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This racist screed peddles toxic white guilt. It is making its author fabulously wealthy (adding enormously to her own "white privilege"). But It has been accurately described as the dumbest book ever written. So, definitely do not buy it, you'll only be helping scam artist Robin DiAngelo get even richer. If you are curious and/or feeling masochistic, borrow a copy from the library.
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And here's a video review:
WATCH: "7 Reasons Why "White Fragility" is the Worst Book Ever"
An eye-opening MUST read. I learned a lot from this book about society in the United States that suddenly makes sense. I can see now where even I might be part of the problem, though I certainly don't mean to be.
Actually just The Courage to Heal with "childhood sexual molestation" changed to "racism," and the perpetrator and the victim switched. This book is one long circular argument: if you are white, you are racist because you are white in a "white supremacist" society. Society is racist and white supremacist because white people are racist and perpetuate racism no matter what they do because they are racist. Even if you think you're not racist and feel upset at being caricatured in this manner, your "white tears" (exactly the same tears cried by white women in the past while accusing innocent black men for rape!) is proof of your racism, because you cannot be white in a white supremacist society without being racist. Etc., etc., etc.
I found a quote mine in the introduction attributed to Charles Baudelaire (I am a historian of radical French poets), and a number of historical inaccuracies in DiAngelo's book. The rest she apparently just makes up without any cited evidence. This book lacks any falsifiability, making it no better than any creationist text. It lack rigor, and actually is condescending and racist toward people of color! It manages to insult everyone, and especially one's intelligence. (Don't seek out affirmation from other white people, and don't seek to ask the experiences of people of color - it's not their job to educate you! Stay in your white bubble and shell out more money to take DiAngelo's seminars so you can contemplate your white navel. Don't look for solutions - that's white fragility, too!)
This book is toxic, defeatist and narcissistic, apparently popular among well-off white women who have NEVER lived in a diverse neighborhood, taken public transit, worked with people in color in low-paying jobs, or visited a developing country! It's so myopic, it suggests Black History Month should focus more on white people and their hand-wringing about their "whiteness." (Hoo boy, doesn't that sound like FUN?) DiAngelo has apparently made millions off this book. What a pity that more people cannot see this is just "Satanic panic" applied to racial relations.
KHoulihan below asserts that DiAngelo 'repackages' the concept of white fragility as if it were her own original concept. DiAngelo does not operate as if the concept of white fragility were her own original concept.
Initially, upon reading this book, I found it riveting and insightful... and then I learned that it was written by a white woman, and that the concepts described within were Race Theory 101 from Sociology.... both of which are inherently problematic. Weeze Doran (@accordingtoweeze on Insta) has a great summary of the issues with a white sociologist repackaging the work of black sociologists and the concept of white fragility as if they were her own idea and innovation, and also that because DiAngelo is white, that she cannot effectively be an anti-racist educator, without missing and overlooking the massive blindspots of all who are white. Consider picking up a book by an actual Black anti-racist educator, like How to Be Less Stupid About Race by Crystal Fleming instead.
If you want an alternate view on this book, read Matt Taibbi's review, https://taibbi.substack.com/p/on-white-fragility. It is, to put it mildly, scathing.
As a white guy, it was a humbling read, but feels pivotal in helping me chart a course through (and maybe out of?) the white racism that I and white folks have grown up not recognizing, and thereby perpetuating. It's the first step on the difficult road we've been avoiding, and allllll of our white ancestors have been avoiding, for 243 years.
This book should be used as a primer for white progressives who believe they are non-racist. (Not “progressive” as in votes blue; I am referring to any white person who believes they are too nice/Christian/educated/urban to be racist). The author explains that racism is not an event (Trump rallies, tiki torches, police brutality, etc). Racism is the society we’ve been swimming in for hundreds of years, and white people are the water.
White readers should stretch beyond this book to actively decolonize their minds and bookshelves. “White Rage” by Carol Anderson seems like a strong companion to this book, and is written by a Black woman scholar. Then visit Toni Morrison, bell hooks, the Combahee River Collective, Zora Neale Hurston, Kiese Laymon, Claudia Rankine, Angela Davis, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Isabel Wilkerson, Jacqueline Woodson and stay awhile.
