Anger. Fear. Guilt. Denial. Silence. These are the ways in which ordinary white people react when it is pointed out to them that they have done or said something that has – unintentionally – caused racial offence or hurt.
After, all, a racist is the worst thing you can be, right? But these reactions only serve to take any responsibility off white people and silence people of colour.
Robin DiAngelo coined the term white fragility in 2011 to describe this reaction. In her book she shows us how it serves to uphold the system of white supremacy.
Using knowledge and insight gained over decades of running racial awareness workshops and working on this idea as a Professor of Whiteness Studies, she shows us how we can start having more honest conversations, listen to each other better and react to feedback with grace and humility. It is not enough to simply hold abstract progressive views and condemn the obvious racists on social media – change starts with us all at a practical, granular level, and it is time for all white people to take responsibility for relinquishing their own, often unconscious, racial supremacy.
Racism is a structure, not an event.— Robin DiAngelo
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