Reviewed by Dick Lovell
The very title of this piercing. potentially life-changing book suggests how difficult it may be for white readers to begin, let alone embrace, White Fragility.
But read it you should, perhaps though with a bit of warm up. Here are two suggested ways to ready yourself for White Fragility:
(1) First read Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson (also new in the Covenant library!). Hearing the black perspective of Dyson then the white perspective of DiAngelo worked well for a book study group I joined. Or....
(2) First see and hear Robin DiAngelo by sampling from several online videos of her you’ll find via a Google search. The competence and caring she exudes will help you stick with her at the most challenging points in White Fragility.
DiAngelo says that for race relations to improve and disparities to disappear, an essential first step is for those of us with light skin to sincerely recognize that we are “white” rather than “normal.” She explains: “Whiteness rests upon a foundational premise: the definition of whites as the norm or standard for human, and people of color as a deviation from that norm. Whiteness is not acknowledged by white people, and the white reference point is assumed to be universal and is imposed on everyone. White people find it very difficult to think about whiteness as a specific state of being that could have an impact on one’s life and perceptions.”
Very difficult, but not impossible, thanks to DiAngelo’s incisive, eye-opening writing.
White Fragility may be found in the World Issues section of Covenant’s library.