White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo for quite a while. While I have not read it I did watch a very long presentation by DiAngelo on the book which has to be the next best thing. She is a brilliant presenter, and anyone be you Kyle Kulinski or Tucker Carlson or Ben Shapiro should at least watch her talk about it.
DiAngelo’s basic thesis is that White people in the Americas find it difficult to talk about the historical and systemic racism that has shaped live in the Americas. That system is, as she put it, one which placed white people (Anglo or Hispanic white people) at the center as the standard of humanity with Black people as the ultimate racial other.
This was done to depersonalize and rationalize the utter exploitation of another human being’s labor and their treatment as property in a world that was at the same time evolving away from that institution. Every other type of brown person was ranked on how close they are to being like white people. The farther from the “center” the more subject to exploitation of labor (In the case of American Indians expropriation of your lands.)
White Fragility is what she calls the reaction of the average White person in the Americas to hearing the above. To be offended upon hearing that they systemically are at certain advantages. “Privileges” not in the sense of wealth or power but in being culturally the standard “normal” human being against which others, in the Americas are measured.
This is beautifully illustrated in the reactions of Kyle Kuklinski as seen in this video of his.
Kulinski seems to think that DiAngelo thinks that diversity trainings actually make a difference. While it was true that she was a diversity trainier in the sense that he is thinking of for a long time. A major point of her book is that "diversity workshops" don't actually make a difference! If he read the book or even listened to her speak on it then he clearly was so fragile that he did not get a major point of the book.
He seems to miss the point entirely as well. To DiAngelo complaints about economic injustice are, in the context about discussions on race simply "what about isms". I can't have "white privlege" because I grew up poor. Racism does not exist because their are black brain surgeons. etc.
It must be acknowledged as a proudly Jewish man really need not feel bad about this. European Jews were not included or thought of as White by anyone and had nothing to do with this issue at all until the civil rights movement. A movement which they participated in and their story in the old testament inspired. They along with American Indians and Black people have faced real racism here. Why slave owners insisted Black people learn the story of a downtrodden group of people who escaped from slavery and became powerful is beyond me? Nevertheless, he does not seem to have read White Fragility or totally missed the point. So, I include him here.
He seems to think to be a non fragile white person is to have a negative self image full of guilt. That could not be further from the truth.
“Racism is a system not an event”.
Robin Di Angelo is known for saying white people should remove the phrase “I am not racist” from their vocabulary. What interviews often don’t give her a chance to get to is the reason why, which is stated in the above video. “I am not racist” should go away because no individual person can be racist. Racism is a system. A single person can choose to discriminate or not for any number of reasons. A single person does not impose a system. This is a problem that is bigger and deeper than a dirty word, a dirty look, or even some brutal and murderous cops here and there.
Racism is a system that was put in place to justify clearly discriminatory if not inhumane acts against generation after generation, after generation of a group of people because of the misfortune of being born the “wrong” color.
To justify doing that took hundreds of years from 1500 to 1619 was 120 years from 1619 to 1850 and the Dredd Scott decision which finally stripped Black people in the US of even the ability to sue*
How To React In A Non Fragile Way To A Potential Racial Confrontation.
A cartoon called the Boondocks demonstrated this nicely.
Don’t pull a gun like some people have. Just relax and keep it moving if you can because you have the power you have won. No need to feel guilty just maybe even say “Wait a second… I’m White” snicker and walk away. That’s how you win.
*Funny that even in the depths of slavery without any laws needing to be put in place the ability to bring a civil suit was one that slaves had and the removal of that right was, next to Lincoln being elected nearly the final straw that broke the camels back. If you wish to dispute this consider Dredd Scott sued for his freedom. Yes people who could but bought and sold to that point could under various circumstances sue someone.