PS This book is sold out everywhere. Buy a book or three from Black authors. Regularly.
This book cut me to my core. It named a lot of assumptions I just accepted without question being a white person. It helped me unpack a lot of my white socialization and give words to feelings and emotions I didn't understand. The whole point of my reading this book was to learn more about how I am perpetrating white racism without knowing it. This is only the beginning. She makes excellent suggestions at the end of the book for how to continue this work. It was hard to read at times because I saw myself in the book. I absolutely recommend this book.
It’s brief and breezy and sometimes persuasive. Two cautions: The book defines racism in a way that makes all white people part of it, but then spends too much time talking about people who didn't like being defined that way. (It's almost like the author wanted to maximize drama about this.)
Her constant efforts to point out, in passing, her own progressive credentials establish that this is the choir she has chosen to preach to, but add nothing to the argument. In fact, she doesn’t so much present an argument but rather a catechism.
Several sloppy factual errors in summarizing news events undermine the authoritative tone.
This is the worst book I have ever read.
It starts with a premise that all whites are racist, only whites can be racist, all institutions are racist, there's a worldwide conspiracy by whites to dominate and oppress all others and if you object that you're not racist, it just proves that you are.
The author uses circular logic, statements that don't match facts, over generalizations and stereotyping to make her case. She converts objective reality into a subjective
viewpoint that is presented as fact, rather than her opinion. The author is completely certain of her viewpoint and never thinks that there may be other legitimate viewpoints or options. Most damaging, she believes the only way African Americans can succeed is if White people allow it.
Despite this, the book is worth reading because it illustrates a radical mindset that is unhelpful and worsens the situation for black Americans by depriving them of their intelligence, dignity and self-worth.
"Naming white supremacy changes the conversation in two key ways: It makes the system visible and shifts the locus of change onto white people, where it belongs. It also points us in the direction of the lifelong work that is uniquely ours, challenging our complicity with and investment in racism. This does not mean that people of color do not play a part but that the full weight of responsibility rests with those who control the institutions."
White People: I don’t want you to understand me
better; I want you to understand yourselves. Your
survival has never depended on your knowledge of
white culture. In fact, it’s required your ignorance.
When I say that I am still processing this book, let me say that there is a lot to process. Robin DiAngelo does not give all the answers but she certainly gave me many things to think about, question, and resources to go further. Education is the key to everything -- never stop learning! I definitely learned something about myself by reading this book. I would love to take part in one of her workshops. As DiAngelo says:
"To continue reproducing racial inequality, the system only needs white people to be really nice and carry on, smile at people of color, be friendly across race, and go to lunch together on occasion. I am not saying that you shouldn’t be nice. I suppose it’s better than being mean. But niceness is not courageous. Niceness will not get racism on the table and will not keep it on the table when everyone wants it off. In fact, bringing racism to white people’s attention is often seen as not nice, and being perceived as not nice triggers white fragility.
Interrupting racism takes courage and intentionality; the interruption is by definition not passive or complacent. So in answer to the question 'Where do we go from here?,' I offer that we must never consider ourselves finished with our learning. Even if challenging all the racism and superiority we have internalized was quick and easy to do, our racism would be reinforced all over again just by virtue of living in the culture."
White Fragility: Why it is so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism is a highly-rated and popular book at this time. The author, Robin DiAngelo, has years of experience as a diversity trainer. She asserts the society of the United States is based on white supremacy. She says all humans have prejudice. She states American life is shaped by segregation, and racism-free upbringing is not possible. Whites benefit while people of color suffer. Whites could not be “superior” unless there were others.
DiAngelo thinks whites are “fragile” as they have not had to deal with issues of race. When told of their racist statements or actions, white people take it to mean they aren’t being nice or good. Most whites will say they are not racist. They get upset or defensive, instead of listening to the reasons their statements or actions were hurtful and learning from the situations. Yes, whites face barriers, but not racism barriers, and benefit from unearned advantages.
