Talking about racism, systemic oppression, and privilege are not always easy conversations to have. Some people seem to think that ignoring the problem will make it go away, but that is not the case. If we want to live in a world without racism, then we need to look inwards to what are our own implicit biases are and how we can make a beneficial change for the world around us. A book that I highly recommend to all white people is White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism.
The book completely changed my life and opened my eyes to everything I didn’t realize about my privilege as a white person. The book describes why some white people are highly problematic or defensive in the conversation of racism. The book is written by a white woman, Robin Diangelo. She wrote the book for white people to inform them on topics of race and essential terms. The book doesn’t claim to solve the problem of racism. Instead, it educates and points out things that white people say and do in those conversations that are harmful in the battle against racism.
Robin points out the problematic behavior and thought processes of white people in those critical conversations, which I believe is the starting point for change. She educates the readers on aspects that many white people may not know about. She also discusses how allies can hurt the people they are trying to protect by believing that they are so above racism – which then, they become part of the problem themselves. She defines and explains white fragility and how it is harmful to our society. White people need to take ownership of their privilege and use that privilege to help others without slowing progress by being defensive in conversations about racism.
She breaks down white privilege and how it doesn’t mean that white people do not face problems, but it means that we don’t face the particular issue of racism. She breaks down how race is a social construction. I study Women and Gender Studies and try to be a helpful ally in the fight against racism and oppression against minorities. This book is perfect for any white person trying to better themselves and educate themselves on racism. I realized so many problematic points that white people I know try to make when I try to discuss racism with them.
By being educated on the topic of racism, intersectionality, privilege, oppression, and other terms that Robin breaks down for us and genuinely assessing ourselves and our own biases, we can then begin to work outwards to help those around us be more educated in the fight against racism. I highly recommend this book and think that any white person who reads it will have a deeper understanding and bigger respect for others’ struggles.