White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo was my first summer read. I am always looking to learn more about myself and how to be a better person in this crazy world. This book definitely challenged my beliefs on racism in America. Read on to see why you need to add it to your reading list this season.

White Fragility – Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo

What is White Fragility?

This book kept popping up in different conversation with friends as well as in my social media feeds so I knew that I had to dive in and learn more about my whiteness and racism. After witnessing the horror of the death of George Floyd and many others, I felt like I had to check myself and learn more.

In the introduction, I was caught off guard by these couple of lines below.

This book is intended for us, for white progressives who so often – despite our conscious intentions – make life so difficult for people of color. I believe that white progressives cause the most deadly damage to people of color. (Page 5)

I am a white progressive so reading this really shook me but I understood that I was in the right place to understand my part in racism.

Words to Ponder On

This book is chock full of information that is uncomfortable to hear but if we want to move forward and make change happen, we must be willing to listen and take action. Here are a couple parts from the book that struck me.

Prejudice is foundational to understanding white fragility because suggesting that white people have racial prejudice is perceived as saying that we are bad and should be ashamed. We then feel the need to defend our character rather than explore the inevitable racial prejudices we have absorbed so that we might change them. In this way, our misunderstanding about what prejudice is protects it. (Page 20)

Narratives of racial exceptionality obscure the reality of ongoing white control while reinforcing the ideologies of individualism and meritocracy. (Page 26)

The dominant paradigm of racism as discrete, individual, intentional, and malicious acts makes it unlikely that whites will acknowledge any of our actions as racism. (Page 76)

If we need to cry so all the resources of rush back to us and attention is diverted away from a discussion of our racism, then we will cry (a strategy most commonly employed by white middle-class women) (Page 112)

What to Do Next?

These quotes from the book are just the tip of the iceberg. I hope you feel compelled to read it yourself. After reading through many of the chapters, I asked myself where do I go from here. Robin Diangelo offers a question to ponder with this in mind. “What has enabled you to be a full, educated professional adult and not know what to do about racism?” (Page 144) She recommends taking the initiative to find out what we don’t know and do the work. That’s my plan.

This Bridge Called My Back by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua

I’m following this book up with the book titled, The Bridge Called My Back, Writings by Radical Women of Color by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua. Still waiting for it to show up on my doorstep. Do you have any book recommendations concerning this topic? Please let me know in the comments.

Happy Wednesday! XO