The author argues she thinks white progressives cause most of the daily damage to people of color. She argues reverse discrimination is not possible in our social system. She feels white people think they have nothing to ever learn about race. She says there is no color-blindness. American individualism, romanticism about the good old days, and the desire to be comfortable with the way things are helped form systemic discrimination.
This book would be helpful for diversity training leaders, people unfamiliar with white privilege, those wanting more insight about racial relations, and for people who would like to work on recognizing their own microaggressions. There are checklists to consult for discussion, thinking, and learning. Clear analogies are made to further explain the points she makes.
“The failure to acknowledge white supremacy protects it from examination and holds it in place,” according to DiAngelo.
I think it is Important to read this book but it seems repetitive and focused on what is wrong with white people in general— little other than wake up and learn is offered.
This was a difficult book to review. I absolutely hated the first third of the book. The author just sounded like a white apologist. I felt like she was saying everything good that has ever happened to a white person was because a person of color was put down. There was lots of identifying of problem areas with no examples and broad brush blame applied to everyone. I also completely disagree with her statement that only white people can be racists. I debated even finishing the book. Boy, am I glad I did! The last part was filled with great examples of specific behaviors. The explanations were clear. The responses by people when confronted with their racism was spot on. I came away with some areas I need to work on in my own life and felt I got a lot out of the book. I just wish the first part of the book was not so poorly done.
An eye-opening tool of a book that's bound to make the reader uncomfortable in some very important ways. DiAngelo sticks very well to her topic-how to talk about racism with white people. It catalogs the reactions, thoughts, and push-back the conversations are likely to have, and how to effectively listen to racial feedback. It's a book to return to again and again, because there's more in it than can be digested in a reading. Particularly relevant were the ways that knee-jerk reactions to the term "Racism" and the portrayal of racism/racists in media creates a dangerous protection of both white ego and cultural racism. A great and highly recommended read.
Ooof. This was like the refreshing pain of having cold water thrown over you. One of the best descriptions of exactly what racism is and why other forms of prejudice and discrimination just aren't the same. I also had never quite understood what people meant when they said race isn't biological -- you can see the different skin colors and other physical traits and they are formed through genetics, so how is that not biological? But DiAngelo explains that it's not that those things aren't real, it's that at some point those differences were separated into categories and declared different races, not for the purposes of science but to stamp some as inferior. This fairly short book is packed with so much -- I highly recommend it and know I'll be returning to it again because I want these lessons to sink in.
From: Ghettostone Publications Company, Editor/Chief Michael R. Brown, leader of "THE BEST SELLERS BOOK CLUB" review of author Robin DiAngelo's "WHITE FRAGILITY"; Why It's So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism"....!
"WARNING...!" This book is not meant for pleasure, but self- examination...!
"WHITE FRAGILITY" by Robin DiAngelo is a deep dive into the pyscho-social anaylsis of the inner-workings of White folk's inability to deal with their own emotional triggers associated with being confronted with internal bias. The writer has designed this book for "Whites Only"!
The book dives deep into the psychology of white racism, identifying masked internal feelings, deeply held beliefs, historically seeded attitudes, personal prejudices, and internal attempts to hide behind group assimilation by using emotional evasion! The premise of this study suggests that no white person in America is willing to take responsibility for America's unique "White Racist" problem. The writer works in corporate diversity training helping corporations determine why there is no people of color hires, or why so many minorities leave.
The book is tough. It's harsh. It's difficult to read. And hard to put away. The statistics alone are extremely harsh to review. And the fact that America's history has never been able to put race hatred away... equates to being "addicted to white supremacy"! The proof is established in America's History of violence toward "People Of Color", genocide of the Native Peoples, enslavement of the African, land seizures from Mexico, the establishment of a "Jim Crow segregation laws" and the systematic oppression of everyone who is not "White"..
The truth hurts! According to this study many White People in America are unaware of
the harmful nature of "A White Supremacy Society"! More than that many White Americans continue to deny they play a role in enforcement of the status quo, or that they have benefited personally from it, or that America has a entrenched racial systems that disenfranchise People of Color!
