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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

4.3  ·  Rating details ·  120 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Groundbreaking book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when discussing racism that serve to protect their positions and maintain racial inequality

Antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo first coined the term "white fragility" in 2011, and since then it's been invoked by critics from Samantha Bee to Charles Blow. "White fragility" refers to the defensive
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Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 26th 2018 by Beacon Press
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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.
Andre
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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. Si
...more
Misha
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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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Scott Freeman
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
This should be mandatory reading for all white people. Truly important.
Bob
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology
Summary: Explains white fragility, its sources, expressions, the challenge it poses to conversations about race, and a different way to engage.

You've been there. A conversation about race begins and quickly, tension settles in the room. You don't need a person of color to be present. The defensiveness is palpable and takes a variety of forms. For some the best defense is a good offense. In a conversation about the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement, someone pushes back and shifts th
...more
Bonnie
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cbr-10
This is an urgent and necessary read if you are a white person, and particularly more so if you are an ally to marginalized communities. Robin DiAngelo writes an intricate and incisive analysis of racism as a systematic structure of oppression that is built to favor white individuals and to suppress people of color. She talks particularly about the phenomenon of white fragility and what happens when white equilibrium is disturbed. DiAngelo is frank and unflinching, and this book made me uncomfor ...more
Heather
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: white people
White friends? This book is a good book for us. As Erika notes in her review, it's a little weird getting advice on race from a white person, and this is not the kind of book you can read separately or instead of anti-racist literature written by activists of color. Nonetheless, I found it both interesting and instructive to see how one white diversity educator confronts racism in her own life and behavior, especially because there is no situation where she is not the oppressor. (This was also a ...more
Laura
Racism is a system where the burdens and benefits of life are distributed, in part, based on race. Racism is currently perpetuating itself, in part, through a common delusion that it is, instead, just a personal moral failing of certain people. When there is a suggestion that we are benefiting from or participating in this system of racism, many (most?) white people respond with outrage because that suggestion is tantamount to an accusation of wickedness. Since most of us are the heroes of our o ...more
Molly
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think I could have easily read this book in record time, but I intentionally slowed my process several times so that I could fully take in everything presented. It's a rather slim book yet tightly edited to waste no time getting its point across:

this country is racist.

And it's not just the hateful people, not just the ones who openly despise other races and nationalities, not just the white supremacy groups. Sadly, it's the culture itself and, therefore, all of us. Even the good folks who woul
...more
Holly
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book hungrily but haltingly because it was both nourishing and painful to read. According to Diangelo, discomfort is key to our growth and awareness, so I proceeded and tried to stay with the discomfort. I had to read and reread passages to absorb the magnitude of what she claimed. It is not a matter of if but when we perpetrate racism on people of color, and how will we respond? Her stories of white people reacting in anger and disbelief when they were told something they said was r ...more
Adam Shields
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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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Erikka
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
This is a tough one to review. I'm going to revert to a pros and cons list:

Pros:
Very insightful
Author has a lot of experience and knows what she's talking about
Lots of good advice
Made me see things in a different light
Made me question my own white fragility

Cons:
Way too long
Very dry
Could have been more approachable
Still not comfortable being told about race by a white person. I realize she's super qualified and that, honestly, it's the job of white people to check our own behavior and privilege,
...more
Bookworm
"I have a black friend!" "I don't see race." "Oh, these racists will die out eventually and things will get better." Sound familiar? These common refrains are often brought up in regards to discussing racism, particularly as defenses brought up by white people (although people of color may certainly use these excuses too!). Author DiAngelo takes the reader through an exploration of the concept of "white fragility", which is apparently a phrase she coined in 2011.

DiAngelo explains the concept of
...more
Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount)
I won my copy of this book free through a Goodreads giveaway.
My cats always seem entertained when I read a book like this because I tend to debate the book outloud as I read. If only I got in the habit of taking notes on paper about my criticisms! But, thankfully, this was not a book I was critiquing for a class. That said, I found this book less than convincing, and its brash, arrogant tone seems calculated for shock value rather than for actual convincing, persuasive argument.
DiAngelo does a
...more
Sherri
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having recently finished When They Call You a Terrorist about the black lives matter movement, White Fragility is a great follow-up. But even if you haven’t read the other, this is a necessary read for white people in the U.S.

