White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
by Robin DiAngelo
Paperback- $12.53

The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are ...

Overall rating:


How would you rate this book?

Member ratings

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 09/11/19

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 09/19/19

The idea behind this book is great, but it’s geared towards baby boomers and she’s extremely preachy, and has a tendency to steal other people’s ideas/ideas that are pillars of critical theory without giving them ANY credit.....read her recommendations for continued education, not this book.

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 09/19/19

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 10/17/19

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 10/26/19

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 10/29/19

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 11/05/19

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 01/07/20

  "" by KRoby (see profile) 04/28/20

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 06/06/20

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 06/11/20

  "" by SadieLady (see profile) 06/15/20

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 07/27/20

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 07/28/20

  "" by tlctlcx2 (see profile) 02/19/21

  "Because one will be accused of being racist, fear may prevent honest reviews." by thewanderingjew (see profile) 05/13/21

White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo, author; Amy Landon, narrator
When I finished the book, I had an unusual reaction. Instead of wanting to write my review immediately, while the book was fresh in my mind, I hesitated. How does one write a review of a book, when the author has pronounced that any statement that doesn’t agree with her own narrative, simply proves the person making the statement is a racist?
Actually, this author has condemned all White people as racists, with no hope for redemption. We must simply spend our whole lives working toward making amends for our whiteness, which has given us so much undeserved privilege. Our only hope for salvation is to try to be less white, to admit we are racist, even if we don’t think we are, because she has decided that we were all socialized as racists by virtue of our “White Fragility”, by virtue of our skin color and our history!
The idea is to make those of color more powerful by making those who are White, less powerful. I believe the intent should be to make all people equally powerful, but the author and some of her colleagues, believe that White people must suffer for the crimes of those who may or may not have been their ancestors and from their whiteness which provided them with their White Supremacy. Having been socialized as racists, even against our will, we are doomed to carry the shame and guilt of racism until death do us part and must struggle daily not to offend people of color, however, unintentionally.
Anyone White who protests and suggests that they, too, have experienced racism, is by virtue of that statement a racist. Her definition of racism is a one-way street. I think that DiAngelo has to meet a few survivors of the Holocaust and their progeny, to understand history a bit more broadly so she will see her own errors of judgment. Because our White Fragility has discomfited others, we must make amends for whatever sins people of color believe we have committed. The reasoning seems a bit irrational. Like an ill-informed parent, that insists on putting a child’s hand on the stove to learn it will hurt, to teach him a lesson, Whites are being asked to experience a kind of reverse racism, to understand their racism. This intent, of course is denied as is the possibility of the suggestion of reverse racism.
According to DiAngelo, the racism of Whites is irreversible. According to her, all Whites are responsible for their White Fragility because they have subjugated all people of color. The idea that this was largely a country of only educated White people capable of running a country is entirely dismissed. This country was built on a culture that included Judeo-Christian values, as most countries in the Western World were, as well. To expect the approximately 13% of the black population to have influenced the country in greater proportions seems incongruous as does the idea that every White person must feel guilt because they have not succeeded and blame our White Fragility for all that ails the many communities of color, completely ignoring the advances that 13% have achieved and often represent far more than their 13% in some fields of endeavor. Today, we are witnessing an over correction of this problem so that Whites may actually be forced out of certain fields to make room for those who feel neglected, regardless of qualifications, while they are not being forced out of the fields that they dominate to make room for Whites.
The author insists there are no quotas favoring the people of color, that minorities do not have that advantage, which means we cannot achieve equity even when we attempt to provide equality. Contradicting her is akin to being, guess what, a racist. So, with the circular reasoning she has put forth, she pronounces the fact that Whites cause fear in the hearts of Blacks. She honestly believes that Whites are abusing people of color and even murdering them 24/7. She states that in her book. The idea, on its face, seems a bit ludicrous since it is factually proven that people of color are murdering far more of their own numbers in many Democrat dominant cities.
She blames Trump for the heightened atmosphere of racism, although it has been statistically shown with polls and analysis, that it was most likely Obama that divided the country with his emphasis, and the black caucuses emphasis, on identity politics, after he was elected. That emphasis negated so much of our hope for unity and created a new schism between the races creating “safe spaces” for some, re-segregating dormitories, adopting separate venues for graduation and other divisive measures which served only to turn back the clock and prevent integration from advancing. She , using her own biases, falsely quotes Trump to prove her inaccurate statements. She never mentions the rude, racist statements made by Joe Biden or anyone else, for that matter, who supports views that do not coincide with her own. Her statements are not proven scientific facts, but she adheres to them as if they are and expects all of us to do the same.
