White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo.

3. Favorite quote

“If we “look white,” we are treated as white in society at large”

“Yet although their internal identity may be different, if they “pass” as white, they will still have a white experience externally. If they look white, the default assumption will be that they are white and thus they will be responded to as white”

“It is on each of us who pass as white to identify how these advantages shape us, not to deny them wholescale.”

These quotes stood out to me because it is personal to me. I am lighter skinned Latina, and I have to acknowledge that regardless of my mother’s heritage or how I was brought up, I am treated as white by society at large. No matter how much closer I am to my Peruvian heritage, I cannot deny the fact that my whiteness determines how I am treated in the world.

PBS: https://www.pbs.org/wnet/amanpour-and-company/video/white-fragility-extended-version/

•How does this book change or enhance the definition of “celebrityhood”

Unlike the other books, this book isn’t a memoir or a specific story. It is more of a “call out” on white people. She generalizes white people the same was marginalized groups have been generalized for years. The book “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people,”

While generalizing white people and calling them out, she is bound to make some people unhappy. I think this book changes “celebrityhood” because DiAngelo is willing to make some people unhappy and/or uncomfortable for the greater good. She isn’t concerned about being a celebrity, she is concerned about helping changing society.

•What contributions does this book make to social change?

This book was wildly popular in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer. The book was originally published in June of 2018. However, after the Black Lives Matter protests began sales skyrocketed to over 2000%. “Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, who is white, moved 437,289 print copies from May to June, up 2264% from 18,492 in the two months prior. “

This book also made social change by facing head on the common ideologies white people have when it comes to race. The chapter “White Fragility in Action” calls out white people in a way on all the ways they show white fragility day by day.

I also believe this book was a great resource for people who are wanting to change their unconscious or subconscious biases and prejudices and aren’t sure where to begin. White people taking it among themselves become educated is one of the first steps of a huge shift in social change. The book is brave enough to face head on all the phrases and arguments said by white people when it comes to race as well as call out white people’s defensiveness when their racial worldviews, positions, or advantages are questioned and challenged.

•What new concept did this book introduce to the world?

I don’t think this book introduced necessarily any new concepts to the world, but presented them in a new light. The fact that black people are not given the same advantage or treated the same isn’t a new idea by any means. This book calls out white people and their discomfort around the conversation of race, but as DiAngelo says on page 91 “The key to moving forward is what we do with our discomfort.” The book also gives a clear definition of the prejudice, discrimination, and racism and how they differ, but have the ability to lead from one to another.

Note:

While doing more research on the book, I have found that black people are not a fan of the book because they feel DiAngelo is condesending.

https://www.npr.org/2020/07/20/892943728/professor-criticizes-book-white-fragility-as-dehumanizing-to-black-people

You say this book that is dedicated to eliminating racism in white people is racist. Why do you say it’s racist?

It is racist, and I don’t mean that Robin DiAngelo is a racist. I’m not calling her that. But I’m saying that if you write a book that teaches that Black people’s feelings must be stepped around to an exquisitely sensitive degree that hasn’t been required of any human beings, you’re condescending to Black people. In supposing that Black people have no resilience, you are saying that Black people are unusually weak. You’re saying that we are lesser. You’re saying that we, because of the circumstances of American social history, cannot be treated as adults. And in the technical sense, that’s discriminatory.

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Leah Arroyo

Leah Arroyo

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