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White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
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White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  150,598 ratings  ·  17,829 reviews
Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, anti-racis ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Beacon Press
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Abi Inman If you read the book, she answers this question! Here's an edited explanation from another question:

One of the first things DiAngelo addresses in the …more
If you read the book, she answers this question! Here's an edited explanation from another question:

One of the first things DiAngelo addresses in the book is that she's using the term "racist" the way the scholarly community around race issues uses it, not the way it's used colloquially. Being racist is not the same as making an assumption about someone based on race. Racism is only racism when it has institutional power behind it. When pointing out the defense systems of white people, DiAngelo a) is not having any effect on their safety or success and b) is not coming at them from an uneven place of institutional power. Therefore she is not being racist. You could say she's making an assumption about you based on your race, and that's certainly true! But the assumption she's making about your socialized habits could not be more different from the centuries of entrenched degradation, violence, and exploitation of people of color.

You should try giving the book a read! I can't explain this nearly as articulately as DiAngelo does, but I really think it would clear up this question for you.(less)

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Start your review of White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤
I began reading this book with the assumption that I'd get a better understanding of why it's so hard to talk to other white people about race. Maybe there'd be a couple things I needed to be aware of in myself, but all in all, this would be a book about other white people.

Well! Damn if I wasn't wrong! Right in the beginning, Robin DiAngelo knocked me off of my why-I'm-not-racist pedestal. She called me out in the very beginning by suggesting that I the reader was probably sitting there thinkin
Lois is recovering slowly
Skip this book entirely and read Caste by Isabel Wilkerson.
It covers much of the same info and is considerably better researched.
****Edited to add: If the above statement bothers you I do not care so please stop commenting on it, thanks:)

This book is written by a white person for other whites.
Most of what she writes is common sense but no doubt useful for white folks struggling to not feel attacked when racism is discussed.

I was annoyed at a remark about 21% in where the author points out that s
Dec 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
Half a century after the Civil Rights movement, vast disparities exist between blacks and whites in America. First and foremost, these group inequalities are caused by deep, historical trauma created by white racism and racist policies aimed against black persons and black culture. If slavery and Jim Crow caused a gaping wound, Civil Rights stitched it up; but underneath the wound still festers. How does this wound – the entrenched inequities between blacks and whites in America – continue to ex ...more
this book is currently at the top of the new york times best seller list. it’s been there for eleven weeks straight, right in front of several other non-fiction books about race and racism written by people of color. it holds an average 4.5 rating here on goodreads with 32k+ ratings.

it’s also written by a white woman.

yes, well, bear with me.

the arguments in favor of that are about how white people accept criticism and callouts way better from other white people. they might even sit down to liste
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
I'm undecided as to how to rate this book. On the one hand, it's a fantastic first step for folks just becoming aware of racism. But personally, as a POC who has been engaging with these concepts for years now, I found it very rudimentary. Which I can't really criticize it for! It's meant to be rudimentary! But it meant that my reading experience was both quick and a little dull. Which is no fault of the book. I will say that I was introduced to some sociological concepts that I hadn't been fami ...more
Aaron Akbar
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book raises striking and specific points about how as whites we have biases toward race while pretending we are colorblind. She states specific examples, and outlays practical way forward.

Most of the lower star ratings of this book seem to be exhibiting the exact fragility she outlines, and really only prove to drive her point home further.
Even more, they seem to ignore the very clear outlining in the book of difference between personal and systemic racism. That the way forward is to stop t
mark monday
Jun 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
This is a sometimes interesting yet essentially broken vessel for the author's frustration in dealing with the ignorant and often prejudiced white people who have participated in her diversity seminars. The book trolls those participants while purporting to be a learning tool itself.

To a limited extent, it is that tool. Its chapter on white privilege provides a superb overview. Likewise its chapter on the essentially racist character of much U.S. history. These lessons can also be found elsewher
An excellent, powerful book I would recommend to all white people. It scares me a bit to write that because I imagine some white people may take offense to that statement (an emotional reaction Robin DiAngelo discusses in the book), and at the same time I stand by it. I will write a little about this book’s high quality, though I want to start with a personal story that may help explain why this book means a lot to me.

