I finished reading White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo, about a week ago. While I found a few small sections where the information sent my mind down stream without a paddle, for the most part the book held my attention and resonated in ways I found wonderfully uncomfortable. Robin made several points that were exact thoughts having ran through my head on more than one occasion. There is something about a writer confirming our thoughts, good and bad, right and wrong, that connect a reader with an author, drawing us in for more.
I would never have said I was racist. In fact, I would have said things like:
I am not a racist.
I don’t see color, I see people.
I have friends who are: black, Korean, Chinese, etc.
I believe all people are created equal.
The more we talk about color the more we are aware of color being different.
Every one of these statements would have been said with the best of intentions. With the idea in mind, I am a good person and not capable of being a ‘bad racist person’. White Fragility brought new understanding to the statements above, how they are wrong and why. My eyes, my mind, my heart all being opened to the claims I held as truth and how they perpetuated racism and enabled my own fragility. While reading page after page, experiences when I myself had felt my spine extend, my defenses rise protecting my own integrity flooded my mind again, and again. I was awakened.
I closed the book having read the final page and thought, “I need to read this again. Everyone I know needs to read this book. This book needs to be required reading in our middle or high schools.” I’ll start with me. I will purchase this book (I returned the copy I had as it was a library book). While reading it, I shared a few highlights out loud with my husband and our 10-year-old son. I will read him more of it when we receive our copy. He needs to know.
We are white. We are privileged. We are not color blind. We are racist. Not the definition we have been raised to believe, racists are those bad people who intentionally do bad things to people of other races. Racist, a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others. We are because this is how we have been raised. This is what we have seen, watched on TV, in movies, what we have been taught in school, in books, so on and so forth.
I strongly recommend you go out and borrow or buy a copy today. It’s worth a read.