More Tales of White Fragility

More Tales of White Fragility

‘White Fragility’ by Robin DiAngelo has been one of the most helpful books i have read on the subject of race and racism. It has helped put some language on some concepts i was aware of and it has shared some useful analogies that break down complex issues into much simpler ideas. i highly recommend you get a copy and give it a read if you are trying to navigate these race waters and conversations and become a better version of yourself.

Here are a few more passages that jumped out at me just to give you a glimpse and a teaser and hopefully encourage you to get your own copy and dive in:

‘Racism is a systemic, societal, institutional, omnipresent, and epistemologically embedded phenomenon that pervades every vestige of our reality. For most whites, however, racism is like murder: the concept exists, but someone has to commit it in order for it to happen. This limited view of such a multi-layered syndrome cultivates the sinister nature of racism and, in fact, perpetuates racist phenomena rather than eradicated them.’

[African American scholar and filmmaker Omowale Akintunde]

‘The good/bad frame is a false dichotomy. All people hold prejudices, especially across racial lines in a society deeply divided by race. I can be told that everyone is equal by my parents, I can have friends of color, and I may not tell racist jokes. Yet I am still affected by the forces of racism as a member of a society in which racism is the bedrock. I will still be seen as white, treated as white, and experience life as a white person. My identity, personality, interests, and investments will develop from a white perspective. I will have a white worldview and a white frame of reference. In a society in which race clearly matters, our race profoundly shapes us. If we want to challenge this construct, we must make an honest accounting of how it is manifest in our own lives and in the society around us.
Although individual racist acts do occur, these acts are part of a larger system of interlocking dynamics. The focus on individual incidences masks the personal, interpersonal, cultural, historical, and structural analysis that is necessary to challenge this larger system.The simplistic idea that racism is limited to individual intentional acts committed by unkind people is at the root of virtually all white defensiveness on this topic. To move beyond defensiveness, we have to let go of this common belief.’
[Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility]

‘In my workshops I often ask people of color, “How often have you given white people feedback on our unaware yet inevitable racism? How often has that gone well for you?” Eye-rolling, head-shaking, and outright laughter follow, along with the consensus of rarely, if ever. I then ask, “What would it be like if you could simply give us feedback, have us graciously receive it, reflect, and work to change that behavior?” Recently a man of color sighed and said, “It would be revolutionary.”

I ask my fellow whites to consider the profundity of that response. It would be revolutionary if we could receive, reflect, and work to change the behavior. On the one hand, the man’s response points to how difficult and fragile we are. But on the other hand, it indicates how simple it can be to take responsibility for our racism. However, we aren’t likely to get there if we keep operating from the dominant worldview that only intentionally mean people can participate in racism.’

[Robin DiAngelo, ‘White Fragility’]

Functions of White Fragility

# Maintain white solidarity

# Close off self-reflection

# Trivialize the reality of racism

# Silence the discussion

# Make white people the victims

# Hijack the conversation

# Protect a limited worldview

# Take race off the table

# Protect white privilege

# Focus on the messenger, not the message

# Rally more resources to white people

[from White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo]

About the Author:

Brett Fish is a lover of life, God, tbV [the beautiful Valerie] and owns the world's most famous stuffed dolphin, No_bob (who doesn't bob). He believes that we are all responsible for making the world a significantly better place for everyone.

One Comment

  1. […] [For a few more excerpts from ‘White Fragility’, click here] […]

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