Understanding #WhiteFragility with Dr. Robin DiAngelo





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Streamed live on May 26, 2016

Understanding White Fragility with Dr. Robin DiAngelo

White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress, leading to what is referred by Dr. Robin DiAngelo as White Fragility.

White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves 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, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.

About Dr. Robin DiAngelo

Academic: Dr. Robin DiAngelo received her PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2004. Dr. James Banks was her dissertation Chair.  Dr. Robin DiAngelo earned tenure at Westfield State University in 2014. Dr. Robin DiAngelo has taught courses in Multicultural Teaching, Inter-group Dialogue Facilitation, Cultural Diversity & Social Justice, and Anti-Racist Education. Her area of research is in Whiteness Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis, explicating how Whiteness is reproduced in everyday narratives.  Dr. Robin DiAngelo is a two-time winner of the Student’s Choice Award for Educator of the Year. She resigned her position at Westfield State and is currently serving as Lecturer at the University of Washington.

Professional:  Dr. Robin DiAngelo is the Director of Equity for Sound Generations, Seattle/King County. She has been a consultant and trainer for over 20 years on issues of racial and social justice. Dr. Robin DiAngelo was appointed to co-design, develop and deliver the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative Anti-Racism training with Darlene Flynn.

Dr. DiAngelo says, “I grew up poor and white.  While my class oppression has been relatively visible to me, my race privilege has not.  In my efforts to uncover how race has shaped my life, I have gained deeper insight by placing race in the center of my analysis and asking how each of the other group locations have socialized me to collude with racism. In so doing, I have been able to address in greater depth my multiple locations and how they function together to hold racism in place. I now make the distinction that I grew up poor and white, for my experience of poverty would have been different had I not been white”.

