White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo has come up a few times at work lately, so I decided to check it out to see what it's all about.
Diangelo is a white woman who is an academic and lecturer on topics of racial and social justice. She wrote White Fragility to show white people the defensive mechanisms they use to perpetuate racism. White people (particularly in North America) are born into a racist society but are not taught how to engage in discussions of race. So when they are challenged, they use certain defense mechanisms to effectively shut down the conversation and conserve the status quo. In her time as a lecturer and consultant (Diangelo has given many workshops on white racism), she has seen the same behaviours again and again. White Fragility serves to examine those behaviours, showing them to white people who may be completely unaware of them and their impacts, so everyone (white people and people of colour) can start having the difficult conversations that need to happen in order to create a more just society for all.
I admit, I was a little skeptical when I first took White Fragility out. But almost immediately I found it very interesting and informative. White Fragility does specifically deal with people in America, so while her points are still pertinent to us here in Canada, I personally would have been more interested in seeing more illustrations of how things function here too (and not just specifically looking at the United States). I was also a bit annoyed that through most of the book, Diangelo used examples from the workshops she has run because I would have liked to read a little more about her own personal struggles with addressing racism, too. So I was happy to see that she turned more to herself in the final chapter.
All in all though, I think that this is a very important book that white people (particularly those living in North America) should read and consider (although it is by no means perfect, as I think this review on Goodreads by Pococurante does a good job pointing out).
*As of September 24/15, I am not taking any more requests from authors to read their books. I currently have too many books to read. I'll update this if/when that changes.*
I currently have 164 fiction books just sitting in my room to read (although that doesn't stop me from randomly picking books up at work or buying them on Kindle!). I've been keeping track of them on a paper list for years. This blog shares what I read as I attempt to get "the List" down to a more manageable number.
If you'd like to know what books are on the List, check out my Goodreads shelf devoted to them - it's my physical list digitized! I've also got a shelf for every book I've reviewed here on this blog.
Not everything I review here is actually on the List. Some books come from the library, some books are nonfiction (which are not included on the List), some books are on my Kindle (which have never been included on the List), and some books are given to me by friends and family.
Note: as of April 12/14, I am not going to add the *spoiler* warning I used to when I'm giving away details of books. I want to talk about the books I've read in whatever detail I'd like. So if you haven't read a book I'm reviewing, you might not want to read the review.