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“White Fragility 101”

On this week’s pod, Ana (@anamariecox) sat down with Robin DiAngelo, author of the book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. To kick things off, Robin explained what white fragility is, and the impact that it has on all white people and white progressives in particular: “It captures something that is recognizable. One of the things that can trigger white fragility is generalizing about white people. And yet, I think there’s a reason the term caught on. It is meant to capture the defensiveness that is so predictable whenever white people’s worldviews, identities, racial positions or advantages are questioned.”

Ana and Robin then talked about the need for people who recognize that racism is wrong not to get complacent or arrogant, but rather be actively anti-racist, and continue educating themselves: “I don’t call myself an ally. I don’t call myself an anti-racist white. I say I’m involved in anti-racist work.”

They then switched gears, and explored why white women often fail to be allies for people of color before probing the ways de facto segregation and tokenizing minorities are so deeply problematic. Robin took aim at the way we tell the story of Jackie Robinson and other model minorities: “The subtext is, the rest of them are not. And, finally one was good enough to compete at our level, and also it suggests that racism ended whenever those barriers were crossed. I think we can see neither in sports or in politics has racism ended.”

Ana and Robin also put forth a series of suggestions for what well-meaning white people should do when they put their foot in their mouths and say something racist.

You can find Robin’s book here.

Robin referenced an article she wrote, which you can find here.

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