[download books] White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism Author Robin DiAngelo – Andy-palmer.co.uk
The book raises striking and specific points about how as whites we have biases toward race while pretending we are colorblind She states specific examples, and outlays practical way forward Most of the lower star ratings of this book seem to be exhibiting the exact fragility she outlines, and really only prove to drive her point home further.Even , they seem to ignore the very clear outlining in the book of difference between personal and systemic racism That the way forward is to stop taking things personally when accused of being a part of the problem, and instead to look to ways to contribute to the dismantiling of systems in place Few whites are racist, but all whites participate in racist systems It s on us to learn to step into the discomfort and let healing begin That s what this book addresses. This book will cut you, white person, no slack If you think you re progressive about race and most white people think they are you will be confronted by this book It s not aimed at Klansmembers It s aimed at the people who don t recognize where they fall short That s me It s probably you too. I began reading this book with the assumption that I d get a better understanding of why it s so hard to talk to other white people about race Maybe there d be a couple things I needed to be aware of in myself, but all in all, this would be a book about other white people Well Damn if I wasn t wrong Right in the beginning, Robin DiAngelo knocked me off of my why I m not racist pedestal She called me out in the very beginning by suggesting that I the reader was probably sitting there thinking of all the ways I am not racist Bam, bam, BAM Down I went How predictable we white people are, even when we think we re not Even when we are certain we re not racist Even when we think we re different from other white people How predictable I am In order to get anywhere with racism, we first need to be willing to look at all the ways we each white person uphold and perpetuate racism My sitting there reassuring myself that I am an exception and these x, y, z are the reasons to prove I am not, all but ascertained that I was not going to learn anything, or enough, from this book I am so grateful that Ms DiAngelo began this way Did it make me uncomfortable Hell, yeh, it did Believe me, I was sitting there squirming, biting my lower lip, and almost wanting to just not read the book at all However, I knew that the fact that it made me uncomfortable was the biggest reason I needed to read this book Not so I could get insight into other white people, but to get insight into myself To point out my flaws and uncover the ways racism manifests itself through my words and actions.Robin DiAngelo begins by explaining exactly what racism is and why it is that most white people are so afraid of being seen as racist Explains why we put all our energy into proving we re not I found the definitions she used to be incredibly helpful Prejudice is pre judgment Discrimination is action based on prejudice Racism is a far reaching system that functions independently from the intentions or self images of individual actors It develops when a racial group s collective prejudice is backed by the power of legal authority and institutional control Aversive racism is a manifestation of racism that well intentioned people who see themselves as educated and progressive are likely to exhibit Confusing these terms and thinking that racism is only an intentional act of discrimination leads us to believe that we are exempt from racism, we are not racist, and thus ensures that we will do nothing to change It protects our biases, because denying that we have them ensures that we won t examine or change them Every aspect of Western culture is based on white superiority It is backed by authority and institutional control I would say especially so in the United States When racism and racist thought are rooted so deeply into our culture, it is the norm rather than an aberration Feedback is key to our ability to recognize and repair our inevitable and often unaware collusion We are conditioned into racism and a white supremacist worldview Thus, rather than focusing our energy into convincing ourselves and others that we are not racist, we need to focus that energy on confronting our own racist tendencies and ideas As Ms DiAngelo points out, We do have them, and people of color already know we have them our efforts to prove otherwise are not convincing I think this is an incredibly important book Though it is very basic and rudimentary and repetitive at times, this book is a crucial starting point It demands we look honestly at ourselves If we are against racism and truly want change, we have to first start with ourselves I cannot change my behaviour or thoughts if I am certain I am without blame How then can I hope to change an entire system I need to be open to criticism without becoming defensive Is it comfortable to do so Nope, absolutely not But I can deal with a bit of discomfort, especially in light of all the pain that people of colour have endured and still endure It is imperative that I honestly examine myself it is not going to kill me but racism does indeed kill people of colour White fragility functions to keep people of color from challenging racism in order to avoid white wrath In turn, not challenging white people on racism upholds the racial order and whites position within that order I implore all white people to read this book, even if you are certain you are not racist ESPECIALLY if you are certain you are not racist Let s all work on changing ourselves and then perhaps much needed change can take place in our society and in our judicial systems It is our responsibility to be less fragile and to finally listen to people of colour and be open to examining our flaws and biases There is so much I could write about, including the things I discovered about myself reading this book, but instead I will finally end this lengthy review and encourage you to read the bookI have found it much useful to think of myself as on a continuum Racism is so deeply woven into the fabric of our society that I do not see myself escaping from that continuum in my lifetime But I can continually seek to move further along it I am not in a fixed position on the continuum my position is dictated by what I am actually doing at a given time Conceptualizing myself on an active continuum changes the question from whether I am or am not racist to a much constructive question Am I actively seeking to interrupt racism in this context And perhaps even importantly, how do I know The provocative title of this book is a draw What are we doing, saying, thinking that is unconscious and yet still