She reinforces her theories by citing the fact that we never say White Americans, as we say Asian Americans, Black Americans, and/or Native Americans, etc.. She fails to mention that those groups have self-identified with those terms. She believes Whites are free to move in any space, as she is. Her education is a little lacking because she is unaware of the fact that I, as a Jew, cannot move freely about wherever I please. In addition, in this community of color, anti-Semitism may very well be on the rise. In this modern world, there are still quotas against Jews in many areas of life, particularly higher education. In addition, I am barred from clubs, certain schools and many neighborhoods. Blacks do not own oppression, no matter what she Coates or Kendi might say.
When every act of kindness toward a person of color is considered racist, what sense does it make for anyone to even want to attempt to bridge the gap between us. In addition, some of the reactions of people, like crossing the street when people of color approach, is not racism, but fear based on the history of crime from those people of color who look and act in a threatening manner. The news is filled with innocent people, Asians and Jews, being attacked by groups of black people, just for sport, in some cases. This fear that she describes as racist, because our White Fragility has inculcated this belief in us that people of color are dangerous, is simply more often, reality. However, my stating this is sure to trigger screams of racist in my direction. Truth is not tolerated because it might cause one to doubt much of the ideas presented in this and other books on the subject. The virtue signaling authors and public are merely attempting to make up for the historic subjugation of one group, by substituting and subjugating another.
When the author notes a woman of color’s joy because a make-up line was created for her, I wondered why there was such surprise and angst. If it took so long for a White person to develop the line, why hadn’t a woman of color developed it long before? Why was the delay the fault of White people? Why did Oprah invest in Africans and not in American people of color? Apparently, life here is better than life there.
DiAngelo says we can’t seek comfort from people of color because it triggers their painful memories. It reinforces our superiority and forces them to collude with us and our White Fragility. So, then, how can we ever be friends? She insists that our institutions were designed to be racist. She insists when we are nice to people of color it is to assuage our guilt and does not take courage. We must bravely confront our own racism because there is no other way. We must listen to the concerns of people of color and give them credence, but our concerns are trifling, illegitimate and not of any interest to her.
She makes many false assumptions and backs them up without facts. She uses some language that is condescending and pompous. The narrator’s tone is obsequious. So, as a reviewer, I am between a rock and a hard place. If I agree with the author, I am a racist. If I disagree with the author. I am also a racist. The entire burden Is on me to curb my White Fragility. Her advice to breathe, listen and reflect, sounds like someone preparing for meditation at a spa. She ignores the fact that society has given the community of color tools with which to achieve parity with the White community, but because they have failed, they are denied. To DiAngelo, no behavior of a person of color is responsible for any white person’s reaction to them because, by definition, any reaction would be racist.
I have searched out books to try and enlighten myself about the problems of society. Books like this are part of the problem, for me. They offer no solutions and do not address the reality on our streets. They simply offer blame, blame that I believe is not wholly undeserved. DiAngelo’s solution to the problem appears to be this: “White people must attempt to be less White. If White comfort maintains the racial status quo, the solution is to make White people uncomfortable”. Are we to be punished because we are White? Instead of expecting all of us to rise to a better standard of behavior, White behavior is described as oppressive and controlling. The author tells the story of a black man who called himself stupid. A black facilitator said whites made him feel that way. When a woman tried to explain, her explanation was considered racist. She was trying to explain it for the man of color as if he couldn’t explain it himself. It was not viewed as a kind gesture. When she cried, her tears were considered a weapon to grab the attention. White women who cry are manipulating people of color by stealing the spotlight. White women use this tactic all the time, the misogynist author declares. Well, I do not want to dumb down America to satisfy the need for equality. If that makes me a racist, so be it.
If White redemption can only be gained through suffering, but they can still never be totally anti-racist, what is the purpose of trying to change. The reasoning is circular. The narrative is filled with platitudes. We are not supposed to view the world through a lens of color, but if we say we are colorblind, we are racist because that is impossible to the author since we have been socialized as racists and they are a different color. She does not want black people to feel unseen, and she does not want White people to be relevant.
To be sure, there is not another species on the planet that would willingly allow another group to usurp its position of power, and then justify it by blaming the other group for having its power. I think we are in danger of creating a universal funny farm or Twilight Zone. If that makes me a racist, so be it. The idea is in the eye of the beholder, and I will try not to be looked upon as condescending to any person of color, or anyone else for that matter, although this author has made a practice of condescension.

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 05/20/21

Remember me

Now serving over 80,000 book clubs & ready to welcome yours. Join us and get the Top Book Club Picks of 2022 (so far).



Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...