This book is not meant for People of Color! It's difficult information and confirms what Black People have suspected and known most of their lives, the socialization and complicit nature of White individuals to perpetuate racial discrimination is inherent in the socialization process of being White in America, a White Supremacist Society!
The fact that no where in the world does a "White Supremacy Nation" like America even exists. Plus the fact that White People can not be "superior" with out the systematic
oppression of "the inferior" People of Color...! In other words, the American racial supremacy system implemented through socialization would be impossible, if there were no Black People lived in this country....! In order to be White in America, there needs to be Black People living in America! If no Black People lived in America there would be no White
ability to be Superior or White Supremacists...!
QUESTION: Can White Americans get tough enough to deal with the harsh realities of their own socialization into a system of institutional "white racism" in order to see how they keep the system in place? Or will America come to some horrible clash or be easily defeated by a Russia, or another nation that uses "white supremacy propaganda" to easily manipulate an already hostile White America in order to destroy Democracy...?
Read the book and find out....! "White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo
Highly recommended by "THE BEST SELLER's BOOK CLUB..!
"WARNING: this material will cause some discomfort when reading...!'
Michael R. Brown, Editor/Chief
Ghettostone Publications Company
This is important. Essential. For white people. Chances are it will reverse many of your unconscious operating assumptions about race and racism, where you fit into them, and how to proceed in the future; your instincts are likely wrong, and this is the manual for why and how to fight them. I was not really surprised by anything in the book but I have been hugely informed by it, as DiAngelo does such a clear, succinct job of articulating the issues and making them digestible. My hope is that all white people will read it. Black lives depend on it.
Indeed, required reading for us white folks; the book repeatedly highlights why talking about racism is difficult for white people, and asks all white readers to face their own racism. I did, though, want more actionable information: more questions to ask myself, more techniques -- to have DiAngelo be as up front with her readers as she asks us to be with ourselves.
Ijeoma Oluo's SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE is a more frank, more powerful, more action oriented read, and anyone who was struck by DiAngelo's words should be sure to follow up with Oluo's.
I wanted to read this book but started it thinking I am not racist, my father is, many of my relatives are but I am not. The take away for me was that I had not realized, just like the book said, I grew up where everyone I saw was white, my neighbors, teachers, doctors, nurses, mayors, grocery store clerks, everyone was white. So I never ever had to wonder "Will I be out of place or looked down on because I am white?" That never even entered my mind. And I will be the first to say that I have said that men in the workplace have no idea of what women go through on a daily basis. This book really opened my eyes and I am very glad I read it and I will certainly recommend it.
I think about this book so often. I don’t see myself as a racist, but I was sitting in a Kaiser-Permanente pharmacy in a traditionally white town, and I was amazed at the number of black people there. Funny, I didn’t think about all the Asian and south Asian people there, only the blacks. Somehow I doubt this is the last time, that White Fragility makes me think about my own beliefs.
IMO this is a "must read"...I'm particularly interested in its potential as a professional development tool for managers. So Important!
A persuasive book about why the common understanding of racism as something done intentionally by mean people is wrong, and further why it hinders whites from meaningfully addressing their role in promulgating racism and thus reinforcing their own racial advantages. D'Angelo bracingly dismantles white racial defensiveness and deflection in its many forms. Reading this book was somewhat disheartening, as it revealed the full extent and insidiousness of white supremacy in the U.S and how whites maintain it, but also hopeful in that D'Angelo truly offers a comprehensive and clear analysis of the problem, and she answers it with promising solutions--albeit ones that will require a lot of hard work and effort on the part of whites.
This book was great at describing the problems white people have with acknowledging we are part of a racist society and yes, we are racist. DiAngelo talks about why because we see Racist as the worst thing, we see any indication that we did something racist as something to deny and deflect from and say that we aren't evil. That wasn't the point! She also gives the best outlining of why "reverse racism" doesn't exist I've ever read, and offers tactics to be less racist. It's a book everyone should read, especially in Canada where our white people have this smug superiority complex that is completely undeserved.