brings out some kind of anger or fear response in us when challenged I am constantly learning how much I don t know about race in America and much there is to know DiAngelo is also white, by the way She, too, makes racist mistakes, though rarely now, even years after immersing herself in how it manifests We can t escape it We have to acknowledge it.That is basically what this book is about How we must acknowledge our race, that we do in fact see race, that we make assumptions about people based on race, how we need to disrupt habitual patterns of interaction, and then consciously try to put ourselves in the way of disrupting the patterns of racism which are literally claiming the lives of too many people of color for reasons we would never recognize as legitimate in our own lives It s been give or take one hundred and fifty years since the Civil War Sometimes it feels as it hasn t been won by anti slavers Shame on us.The first part of the book is a slow and careful baby steps leading to a hot button topic, giving readers listeners time to blow off their indignation and stop being surprised that yes, she is going to talk about white supremacy in American life and how this consistently sidelines the needs, emotions, and opportunities of people of color She is going to talk about the ways white people consistently deny this truth, do not recognize it applies to all white people, all of whom benefit from the system as it operates in the United States But the best part comes at the end, when she cites people like me who have said, Yeah, but I know this already, or But I m not racist, or I have friends who are black, or I ve lived overseas, etc.DiAngelo talks about white solidarity The unspoken agreement among white to protect white advantage and not cause another white person to feel racial discomfort by confronting them when they say or do something racially problematic Why speaking up about racism would ruin the ambiance at the dinner table or in a social situation or threaten our career advancement is something we might want to talk about and meritocracy is a precious ideology in the United States, but neighborhoods and schools are demonstrably not equal they are separate and unequal and We are taught we lose nothing of value through racial segregation Racism is systemic, institutional, omnipresent, and epistemologically embedded in our reality, according to filmmaker Omowale Akintunde It is not like murder we don t have to commit it for it to happen It can be unconscious.The best argument I have ever heard for why we falsely assume racism doesn t exist when we don t mean to do something racist is this a woman married to a man would never say, Because I am married to a man, I have a gender free life Even a married woman will carry prejudices with her about men Di Angelo insists we do not set up a false binary racism is bad, non racists are good It is probably better to think of ourselves on a continuum With effort, we can improve our understanding but because the system operates without our consent, we will never escape it.We are reminded that the white identity needs black people in order to exist Around blackness we have created certain myths about dangerousness, laziness, etc which we may have thought we d eradicated until some stray incident makes them come flooding back to consciousness Whiteness is then a false identity, of superiority A black person who steps out of their place and demands to be treated equally, as in sports stars or popular singers, may trigger a backlash DiAngelo gives a brilliant exegesis of the book movie The Blind Side about a poor black high school football player adopted by a rich white family, and how it perpetrates dominant white ideologies That book came out to great acclaim only in 2007 It seems like a lifetime since then, but it is only ten years.Race and racism are emotional subjects We may discover the ways whites have perpetrated a system of injustice against people of color out of ignorance, but ignorance is no longer a good excuse We have work to do disrupting what we see as race bias in America today, making sure our kids are educated in a way that improves their understanding of conscious unconscious race bias, and making sure they understand their lives will be deficient without interaction with and understanding of black lives.We must work to widen our circles so that people of color are a part of our worldview, always remembering we are doing this for ourselves, not for the benefit of people of color We are not being generous we are seeking justice Ask for feedback, but don t be overly sensitive when people respond Feedback is useful Make sure to keep the focus on learning, not on one s own fragility And remember, one doesn t have to intend to be racist to act in a racist way It s the water we swim in I listened to the audio of this, narrated by Amy Landon, and had access to a paper copy DiAngelo gives a terrific short Continuing Ed bibliography in the back, sharing other excellent titles There are sure to be a couple of articles or books or podcast you still haven t seen There was only one book I admired that I did not see listed there Good White People by Shannon Sullivan, out of the University of North Carolina DiAngelo makes note of the terrific podcast, Seeing White, put together by a team headed by John Biewen out of Duke University All of it is worthwhile. I m not giving this a low rating for the reason you think I am Seven or eight years ago, I read an essay about white fragility in a professional journal It was only 17 pages long 3 of those pages were reference pages , but it opened my eyes to things I ve never thought about It was an amazing essay that explained why and how even non racist white people continue to unknowingly perpetuate race issues And how, when a discussion about it comes up, they have not been raised in an environment or taught basic skills of how to participate in that conversation without becoming defensive, emotional, or even claiming that the stress from the conversation has caused chest pain and ultimately shutting down the conversation by being taken to the hospital Fast forward seven or eight years, and the author of that amazing essay has turned the subject matter into a book It shouldn t have been done This book is approximately 180 pages too long It is a bloated form of the essay good stuff allowed to sit in a big tub and soak up watery anecdotes and over explanations of concepts Sure, these are complex concepts, but I m able to grasp a definition, a short example, and data analysis of a concept within a paragraph or two rather than a chapter or two Surely you can, too With the very clinical tone of the author, even though I think the essay was exemplary, I found myself tuning out often while reading Do yourself a favor and google White Fragility