Book review: White fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism — by Robin DiAngelo

(Beacon Press)
Have you ever insisted, “I’m not racist?” If yes — and be honest — please read this book. Chances are, you are, in fact, racist — if entirely unwillingly. You’re still a good person! But if you want race relations in this country to improve, you are going to need to stop reflexively defending your deeply held biases and start trying to understand them. DiAngelo, a white educator, explains very clearly, in plain, non-threatening language, all the ideas standing in our way, many of which you’ve heard and dismissed as hyperbole or even nonsense — because you don’t want to be racist. Take “white supremacy”; to me this sounds applicable only to men in white hoods, but is, for the purpose of understanding race relations, “a descriptive and useful term,” which refers to, “an overarching … system of domination.” In other words, I may not be a White Supremacist, but I live in a white supremacy. It really does help to accept the existence of structural racism; from there we can begin to work as individuals to address our personal contributions, for good and bad. Undoing centuries of systems — of commerce, justice, education and belief — is going to take time and hard work, but at 150 pages and under $20, this powerful manual is an easy and inexpensive place for you and me both to start.
— Reviewed by Becky Dayton, of the Vermont Book Shop
Further Reading on Race
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
So You Want to Talk About Race by by Ijeoma Oluo
The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
White Rage by Carol Anderson
The Color of Water by James McBride
The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton
Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

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