Race relations are in a tough spot, especially with the current political climate. Many of us white people may have thought racism and discrimination were a thing of the past, but it is vital that we understand these things persist.

With a PhD in multicultural education, Rob
...more
Chris Hill
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A stunning work that should be read by anyone who considers themselves a critical thinker.
Christian
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am in absolute awe as to how succinct the analysis of white fragility is. Diangelo defines her terms, convincingly lays her groundwork in how many white people are socialized and systematically exposes the social and psychological defenses that are used in white fragility. I wish I could make every white person read this!
Leigh Ann
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must-read for everyone. The one-star reviewers didn't even leave their thoughts, which is precisely why DiAngelo asked for open-mindedness; these people obviously shut down and rejected what they read (if they read it at all!).

DiAngelo approaches the topic from an academic perspective and backs up all of her facts, lending credibility to her research and book. Not to mention it has made me evaluate myself and my own actions, as well as those of my friends and families, and has ma
...more
Theresa
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DiAngelo is a white women who is addressing the difficulties that white people typically have when dealing with the issue of race. She discusses fear, resentment, denial and many more emotions and behaviors that white people have when confronted with their part in maintaining racism, which she is clear to point out is a systemic issue, not an issue of people being prejudiced or discriminatory. Given the amount of overt and dog whistle racism we see, largely stimulated by the current Trump admini ...more
Christina
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received this book free from a Goodreads giveaway. This book is an important read. I had considered myself racially aware. I read to try to educate myself on race relations and can often identify racial issues in the media, for example. But after reading this book, I realize I still have work to do. Thank you for this enlightenment.
Kendra
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A really helpful read for white folks who are seeking to better understand how white people who consider themselves progressive and well-meaning can nonetheless fuck up when thinking and talking about race. The section "How White People Handle Diversity Training in the Workplace" is very true to my experience doing training that talks about race in predominantly white workplaces.
Megan
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Will Wake You Up

It's amazing how wrong one can be about their own sense of themselves. Racism isn't about being nice of mean - It's a constant daily deluge of unfair social interactions and a system of oppression we (white people) can't even acknowledge to ourselves.
Kidada
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Even though I know quite a bit about this topic (hence the rating), and the author, from her work on the amazing ‘Seeing White’ podcast, I still found this book to be quite informative! It is a great read for those looking for resources and guidance on dismantling white supremacy.
Chris Dilley
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredibly valuable book. Thank you to the author for the honest, vulnerable look at a one of the primary elements keeping racism in place. White folks, let’s unite in dealing with our fragility so our brothers and sisters of color can live the lives we all want for each other.
Dotty
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Brilliant. I only wish that all those who need to read and understand this book would actually read it. Not only is it hard for “white people to talk about racism” - it will be hard for them to read about it, and themselves.
LeeRay
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every white person should read this book and take its lessons to heart.
James Kanka
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I have some disagreements, I found it quite helpful to understanding this perspective and took away some personal actions. I like the distinction between racial biased actions and racism.
Chrystal
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant, enlightening book.
Lauren Tomlinson
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I wish the last chapter could have been half the book.
Heidi
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An essential read for white folks seeking to gain tools for examining our own white identity. A key tool in being a white anti-racist ally.
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine Editions 2 14 Jul 14, 2018 12:57AM  
Why One Star Ratings With No Comments? 3 18 Jul 08, 2018 06:16AM  
Justice and Spiri...: Additional Resources & Questions: White Fragility 1 5 Jul 02, 2018 07:39AM  
Justice and Spiri...: Introduction to White Fragility 1 5 Jul 02, 2018 07:36AM  

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“For most of our history, straight white men have been involved in a witness protection program that guards their identities and absolves them of their crimes while offering them a future free of past encumbrances and sins.” 0 likes
“Unfortunately, aversive racism only protects racism, because we can’t challenge our racial filters if we can’t consider the possibility that we have them. Of course, some whites explicitly avow racism. We might consider these whites actually more aware of, and honest about, their biases than those of us who consider ourselves open-minded yet who have rarely thought critically about the biases we inevitably hold or how we may be expressing them.” 0 likes
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