don’t be pathetic my “fellow whites,” reject this narrative wholesale.