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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

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  20,823 ratings  ·  3,441 reviews
The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

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
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Published 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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Lois
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 25% in where she points out that she isn't a fan of black history month or black firsts. Sigh, sigh, sigh. Her opinion on what black folks create for themselves is irrelevant, racially insensitive and out of pocket. I agree with her that black firsts should be presented as
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Aaron Akbar
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jenna
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Thomas
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 books 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
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☾ h a d e e r ☽
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 ...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.
Trish
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 dont 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 cant escape it. We have to acknowledge it.

That is basically
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Eric
Dec 05, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is absolute genius!

Let's start with a book (is it a book, really? Content and page count it's more a pamphlet) with a subtitle that dismisses any logical argument or counterpoint to the content of the pamphlet as being 'afraid to talk about' the subject. Let's then publish the pamphlet at a time when we're surrounded by white people who can't shut up about racism and are fighting tooth and nail over who can appear to be the most enlightened 'woke' white people. We'll finish the pamphlet by
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Jessaka
May 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: taoism
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 wasnt 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 riot in 1920 when ...more
Scott Freeman
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This should be mandatory reading for all white people. Truly important.
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.

Highlights:

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

"If you believe that you are being
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Andre
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Robin DiAngelo comes hard in this one and takes no prisoners. There are going to be many hurt feelings for those willing and courageous enough to delve into this examination of White Fragility.

This book is unapologetically rooted in identity politics. I am white and am addressing a common white dynamic. I am mainly writing to a white audience; when I use the terms us and we, I am referring to the white collective.

White Fragility is conceptualized as responses to conversations around race.
...more
Caroline
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All NON-black people, especially all whites
To be completely clear: This book is against racism. Readers who are against racism will support and applaud White Fragility. Readers who are against the book are displaying the very white fragility the author examines and explains so clearly an ant can understand it. A careful reread is therefore in order.

We cannot change what we wont confront.

Racism is one of those ugly isms, but it stands out as the only one we dont scrutinize to the same degree. In White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo explains
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Rebecca
Dec 11, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Courtney
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 whites to focus on the method of information delivery over the actual information being delivered, and to prioritize their comfort over the ...more
Becky
I am a white woman.
Those of you who follow my reviews this year are likely aware that my interests have run to a lot of social justice work, and as such I have read a lot of books about or strongly featuring race issues this year. Most of that is non-fiction, written by brilliant writers who see things from a perspective that I just... don't have. I have not lived their experiences, or anything even remotely close to them... but I can read their words about them and learn from them.

I was able
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Anthony
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A bracing, cogent, urgent, necessary interrogation of what it means to be white in America and therefore throughly inculcated in an inherently racist society. The central, revolutionary idea in this book is the argument that racism isnt only perpetrated consciously and directly by ill-meaning, cruel white supremacists. It is something all of us are steeped in, and our challenge is therefore to interrupt it whenever possible; but doing so is only ever possible when we are willing to stop and ...more
Justin
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I dont really have a long, rambling review for this book. In short, White Fragility was extremely helpful for me. Im a white guy dangerously approaching his mid-thirties while trying to desperately cling to his youth. I grew up and spent most of my life in the good ol south. Im probably going through some sort of existential crisis based on the books Im reading this year and the thoughts that keep dancing around inside my brain.

Anyway, the statistics and insights presented here were very
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Kathleen
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Apparently, I am a white snowflakea white woman that cringes at any talk of the racial advantages I enjoy in my white-dominated world. DiAngelo has more than twenty years of conducting diversity training for American companies and has witnessed a number of recurring reactions from the participantsthe main one being defensiveness. Or anger at federal programs like Affirmative Action. (Interesting fact--they primarily benefitted white women and not persons-of-color.) Are politicians, the courts, ...more
Misha
This is a powerful, essential book that encapsulates much of what DiAngelo has been cogently laying out in other articles and speeches. I appreciated having the thinking I have heard her articulate at events I have attended in one place. I am honored to host DiAngelo at my library for the release of this book.

Some incomplete notes from the end of the book (I should have been marking passages all along, but know I will read this again).

