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
Don’t let Right Wing uneducated nut jobs distract you.
Book is an excellent read and gives you a great perspective. Unfortunately angry white boomer trump supporters want to see this country stay the way it is. Don’t let it distract you from what this book is about which is the truth.
A sad perspective
It is sad to see this rhetoric pushed as a young person of color. There are people who are racist in the world. Growing up In the south I have experienced it before. However, what I have learned is that I can’t let that dictate my life. I also can’t assume what is in someone’s heart based on a single bad experience. Is it more likely that someone I have never met is racist and hates me for the color of my skin or is it the case that someone had a bad day and said something rude. The more I began to think this way the more I began to realize that I had been jumping to conclusions. People could say anything I didn’t like or agree with and I would leap giant steps to paint them as having hate in their heart. I began to realize that the majority of the time nothing about race was ever even mentioned. That wasn’t how I wanted to live my life so I stopped jumping to the conclusion of being a victim. As a core value, racism is not the true issue, it is hate. I have seen so much hate from every group of people. White on white, black on black, white on black. The one I have seen most however is black people resenting white people. The number of times I have seen people of color judge and say racist things towards my mother, a white woman who married a black man, far outweigh the racist tones or undertones that “oppressive white people,” are said to expressively hold. If you are a white person who is not racist, don’t let this book tell you that you are. Always be ready and able to empathize with others. This is something we all need to work on as humans. However, don’t hold yourself responsible or blame yourself for the sins your ancestors committed. It is time to stop separating ourselves as opposing groups that are either perpetrators or enslaved, think of each other as fellow humans.