White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo is a thought-provoking book aimed to get white people to look at racism as a cultural institution, acknowledge their own racism, and to learn to stop their own racist actions. She says that in our society founded on whiteness, we either knowingly or unwittingly try to maintain white dominance within the racial hierarchy. DiAngelo calls this process “white fragility.”
“. . .though white fragility is triggered by discomfort and anxiety, it is born of superiority and entitlement. White fragility is not weakness per se. In fact, it is a powerful means of white racial control and the protection of white advantage.”
DiAngelo admits that most people feel that white supremacy is a term used to describe radical, hate groups. Even so, she informs us:
“To sociologists and those involved in current racial justice movements, white supremacy is a descriptive and useful term to capture the all-encompassing centrality and assumed superiority of people defined and perceived as white and the practices based on this assumption. … it is the deeper premise that supports this idea—the definition of whites as the norm or standard for humans, and people of color as a deviation from that norm.”
My opinion is that these people “in the know” should come up with a different phrase than white supremacy to describe the racism they are explaining. Why not call it White Idealism or something else? If you are trying to convince a group of white people to think about racism, calling them White Supremacists is an immediate turn-off. It instantly invokes what the author calls “white fragility” and stops people from wanting to learn more. The expert’s use of such a highly charged term is counter-productive.
I did not agree with all of the author’s points, including calling out the movie The Blindside as racist. I did find many points of her points to be thought-provoking and cause for self-reflection. 4-Stars.