Cover image for White Fragility
Title:
White Fragility

Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Author:
DiAngelo, Robin

Dyson, Michael Eric
Subject:
Family & Relationships
Self-Improvement
Sociology
Nonfiction
Description:
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:
Beacon Press
Date:
2018/06/26
Digital Format:
Adobe EPUB

HTML

Kindle
Language:
English

Summary

Summary

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.


Author Notes

Robin DiAngelo is an academic, lecturer, and author and has been a consultant and trainer on issues of racial and social justice for more than twenty years. She formerly served as a tenured professor of multicultural education at Westfield State University.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

According to antiracism scholar and educator DiAngelo, in conversations about race and combating racism, white participants often struggle with intense feelings of anger and defensiveness when presented with evidence that they benefit materially from systemic white privilege. Here the author offers a valuable guide to this phenomenon-which she terms white fragility-and makes concrete suggestions for how to address it, both in ourselves (if we are white) and in our communities. -DiAngelo challenges white readers to acknowledge and then set aside their feelings in order to think critically about how their racial identity operates on a personal and collective level within a system that privileges whiteness at the expense of those classified as not white. In 12 brief chapters, the author covers meaningful definitions of racism and white supremacy, the myth that only bad people are racist, white racial innocence, anti-blackness, and white (women's) tears. She also offers concrete examples of how to move awareness of white fragility into meaningful antiracist action. VERDICT While especially helpful for those new to the critical analysis of whiteness, this work also offers a useful refresher to anyone committed to the ongoing process of self-assessment and antioppression work.-Anna J. Clutterbuck-Cook, Massachusetts Historical Soc. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.