White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

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Penguin Books Limited, Feb 7, 2019 - Social Science - 192 pages

The International Bestseller

'With clarity and compassion, DiAngelo allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to "bad people." In doing so, she moves our national discussions forward. This is a necessary book for all people invested in societal change' Claudia Rankine


Anger. Fear. Guilt. Denial. Silence. These are the ways in which ordinary white people react when it is pointed out to them that they have done or said something that has - unintentionally - caused racial offence or hurt. After, all, a racist is the worst thing a person can be, right? But these reactions only serve to silence people of colour, who cannot give honest feedback to 'liberal' white people lest they provoke a dangerous emotional reaction.

Robin DiAngelo coined the term 'White Fragility' in 2011 to describe this process and is here to show us how it serves to uphold the system of white supremacy. Using knowledge and insight gained over decades of running racial awareness workshops and working on this idea as a Professor of Whiteness Studies, she shows us how we can start having more honest conversations, listen to each other better and react to feedback with grace and humility. It is not enough to simply hold abstract progressive views and condemn the obvious racists on social media - change starts with us all at a practical, granular level, and it is time for all white people to take responsibility for relinquishing their own racial supremacy.

'By turns mordant and then inspirational, an argument that powerful forces and tragic histories stack the deck fully against racial justice alongside one that we need only to be clearer, try harder, and do better' David Roediger, Los Angeles Review of Books

'The value in White Fragility lies in its methodical, irrefutable exposure of racism in thought and action, and its call for humility and vigilance' Katy Waldman, New Yorker

'A vital, necessary, and beautiful book' Michael Eric Dyson

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User Review  - kapheine - LibraryThing

My brother recommended this book to me. It was incredibly useful to me, and exposed to me to a lot of new ideas. But there is one part of it that I specifically want to call out. A few pages into the ... Read full review

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User Review  - evenlake - LibraryThing

I started this book prepared to argue with the author's premise. She dispensed with my arguments in the first 20 pages. It's a book that I will be thinking about for a long time, and will have me re-examining everything I thought I knew, about society and about myself. Read full review

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About the author (2019)

Robin DiAngelo is an academic, lecturer, and author working in the fields of critical discourse analysis and whiteness studies. She is a lecturer at the University of Washington and formerly served as a tenured professor of multicultural education at Westfield State University. DiAngelo has been a consultant and trainer for more than twenty years on issues of racial and social justice.

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