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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