Responding to White Fragility

  1. Whiteness, like sin, is often unconscious and resides under the surface.
  2. White people, like sinners, are blind to their whiteness (i.e. sin) and cannot avoid being white (i.e. sinful). Quite simply, it is not a matter of IF racism is present but HOW it is present.
  3. White people (i.e. sinners), when confronted with their whiteness (i.e. sin), respond with: anger, fear, guilt, silence, argumentation, denial, and even crying.
  4. White people bring the history of their people with them to the point that they are never exempted from the effects of racism (i.e. sin). In this way, racism and whiteness are covenantal, with white people entering into the world with original sin. As DiAngelo herself says, “I didn’t choose this socialization, and it could not be avoided. But I am responsible for my role in it.”
  5. White people have a deep and hidden knowledge of racism that they, and the system, seek to suppress but fail to eradicate completely.
  • Racism cannot be avoided.
  • Whites are / I am unconsciously invested in racism.
  • I bring my group’s history with me; history matters.
  • Nothing exempts me from the forces of racism.
  • The antidote to guilt is action.
  1. Listen.
  2. Reflect.
  3. Return to the list of underlying assumptions in this chapter.
  4. Seek out someone with a stronger analysis if you feel confused.
  5. Take the time you need to process your feelings, but do return to the situation and the persons involved.

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