White Fragility (PDF): http://goo.gl/0jGXQE

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Comments • 263

Astrid H.
Astrid H.10 months agoHighlighted comment
VERY GOOD conversation. I hope this stays up to pass along.
Philippe SHOCK Matthews
Thank you so much Astrid!
derwen talia
Pinned by Philippe SHOCK Matthews
how telling are the comments below by so many who are responding EXACTLY the way in which diangelo describes white fragility? keep up the good work. the comments section here is a gold mine of responses that totally justify your thesis haha
View all 15 replies
Nadia Jules Roby
Actually, did you know that I, a black woman (but definitely not a feminist as I always defer to a wise man's intellect and submit to his knowledge especially if I don't KNOW what he knows. I am always learning), defended Milo against some of my libtard FB friends, including such black women as you speak of? (I am neither liberal nor conservative. I AM Green) I NEVER EVER victim blame under any circumstances EVER and as he has done no crime and has not been found to have done any kind of that thing, he is an innocent victim in my eyes even if he did act on his own lust or desire as a child. He was a child. It was the adult's responsibility to say no and put an end to it, it is not Milo's fault that no one was protecting him from an experience such as that even with the knowledge that he wanted the experience. We are not all the same. It is so important to remember that we have Beautiful people, Good people, Bad people, and Ugly people and that translates into all of us regardless of race, color, creed, culture, religion or ideology. Some people are just jerks! I love you all and God bless.
bugs maru
+James Gray ok guy that is stalking me on youtube.
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Total nonsense. White people are perfectly happy to discuss real racial issues. They do not want to have phony racial complaints forced down their throats by the likes of DiAngelo.
View all 74 replies
Sapphire Desir
citizenintime I would have to disagree with you. Are you assuming that white privilege does not exist, if so how are you defining equality?
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King Mener
Listening to her story on poverty I remembered what Lyndon J said...if you can convince the lowest white person that he is better than the best blak man ...he will not knw that u are picking his pocket .......
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oh so he is "articulate"?  That is a micro-aggression!!!
Philippe SHOCK Matthews
+lisacobr Very well articulated! Thank you for sharing your wisdom!
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Golden Voice
Institutional racism isn't a phony racial complaint.
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Whiteness is a cult created by a group of very insecure people.
Sure let you tell it,if it is nonsense,prove it.
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Two loony leftists discuss imaginary concepts like "systemic racism", "white fragility". The only thing missing: unicorns. Also, discussing "insulation" is ironing since this white SJW moron hasn't been near black ghetto thugs in her entire life, hence her crackpot theories detached from reality.
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Tee Bee
+Sub Dolphin what you don't understand is the Bible itself, because if you knew the Bible in-depth and did not ignore many harsh details that are predicted for some groups (other nations)written about in the Bible , would know that it reads in Scripture that there is a "time for hate and there's a time for love", Some of you people think that the Bible is all love and holding hands and singing Kumbaya to each other in the name of love and peace. That ONLY pertains to the Israelites. Everybody else he wants you to drop dead ,he doesn't care about other nations , as he said so many times in the Bible which people always ignore. hence the scripture about likening them to "spiddle" better known as a drop of spit. Since the beginning of mankind there has been a Perpetual hatred for my people from those edomites and it still exists today as we see on television. It will never change as it is written in the Bible, therefore: I do not love people who throughout history has hated my people, I do not love people who have committed crimes against my people and never paid for it, in the eyes of God on his terms. A scripture says "he who leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity", when that happens then I will love everybody. I rest my case!
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This is ridiculous. There is not one person walking on this planet who does not have some sort of racial prejudice toward another race. So I guess because I'm a 3rd generation American from Poland, my family forced to flee due to the ethnic cleansing by the Germans, I still need to feel guilty for the actions of uneducated white men of the past? I'm glad we teach forgiveness in my culture; love in my culture; self-responsibility in my culture; strength in my culture. Am I being racist? Sure?
View all 64 replies
Righteous-Ice What about the uneducated and educated white men of today....very much alive.
ehz Axe
..so are you white or polish?..its too bad your family had to flee Poland and come to a very racist country..those uneducated white men that you spoke of were actually educated and racist!..that's not your fault..but at least in your culture you have some great attributes...please share them with all of your fellow americans..
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Golden Voice
Unfortunately most of America isn't ready for this way of thinking. In America power is the ultimate aphrodisiac and asking someone to give-up that power is akin to asking them to cut off their right arm.
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Joan Broadfield
What an amazing interview... so much covered! Implicit bias; color blindness; 'only white people can be racist'.... white fragility... turkey noise!!!
View all 7 replies
James Bond
+lisacobr We accept criticism when it's based in reality. But any criticism we don't accept, we're told we're in denial. Do you accept every criticism handed to you? Of course not. Not all of it is true. But whites are supposed to accept every single criticism as gospel truth. And it's completely acceptable to criticize all of white people for something, yet when the same is done for Muslims or black people, suddenly we're racists.
Your denial only proves her point. When I go to England and see your counterparts, it's so clear that America was founded by the crazy Puritans who were not only religious zealots but the creators of the cult of whiteness. The Brits kicked them out and when you go to England it's hard to see that Americans are essentially the same people . The Brits are not perfect, they've proven that with Brexit but they don't have the putrid stench of white supremacy and its spouse white fragility. Brits live in a thoroughly integrated society where poor and middle class blacks, whites Indians etc... are all just British, marrying each other with little distinction. White Americans are in so much denial that they fail to realize that this need to protect whiteness is a psychosis that diminishes their humanity. Why is it when white Americans do their DNA they are rarely black, or Indian or anything other than white?. It's kind of embarrassing. In this country whiteness was protected guarded, DNA doesn't lie. What a burden to carry this need to always feel like you have to be better. Maybe the explosion of heroin and suicide in the white community has it's roots in this weight of needing to feel superior. When you guys realize you are not special, you turn to drugs and alcohol and sometimes suicide to shut off the noise. Join the rest of humanity, except criticism without becoming defensive, be a little introspective and maybe you'll release yourself of the self imposed prison of whiteness.
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Brilliant conversation.  I sat in on a talk with Robin once and she is the real deal!  She says it exactly as it is, warts and all.  Only when we can get real about racism in America, we won't heal -- but we can, with Robin's help and lots of others, including the host.  Thank you!!  I love that she "doesn't have patience for this stuff anymore."  LOL
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