AMAC Exclusive by Joshua Charles
One of the more famous—or infamous, depending on your perspective—authors to rise to prominence of late is a university professor named Robin DiAngelo. Her 2018 book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism has become an extremely influential text for Critical Race Theory adherents, woke corporations, and the modern-day Democrat Party. As a sign of just how influential her views are, last year, DiAngelo was asked to speak to 184 Democrat members of Congress and lectured white legislators at length on why they are all racist. DiAngelo has since been on a continuous circuit of lectures and workshops with local government officials, corporate and higher education organizations, talking about her concept of “white fragility.”
Since DiAngelo’s 169-page diatribe is fast becoming dogma for the Democrat Party, it is important to understand exactly what it is, she argues.
DiAngelo begins her book with false statements that deny the decades of progress that America has made to address racial segregation. Totally ignoring the impact of the Civil Rights movement, the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, and the fact that Martin Luther King Jr.’s magnificent “I Have A Dream” speech is taught daily in American high school classrooms, DiAngelo pretends that this country is just as segregated as it was in the 1960s.
“White people in North America live in a society that is deeply separate and unequal by race, and white people are the beneficiaries of that separation and inequality. As a result, we are insulated from racial stress, at the same time that we come to feel entitled to and deserving of our advantage,” she declares.
“Socialized into a deeply internalized sense of superiority that we either are unaware of or can never admit to ourselves,” she continues, sounding as if she is speaking of some other era, “we become highly fragile in conversations about race. We consider a challenge to our racial worldviews as a challenge to our very identities as good, moral people. Thus, we perceive any attempt to connect us to the system of racism as an unsettling and unfair moral offense.”
Even the Washington Post has critiqued DiAngelo’s claims, asserting that ‘“White Fragility’ presents oversimplified arguments that are self-fulfilling, even self-serving.” DiAngelo’s statements are certainly self-serving. Indeed, DiAngelo receives extraordinary financial compensation for her work, including $320 an hour just to take phone calls to talk about white fragility.
One analysis by the Daily Caller found that DiAngelo earns more in a day lecturing white people about their “white fragility” than a middle-class black household makes in three months. DiAngelo, who is white, is literally profiting off a “dehumanizing condescension” that “talks down to black people,” as liberal Columbia professor John McWhorter puts it.
McWhorter describes how DiAngelo’s book is “replete with claims that are either plain wrong or bizarrely disconnected from reality.” One example is DiAngelo’s false claim that “I can get through graduate school without ever discussing racism. I can graduate from law school without ever discussing racism. I can get through a teacher-education program without ever discussing racism.” The idea that racism is not discussed in the far-left environment of academia is absurd. The university curriculums discuss little else. Such lines showcase the fact that DiAngelo’s entire argument hinges on pretending that America is stuck in the Jim Crow era.
But instead of participating in a rational debate or defending her wild claims with evidence,
DiAngelo attempts to stifle any form of dissent with petty insults and character attacks. If a white person contradicts her reasoning and shows the slightest hint of emotion in doing so, DiAngelo has psychologized exactly what’s happening—they aren’t making arguments DiAngelo must consider or pointing out facts her theories don’t account for. They are exhibiting signs of what she calls “white fragility.” She describes the actions that flow from “white fragility” as follows:
“These include emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and withdrawal from the stress-inducing situation. These responses work to reinstate white equilibrium as they repel the challenge, return our racial comfort, and maintain our dominance within the racial hierarchy. I conceptualize this process as white fragility. Though white fragility is triggered by discomfort and anxiety, it is born of superiority and entitlement. White fragility is not weakness per se. In fact, it is a powerful means of white racial control and the protection of white advantage.”
So, if you don’t automatically accept DiAngelo’s premises; if you find them offensive; if you find them counterfactual; and if you dare to say so—then you are a racist and suffer from white fragility.
To the extent these ideas dominate the public square, Americans will be captive and pathologized people. The debate will become impossible. Real solutions to the problems faced by minority communities will not be seriously considered. A new orthodoxy will be ruthlessly imposed because rational dissent will have been eliminated from the outset. Such a paradigm is ultimately intended to coddle the minds of the white liberal elites of the Democrat Party rather than contribute to any meaningful progress on addressing racism in America.
As even liberal professor John McWhorter has concluded, “White Fragility is, in the end, a book about how to make certain educated white readers feel better about themselves…The sad truth is that anyone falling under the sway of this blinkered, self-satisfied, punitive stunt of a primer has been taught, by a well-intentioned but tragically misguided pastor, how to be racist; in a whole new way.”
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