White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People To Talk About Racism

Beacon. Jun. 2018. 192p. notes. ISBN 9780807047415. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780807047422. SOC SCI
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, antiblackness, 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.
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