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Why I Don't Like 'White Fragility'

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

An issue I have with most of the new language that has been created around racial inequity is that it has all been created through the white 'lens'. This is true for most terms regarding race since it is a social construct created by white people, but White Fragility is especially frustrating.

The term may have been created by a "person of color" but Robin DiAngelo, a white woman, has made millions of dollars and created a dangerous and false sense of understanding among white women that they were aware of their role. This is infuriating for so many reasons...

The term and explanation of white fragility does nothing to address the harm that has been caused or provide preventative measures to ensure a more comfortable environment for the Black people that come into contact with someone who has read the book. Just knowing that you react poorly to being criticized is not something to congratulate yourself for, and you will not receive the appreciation you may expect from the Black community for knowing the phrase.

Instead I would focus more on the "fragility" of white women that has been imposed on our culture to control the dynamics of everyone beneath the dominant caste. The manufactured fragility of white women has created a dynamic in which white women are VOLATILE when being critiqued or corrected on harmful behavior and then infantilized and dismissed as a person who was having a hard time, going through a mental breakdown, is neuro-divergent, is 'from another time', or one of the many other reasons given for why white women should not ever be criticized for bad behavior and expected to think about others before acting out.

Providing terminology to explain the origins and tactics of oppressive behavior is wasting time and energy. It also gives the impression that this behavior is independent of the person, inevitable, and not their responsibility to resolve. "That' my white fragility/unconscious bias/implicit bias etc showing..."

The beginning, middle, and end of this book has only to do with the experience of white women and barely anything to do with the detrimental impact of the white fragility being demonstrated. I'm sure it acknowledges pain and suffering, but there is no way a white woman could write a book about the dynamics between white women and black people that accurately details the history, experience, and detriment caused by "micro"aggressions (another term I'm sure a white person created - who would name a racist act as micro-anything?)

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