essay and you can read the much better, much concise, always hard punching essay that changed me several years ago It s currently available for free in PDF form as the first response you ll get when you google that You re welcome. I m undecided as to how to rate this book On the one hand, it s a fantastic first step for folks just becoming aware of racism But personally, as a POC who has been engaging with these concepts for years now, I found it very rudimentary Which I can t really criticize it for It s meant to be rudimentary But it meant that my reading experience was both quick and a little dull Which is no fault of the book I will say that I was introduced to some sociological concepts that I hadn t been familiar with, which I appreciated But otherwise, it s Racism 101 for White Folks, and it s explicitly tailored to that purpose And again it s a first step This is a short book that tries to cover a lot of topics quickly and easily It s not enough, but it s a fantastic start What I will say about the book from a objective standpoint is that I wish examples had been included DiAngelo focuses a lot on theory, which of course is important, but she also repeats herself a lot I think a useful approach would have been to talk about specific examples of white fragility that she encountered in her workshops and break down the various problematic aspects It was when she spoke about specific encounters that I was most engaged, and I think her points came across much clearly when she used those examples So, overall, a great book if you re just getting started learning about structural racism, but also a good refresher if you re already somewhat familiar. This should be mandatory reading for all white people Truly important. Groundbreaking Book Exploring The Counterproductive Reactions White People Have When Discussing Racism That Serve To Protect Their Positions And Maintain Racial InequalityReferring 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, Anti Racist Educator Robin DiAngelo Examines How White Fragility Develops, How It Protects Racial Inequality, And What Can Be Done To Engage Constructively. Robin DiAngelo comes hard in this one and takes no prisoners There are going to be many hurt feelings for those willing and courageous enough to delve into this examination of White Fragility This book is unapologetically rooted in identity politics I am white and am addressing a common white dynamic I am mainly writing to a white audience when I use the terms us and we, I am referring to the white collective White Fragility is conceptualized as responses to conversations around race Since white people have never had to think of themselves as white, any race based conversation exposes their fragility The smallest amount of racial stress is intolerable the mere suggestion that being white has meaning often triggers a range of defensive responses Although her target audience is white people, this certainly doesn t mean Black folks and others cannot or will not benefit from this examination As she states, People who do not identify as white may also find this book helpful for understanding why it is often difficult to talk to white people about racism People of color cannot avoid understanding white consciousness to some degree if they are to be successful in this society, yet nothing in dominant culture affirms their understanding or validates their frustrations when they interact with white people As you can sense from the above quotes this is not an easy ride, but if one is willing to be uncomfortable then there is much to be learned I m sure some readers will recoil at some of what is revealed on these pages and will seek cover But when you understand racism as a system and not as individual rantings of hateful people, you can get a sense of the role you currently play in upholding the system And this book is designed to aid you in understanding that role and how to escape it Racism occurs when a racial group s collective prejudice is backed by the power of legal authority and institutional control Because the author is also a diversity trainer, she recounts plenty of workshop examples in the book of how white fragility played out in workshop dynamics often to the detriment of all participants The hope is that readers may recognize these situations as familiar or even see glimpses of their own behavior and begin to make adjustments Robin DiAngelo has a very important discussion covering chapter 5, called the good bad binary The chapter essentially deals with an adaptation of racism into good vs bad people She skillfully dissects the arguments here always moving readers to a clearer understanding I can t help but think that some readers will be turned off for various reasons, but I assure you the writing is not mean spirited and it comes from a genuine place of wanting to be helpful This is a book that should be read and shared with others A great conversation starter for those interested in cross racial engagement To let go of the messenger and focus on the message is an advanced skill and hopefully the message is what remains the focus of this extraordinary work Thanks to Edelweiss and Beacon Press for an advanced digital review copy Book will be published June 26, 2018. I ve spent the last month discussing this book in a Goodreads group While the book is only 169 pages, it was helpful to proceed slowly and really talk about the points DiAngelo was trying to make, working past the defensiveness I feel like it should be required reading for all white people DiAngelo ends the book with very practical ideas that I found very useful.Highlights The concept of belonging and how central it is to whiteness, of an assumption If you believe that you are being told you are a bad person, all your energy is likely to go toward denying this possibility and invalidating the messenger rather than trying to understand why what you ve said or done is hurtful You will probably respond with white fragility But unfortunately, white fragility can only protect the problematic behavior you feel so defensive about it does not demonstrate that you are an open person who has no problematic racial behavior White fragility as bullying White women s tears as a special form of white fragility Stopping our racist patterns must be important than working to convince others we don t have them We do have them, and people of color already know we have them our efforts to prove otherwise are not convincing An honest accounting of these patterns is no small task given the power of white fragility and white solidarity, but it is necessary The list of assumptions on pages 142 3 are helpful, that if we can agree on those we are starting from a better place and maybe that helps remove some of the defensiveness I appreciated her modeling of how to receive feedback.