Talking About Race is Challenging for Some. Here’s Why.
Month 4 Challenge
Have you heard of the term “White Fragility?” For white people, “White Fragility” refers to their discomfort and avoidance of racially charged stress, which perpetuates racial inequity. Many people of color, multiracial, and Indigenous people are familiar with this concept, but may not be familiar with the term.
As we continue to explore the different types of privilege and levels of equity, it is important to think about “intersectionality”, introduced by Kimberle Crenshaw, and how it connects. Intersectionality is a lens for seeing how aspects of a person’s identities and various forms of inequality often operate together and exacerbate each other.
Dr. Robin DiAngelo describes white fragility as a state of being for white people in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves can include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors shut down conversations and prevents open and honest conversations about how structures are in place that provide everyday advantages to white people.
Please choose one or two of the below activities to engage with for 15 minutes this week, and if you have time, we encourage you to complete more.
Take a quick quiz from the publisher of “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism,” Robin DiAngelo, PhD, to see if you exhibit “White Fragility” traits. Want to dive in further? Read a short article by Dr. DiAngelo that unpacks how we continue to reproduce racist outcomes and live segregated lives.
Listen to The 21st show interview with Joseph E. Flynn Jr., author of White Fatigue: Rethinking Resistance for Social Justice, explains how white people can understand and confront racism.Select
Review this list of 28 common racist attitudes and behaviors that indicate a detour or wrong turn into white guilt, denial or defensiveness.Select
Listen to Scene On Radio’s podcast series Seeing White which aims to discuss racism by looking into the history of how the concept of ‘whiteness’ came to be.