Book Review: White Fragility: Why its so hard for White people to talk about race by Robin J DiAngelo

Release Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Beacon Press
Format: Paperback
Pages: 126 pages
Genre:  Race, Racism,
Buy: Kindle | Paperback | 


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.


This book should be on every white persons TBR list (to be read). DiAngelo looks at race as not just good or bad but as more fluid. She states that our society is racist therefore it is impossible to escape racism and having bias. To acknowledge our own prejudice and intentional or unintentional racist views we first have to be open to hearing that we may hold racist views. It is the anger, fear, justifications and denial that we may have racist behaviors that holds us back from change. No matter how liberal or open minded you may think you are I can guarantee that you have probably said or done something unintentional that had racist undertones. The point is it doesn't matter that it was unintentional what matters is addressing it, looking at it and changing your behavior. We are all works in process and when we feel threatened, or invalidated we react with anger, frustration etc...deflecting from actually turning within to see how what we just did may have impacted others.We have to be aware that when someone gives you feedback its more about how what you said or did affected them. So being open to feedback and self reflection will help create change. Instead of being defensive maybe ask how you could have said something differently or what you could have done differently.

There were so many good pieces to this book I can't even pick them all out. Well done and thought provoking.

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