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  • Mandy McHugh

White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo: A Review

4.5 stars

This book kept popping up in my recommendation section on Kindle, and I'm so glad it did. From the beginning, DiAngelo posits that the subject matter would probably make white people who read it uncomfortable for a variety of reasons: discussing race is a taboo subject, people don't like to admit flaws, the assigned and assumed context surrounding racial terminology. The key here is that it's important to acknowledge this discomfort and move into a place of recognition and change. Racism is frequently simplified as a single action, but what DiAngelo stresses is that racism is a systemic, institutionalized, fluid and ever-changing definition, and this is one of the many reasons we find it so hard to have these discussions. There are several insightful and multifaceted points I took from this text, too many to cover in this brief review, but some noteworthy observations include: the practice of socialization in American culture--in every aspect of American culture, not just social media, I might add--individualism, the inability to differentiate a "good person" from racist tendencies, prejudices, and beliefs, definitions of racism and white supremacy, and how discrimination is not the same thing as racism. DiAngelo lays out counter arguments, common responses when people are met with questions of racism or racist remarks, and fundamentally breaks them down, discussing and analyzing the reasons why they are inaccurate, insufficient, or dismissive, even with the best of intentions. Overall, this is an important, insightful book, taking a critical lens to the beast that is racism. It is highly worth the read.


 

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