Robin DiAngelo: White Fragility (Lecture Review)

How white people defend their racist tendencies, and what to do about it

  1. We were taught to “treat everyone the same.” (We in fact can’t be taught, we are only told. We are taught in actions and other discourses that people have different values based on where they come from and what they look like)
  2. The statement, “I see everyone as equals. “ (This is problematic, because, again, you see differences whether you admit it to yourself or others or not.
  3. “Race has no meaning for me.” (Again, untrue and an erasure of marginalized people’s histories which makes their skin color have a lot of meaning to them.)
  4. “Everyone struggles, but if you work hard…” (This is just a sheltered white person who can’t get outside of their own perceptions and believes everyone had the same start to life they did.)
  5. “My parent’s were racist, so I learned that phrase from them.” (You still have control to change your actions as an individual)
  6. “My parent’s weren’t racist, so I can’t be.” (You can be. And they probably were too, because we live in a racist society.)
  7. “Racism is in the past.” (Again, you’re erasing people of color’s actual real life experiences, and placing your own opinion and lack of experience as fact.)
  8. “Regardless of race…” (There is no regardless of race. Racism is an ugly part of institutionalized society and with every critique on society, we must include that in our lens)
  9. “At the human level…” (Again, and erasure of the experience of people of color, and grouping them into the “white experience”).
  1. They “live/work/teach/in a diverse or lower income environment”. Or that they “tutored kids on a reservation for a summer, or teach in an urban school”
  2. They “used to live in New York City, Canada or were in the military.” (Because we all know that if you have contact with a person of color, you are now definitely not going to perpetuate a racist culture. NOT.)
  3. “I marched in the 60s.” (Okay, but how are you continuing to learn now?)
  4. “I already know all this.” (Just by making that statement, you are telling everyone that you actually don’t know much.)
  5. “I’ve been to Costa Rica/I had a class in college…” (Just, no.)
  6. “I don’t like our white neighborhood, but we had to move here for the schools.” (Okay, so it’s okay for other people’s kids to have a bad education? Because that’s what you’re saying. For your kids to have a “better” education, others must have a worse one.)



midwestern librarian, writer, activist

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