Around a year ago, I called a white woman colleague out on a behavior of hers
Sep 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
Here is the premise of a book I’m going to write: every person over eighteen is a child abuser. All adults are involved in a conspiracy to abuse children, and to maintain this status quo. If I confront you, an adult, about this and you react with anger, sadness, argumentation, silence, walking away, or any other possible human emotion, you have confirmed my accusation. You might think you deeply care about children, and you would never abuse them, but this is either denial or your sub
Mario the lone bookwolf
Victim role and defense mechanisms prevent an emancipated and enlightened reappraisal of past and present grievances, culminating in worsening of system immanent problems, backlashes, and indirect and unconscious promotion of racial divide. Building mental suppression reflexes, fortifications against unwanted truth, is a sign of an immature and romantic idealization of one´s ego for the price of being part of the problem.

The term aversive racism is well chosen, it´s exactly the subconscious mec
Okay first let me start by saying that I’m not rating this book. It’s intentional. I don’t feel like I can fairly rate a book that was not written for me. It is clearly stated by the author at the beginning of the book and it’s clear by the subject matter. I won’t even say that I enjoyed this book because some parts were triggering and some parts made me pissed as hell BUT is this knowledge that people should be privy too? Yes. Do I think that all White people will benefit from this information? ...more
Jack Heller
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book will cut you, white person, no slack. If you think you're progressive about race--and most white people think they are--you will be confronted by this book. It's not aimed at Klansmembers. It's aimed at the people who don't recognize where they fall short. That's me. It's probably you too. ...more
May 01, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You Can't Win

We had a Native American come to a group that I attend, and the first words out of his mouth were, “I hate blacks.” I wasn’t there, but it was my understanding that the leader of the group gave him hell, how much hell I do not know. But no one else spoke up, and this bothered him. I heard this story and ran into him the following week when he sat down at the table where we were having breakfast. When he said that he was from Tulsa, I said, “When I think of Tulsa I think of the race
Vanessa Murakami
Jun 11, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As a Japanese woman I am appalled by the level of racism against white people the author is demonstrating in this book. And she herself is white! Which goes to show that self-hatred is strong with this one. She essentially says that all white people are racist, whether they know it or not (which shuts down all conversation in and of itself), and that that pseudo-fragility she's talking about along with the pseudo-reticence white people have when it comes to talking about racism are nothing more ...more
I think the book resonated with me because in this turbulent time, I see every last one of these behaviors, right now in real time. It's like she's following me on social media.
[White fragility] is an idea that registers the hurt feelings, shattered egos, fraught spirits, vexed bodies, and taxed emotions of white folk. In truth, their suffering comes from recognizing that they are white—that their whiteness has given them a big leg up in life while crushing others’ dreams, t
Diane S ☔
May 15, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nfr-2020
There is no doubt that people of color have had and continue to have unfair biases and prejudicial acts committed against them. I agree in this area when she explains, through growing up in the inner city of Chicago, how this is so.

What I don't agree with is her book premise. How she assigns motives to white people, which may not be true..in particular the white woman talking over a black woman. I know plenty of white people who do this on a regular basis, In all white company. Does she really b
Elyse Walters
....read by Amy Landon

“White progressives cause the most daily damage to people of color”.

“To the degree that white progressives think we have arrived, we will put our energy into making sure that others see us as having arrived”.

Robin DiAngelo “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to bad people”.

For me - this book was phenomenal!
The last couple of days it’s become a family affair ‘hot topic’.( Paul, me, Ali, Adam)....
a topic we are committed to continue
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I repeat: 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. An honest accounting of these patterns is no small task given the power of white fragility and white solidarity, but it is necessary.”

This is going to be a rambling sort of stream-of-consciousness style review à la Virginia Woolf (minus all the finesse!) I just wan
Mike (the Paladin)
Mar 27, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
The attitudes and emotions behind this book have caused more damage and division than healing. I think the title might better be, "Guilt of Left Wing Academics".

Blacks and whites (and Asians and Native Americans and everybody else) are all human. If we keep fanning the hurts and hates of the past we may as well all resign ourselves to being like the middle east still killing each other over wrongs from 4000 years ago.

