Monday, November 9, 2020

WHITE FRAGILITY - a book review by Mark D. Walker

Find this book on amazon HERE

So, this New York Times bestselling book, White Fragility, attracted me because the author is a recognized trainer and educator on racial and social justice issues. She deals head-on with white people who ignore race and are dealing with emotions like anger, fear and guilt, which often lead to argumentation and silence. More importantly, the author not only explains the phenomenon, but also explains how it protects racial inequality and what we, as a society, can do to engage more constructively.

DiAngelo starts with, “White people in North America live in a society that is deeply separate and unequal by race, and white people are the beneficiaries of that separation and inequality.” What she calls “white fragility” is born of a feeling of superiority and entitlement. “Discrimination is action based on prejudice. These actions include ignoring, exclusion, threats, ridicule, slander and violence…” “When a racial group’s collective prejudice is backed by the power of legal authority and institutional control, it is transformed into racism…” 

The author points out that, “Life in the United States is deeply shaped by racial segregation. Of all racial groups, whites are the most likely to choose segregation and are the group most likely to be in the social and economic position to do so. Growing up in segregation (our schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, shopping districts, places of worship, entertainment, social gatherings, and elsewhere) reinforces the message that our experiences and perspectives are the only ones that matter.” 

The author provides some “color blind statements,” which indicate that people do not see race: 

I was taught to treat everyone the same way
I don’t see color
Everyone struggles, but if they work hard…
I’m not racist; I’m from Canada 

Most importantly, the author provides some clear instructions on how to personally become an antiracist. “We can follow the leadership on antiracism from people of color, and work to build authentic cross-racial relationships. We can get involved in organizations working for racial justice. And most importantly, we must break the silence about race and racism with other white people.” Well, I have my marching orders! 

The book has been a New York Times best seller, and here is a thoughtful critique from The New Yorker: “The value in White Fragility lies in its methodical, irrefutable exposure of racism in thought and action, and its call for humility and vigilance.”

You can find the entire book reviews on my website under the “Library” tab. Please let me know what you think— about this newsletter, my reviews and most importantly, what you’re reading so I can ponder all of it and share some of your comments in my next column. You can email me at: or through my websites: Million Mile Guatemala Facebook

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