Sunday, August 2, 2020

Review: WHITE FRAGILITY by Robin DiAngelo

Rating: 3/5 stars

I have heard many people say that White Fragility should be required reading for white people, and I agree. I think everyone can learn something here, regardless of who you are or where you come from. But like I said earlier in an update, the kinds of people who most need to read this book are the kinds of people who are least likely to do so, and that’s so sad.

Robin DiAngelo is a white woman who is a sociologist. I love that throughout the book, she shares many stories with us of how she herself has been racist in her life, even though her job is to actively work against racism and help to create equality. She was racist and acknowledged it and apologized to the person she harmed and asked them to help point out when she was making these mistakes because sometimes innocent intentions can be offensive and we should become aware of when those moments occur so we can change our actions in the future. She really communicates here that every single person is racist, whether intentionally or unintentionally, whether you know that you’re being racist or not. It’s a fact of life: everyone is racist. It’s a lifelong work to change. You don’t just suddenly become not racist one day and then you’re done, you don’t need to work anymore. No, it’s a constant progression, a constant education, and I really love how she highlighted this concept in this book.

“Unaware white racism is inevitable.”

The point of this book is to be able to recognize our racist actions and work to change them. The concept of white fragility comes in here because so often when white people are pointed out as being racist, they take it as an attack on their entire character, and they say they can’t possibly be racist because of X, Y, or Z reason. Even if you grew up in a poor neighborhood, were raised to treat everybody as equals, or have black friends or a black partner, you can still be racist at times. It doesn’t have to be intentional or even known for it to happen. The moral of this book is that white people need to become comfortable with discomfort, and when someone points out that you’ve been racist in a certain situation, recognize that as an opportunity to change and apologize instead of getting defensive and lashing out.

“Stopping our racist patterns must be more important than working to convince others that 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.”

You will make mistakes. But the important thing is to learn from your mistakes to become a better white ally in the future. If you can’t first be aware of when racism exists, then how can you work to eliminate it? 

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