"White equilibrium is a cocoon of racial comfort, centrality,
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Amy | Foxy Blogs
2nd re-read on 10/28/2019

White Fragility is a book written by a white woman talking to white people about racism.

She covers many different things surrounding racism and how race is handled.

The book gives a lot of food for thought and challenges white people especially white middle-aged women on how they react to certain situations. Such as when white women cry over social injustice and how upsetting that can be to a person of color. Since in the past white women's tears meant a black man was
...more
CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
This short, focused book was a really fantastic learning experience for me! I appreciated how Diangelo integrated academic concepts while still keeping the book very accessible for non-academics.

I recognized a lot of my own reactions and those of other whites in discussions of race and racism in what Diangelo names "white fragility." Particularly salient pieces for me where her discussion of confusing safety with discomfort; the influence of the ideologies of colour blindness, individualism,
...more
Adam Shields
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short Review: I have been reading widely about racial issues and history over the past several years. There are so many essential books about racial history or memoirs of minorities. The path to learning about the impact of racism is long, but fairly clear. It is hard not to find a good book about different aspects of slavery, jim crow, immigration bias, discrimination in the economy or education or the justice system, etc.

What I have found less of and I think is important are the books directly
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Faith
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, overdrive
Colorblind ideology makes it difficult for us to to address these unconscious beliefs. While the idea of color blindness may have started out as the well intentioned strategy for interrupting racism, in practice it has served to deny the reality of racism and thus hold it in place. .... We cant change what we refuse to see.

I dont see color, I see people. If that seems like a reasonable statement to you, then this book might make you uncomfortable. It challenges rationalizations, defenses and
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Donald Powell
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthropology, other
Compelling and transformative. This book is short but very meaty. The argument is irrefutable. The message is challenging, strident, internally consistent and intellectually honest. This is an organized and concise presentation of racism that anyone can read, track and understand. It is a book everyone should read, especially old white men, like me. I do not know if the author realizes it but many of the concepts, such as self inspection, making amends by admitting wrongs without explaining ...more
Nate
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Due to the nature of this book, anything less than 5-stars from a white reader should probably be explained. Definitely worth reading and gave me a lot to think about. White fragility and knee-jerk defensiveness is definitely present in me and something to work on (for the rest of my life). The education continues.

My only knock is the book felt a little long, but seemed short in the area I most wanted guidance: application and best ways to respond that go beyond perpetuating white fragility.
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lark benobi
May 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2019, she-2019
This brisk brief book moves right along. Its main thesis is: "hey, white person who is reading this book, you may think you know a thing or two about racism, but in fact you are very stupid about it, and also, you are a racist yourself." DiAngelo proves her thesis to me over and over again, always with a sweetness of tone that reminded me of a patient grandma. It's a tone that allowed me to read on without feeling defensive, and without wanting to stop reading to debate her.

Sometimes the book
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Mehrsa
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is excellent. I read waking up white and really liked that one and the books have similar content, but this one is much more instructive about how to handle white fragility. I wish for every person--white and non-white to read this book
Cinda Craig
I found this book very disappointing. Any positive contribution to a conversation on black/white relations in America that she might have given are drowned out by comments such as these: Our simplistic definition of racism as intentional acts of discrimination committed by immoral individuals engenders a confidence that we are not part of the problem. The claims we offer up as evidence are implausible. (The dictionary offers this definition of racism: a belief or doctrine that inherent ...more
mindful.librarian ☀️
I know that because I was socialized as white in a racism-based society, I have a racist worldview, deep racial bias, racist patterns, and investments in the racist system that has elevated me. ~ Robin Diangelo in White Fragility: Why Its So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

REVIEW ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON MY INSTAGRAM - @kate.olson.reads - all @ are Instagram
.
ALL THE STARS. I could write pages about this book, but wont. I still have too much to think about. I was spurred to pick this up
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As we wrap up our 2018 Reading Challenge, we decided to ask our Goodreads coworkers a simple yet tough question: What were the ...
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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.” 42 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.” 25 likes
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