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The Dehumanizing Condescension of White Fragility


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The popular book aims to combat racism but talks down to Black people.

John McWhorter

July 15, 2020

I must admit that I had not gotten around to actually reading Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility until recently. But it was time to jump in. DiAngelo is an education professor and—most prominently today—a diversity consultant who argues that whites in America must face the racist bias implanted in them by a racist society. Their resistance to acknowledging this, she maintains, constitutes a “white fragility” that they must overcome in order for meaningful progress on both interpersonal and societal racism to happen.

White Fragility was published in 2018 but jumped to the top of the New York Times best-seller list amid the protests following the death of George Floyd and the ensuing national reckoning about racism. *DiAngelo has convinced university administrators, corporate human-resources offices, and no small part of the reading public that white Americans must embark on a self-critical project of looking inward to examine and work against racist biases that many have barely known they had.

I am not convinced. Rather, I have learned that one of America’s favorite advice books of the moment is actually a racist tract. **Despite the sincere intentions of its author, the book diminishes Black people in the name of dignifying us. This is unintentional, of course, like the racism DiAngelo sees in all whites. Still, the book is pernicious because of the authority that its author has been granted over the way innocent readers think.

(Snip)

DiAngelo has spent a very long time conducting diversity seminars in which whites, exposed to her catechism, regularly tell her—many while crying, yelling, or storming toward the exit—that she’s insulting them and being reductionist. Yet none of this seems to have led her to look inward. Rather, she sees herself as the bearer of an exalted wisdom that these objectors fail to perceive, blinded by their inner racism. DiAngelo is less a coach than a proselytizer.

(Snip)

An especially weird passage is where DiAngelo breezily decries the American higher-education system, in which, she says, no one ever talks about racism. “I can get through graduate school without ever discussing racism,” she writes. “I can graduate from law school without ever discussing racism. I can get through a teacher-education program without ever discussing racism.” I am mystified that DiAngelo thinks this laughably antique depiction reflects any period after roughly 1985. For example, an education-school curriculum neglecting racism in our times would be about as common as a home unwired for electricity.

John McWhorter: The dictionary definition of racism has to change

DiAngelo’s depiction of white psychology shape-shifts according to what her dogma requires. On the one hand, she argues in Chapter 1 that white people do not see themselves in racial terms; therefore, they must be taught by experts like her of their whiteness. But for individuals who harbor so little sense of themselves as a group, the white people whom DiAngelo describes are oddly tribalist when it suits her narrative. “White solidarity,” she writes in Chapter 4, “requires both silence about anything that exposes the advantages of the white population and tacit agreement to remain racially united in the protection of white supremacy.” But if these people don’t even know whiteness is a category, just what are they now suddenly defending?

(Snip)

___________________________________________________________________

* The ignorant among us

** The road To Hell....

 

H/T Dennis Prager Show

 

quote-some-ideas-are-so-stupid-that-only

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