My black friends and my brown friends and (again) everybody else are simply, "m
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The provocative title of this book is a draw. What are we doing, saying, thinking that is unconscious and yet still brings out some kind of anger or fear response in us when challenged? I am constantly learning how much I don’t know about race in America and much more there is to know. DiAngelo is also white, by the way. She, too, makes racist mistakes, though more rarely now, even years after immersing herself in how it manifests. We can’t escape it. We have to acknowledge it.

That is basically
Angela M (On a little break)
I’ve had this book on my kindle for over a month now, knowing that it was an important book to read, but I put it off. Why? Maybe because I was afraid of facing my “white fragility” or worse yet finding out I was a racist. The civil rights giant John Lewis passed away a couple of days ago. After reading a number of tributes profiling his life of courage and strength, a life dedicated to righting injustices against black peopIe, I decided it was time.

Perched on my couch in my house in a predomin
Jun 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I want to preface this review by saying, despite some points I read critically, I do think White Fragility is a thought provoking book. Do I think it's perfect? No. Do I think a white woman, even one who has studied racial inequities with intense devotion, could illustrate the depth of the societal rot that is racism? No. But it's a start, and that is something.

I wrote down all these notes that I made while reading White Fragility, but then I came across this article, and the author puts it more
It's been a few days since I finished this book, and I've been thinking about it so much. I love listening to nonfiction audiobooks and it's recently come to my attention that I haven't read any audiobooks that specifically deal with race and white privilege. This book was a very educational experience for me because before reading this book I had never even heard the term 'white fragility'. This book had so many powerful quotes that I will leave below:

“I was co-leading a workshop with an Africa
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I've spent the last month discussing this book in a Goodreads group. While the book is only 169 pages, it was helpful to proceed slowly and really talk about the points DiAngelo was trying to make, working past the defensiveness. I feel like it should be required reading for all white people. DiAngelo ends the book with very practical ideas that I found very useful.


-The concept of belonging and how central it is to whiteness, more of an assumption

"If you believe that you are being tol
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Racism is a problem and so it's good to talk about it as opposed to ignoring it. The author declares in the title that this is hard for white people to do. So the potential plus-value of the book is the author's method of white-people-engagement. Unfortunately, I have misgivings about that.

I had enough of her approach at the point where she gloated more than once about making someone leave her course because she upset them so much. I don't get that. I teach about race and racism (e.g. health di
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
“White fragility is not weakness per se. In fact, it is a powerful means of white racial control and the protection of white advantage.”

Should I just regurgitate the message that every white person needs to read this?

Yeah. I think I will.

And some aspects of this fragility can also nicely extend to POC communities.
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I nearly returned this book. I had purchased the audiobook from Audible, and I found the tone to be dry, dull, and schoolmarmish. If I was to picture Robin DiAngelo, it would be my middle school librarian, wagging her finger at me. I had this reaction despite knowing what tone policing is. Despite consciously being aware that it is a common response for white people to focus on the method of information delivery over the actual information being delivered, and to prioritize their comfort over th ...more
Scott Freeman
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
This should be mandatory reading for all white people. Truly important.
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an important book to read if you're white and you care. I can't put it more plainly than that.

But this is also, by no means, an easy book to get through. Indeed, it challenges every reader to look at themselves from a different perspective. NOT as a person of color would see a white person.

It's important to stress that this is NOT a book about taking on personal blame, about being a self-hating white person, but about seeing the racial question from a systemic and broader viewpoint. It's
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Robin J. DiAngelo is an American academic, lecturer, and author working in the fields of critical discourse analysis and whiteness studies. She formerly served as a tenured professor of multicultural education at Westfield State University and is currently an Affiliate Associate Professor of Education at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is known for her work pertaining to white fragili ...more

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“It is white people’s responsibility to be less fragile; people of color don’t need to twist themselves into knots trying to navigate us as painlessly as possible.” 102 likes
“I believe that white progressives cause the most daily damage to people of color. I define a white progressive as any white person who thinks he or she is not racist, or is less racist, or in the “choir,” or already “gets it.” White progressives can be the most difficult for people of color because, to the degree that we think we have arrived, we will put our energy into making sure that others see us as having arrived. None of our energy will go into what we need to be doing for the rest of our lives: engaging in ongoing self-awareness, continuing education, relationship building, and actual antiracist practice. White progressives do indeed uphold and perpetrate racism, but our defensiveness and certitude make it virtually impossible to explain to us how we do so.” 84 likes
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