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White Fragility

Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Length: 6 hrs and 20 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo.  

Anger. Fear. Guilt. Denial. Silence. 

These are the ways in which ordinary white people react when it is pointed out to them that they have done or said something that has - unintentionally - caused racial offence or hurt. After, all, a racist is the worst thing a person can be, right? But these reactions only serve to silence people of colour, who cannot give honest feedback to 'liberal' white people lest they provoke a dangerous emotional reaction.   

Robin DiAngelo coined the term 'White Fragility' in 2011 to describe this process and is here to show us how it serves to uphold the system of white supremacy. Using knowledge and insight gained over decades of running racial awareness workshops and working on this idea as a Professor of Whiteness Studies, she shows us how we can start having more honest conversations, listen to each other better and react to feedback with grace and humility. It is not enough to simply hold abstract progressive views and condemn the obvious racists on social media - change starts with us all at a practical, granular level, and it is time for all white people to take responsibility for relinquishing their own racial supremacy.  

©2019 Robin DiAngelo (P)2019 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic Reviews

"With clarity and compassion, DiAngelo allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to 'bad people'. In doing so, she moves our national discussions forward. This is a necessary book for all people invested in societal change." (Claudia Rankine)

"By turns mordant and then inspirational, an argument that powerful forces and tragic histories stack the deck fully against racial justice alongside one that we need only to be clearer, try harder, and do better." (David Roediger, Los Angeles Review of Books)

"The value in White Fragility lies in its methodical, irrefutable exposure of racism in thought and action, and its call for humility and vigilance." (Katy Waldman, New Yorker

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This is exactly what I needed to read

I rarely give reviews but this book hit me so hard I just needed to. I HIGHLY recommend ALL white people read this book, it's comfronting and eye-opening!! A must read!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very enlightening!

It was quite confronting even as a person of colour but explains racism in a comprehensive way with good examples to show it in action in terms of why it's such a difficult thing to tackle. It's made me reevaluate my own way of living in my role to racism and reframe it as well in order to make sense of it. really good read - highly recommend!

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  • Joshua Marcus
  • 21-07-2019

Important read, but reader is robotic

White Fragility is an important read for every white person. Robin DiAngelo details why it is so hard for us to talk about racism without automatically going on the offensive. Particularly poignant is her discussion on how we view racism as good vs bad. Because we equate racism with bad people, any indication of racism feels like a huge moral failing on our part. Unfortunately, towards the end of the book, she becomes quite preachy and assumes a tone of judgement of people who react to white fragility, which is a little off-putting.

The reader is supposedly a person but sounds like a robot. Most of the time she is understandable, but when she gets to long sentences – especially those with complex sentence structure and parenthesis like this one – the lack of appropriate expression is problematic. I recommend reading in 1.25x speed.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-06-2019

An awesome understanding of white fragility!

The book gave me as a person of color outside the USA, in a country where aparthied continues to linger, a good perspective and understanding of white fragility. A good read for all, the hopefully is much more than a good read for those who do.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 29-04-2019

A must read for all

A challenging yet encouraging articulation of the work to be done by us all !

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  • gingerbreadmun
  • 28-02-2019

If you are white and are not racist then read this book.

This book has clearly and compassionately highlighted ways that we as white people who are not racist can dismantle racism. It may not be in the way you expect but she is talking to you and in ways that can be transformative if you want to dismantle white supremacy.

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  • NRN D.
  • 10-07-2019

What a relief

This has been a very educational, and enlightening look at race, I can relate to many of the things which are said in regard to having to tackle racism in a way that does not make the racist feel uncomfortable and have recommended this book to one or two people who are at the moment trying to engage with me in regard to me making them feel good about their racism I hope they learn from this book and move forward.

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  • Andrew J. Gilchrist
  • 23-05-2019

Interesting ideas delivered in a difficult way

I haven’t read much sociology and a friend recommended this. The core idea defines racism in terms of the inherent and hidden biases that have arisen because in western (specifically the US) society the dominant group is white therefore cultural norms are defined in their terms.
The problem with the book is the author insists in beating the reader over the head by using the term racism which is clearly emotionally laden with images of rednecks abusing people of colour. She clearly does this for impact and does eventually point out that the binary view of racism is not helpful in addressing the views we as white people have been socialised with from birth and therefore find very difficult to identify and address. Maybe the approach works in the diversity workshops she runs but I very nearly gave up on the book multiple times in the first half because it felt offensive. I did stick it out and the ideas presented were in the end worthwhile and I will apply them (I am a white middle aged science teacher in an inner London school who the author might well class as part of the problem).
Would have been so much better if the author had started the book by defining the inbuilt cultural bias and giving it a different name rather than use the emotionally loaded and judgmental term racism throughout the book.

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  • Kieron Casey
  • 18-05-2019

Difficult

The book is difficult to listen to on a couple of levels - there's some painful truths in here about white people's broad lack of understanding or engagement with racial issues. The second level is the narration - I felt it hard to engage with the text as it became to sound dry and academic.

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  • Tich
  • 12-04-2019

White Fragility - Paradigm Shift

This book is so important! It has given me a better understanding of how and why we are where we are when dealing with and discussing the impact of racism and white supremacy.

As an African man working in corporate settings that are predominantly white, I feel more equipped to discuss race-related topics with friends, colleagues and clients of all races.

The learning has just begun and I have a long and hard road ahead of me but at least books like this can act as a compass to help guide the way and promote continual learning.