Speaking Out Against Robin DiAngelo’s Toxic White Fragility

Robin DiAngelo, whose “white fragility” theory has become one of the most influential ideas about racism in America, is on a mission to reeducate you and your children.  She wants everyone to talk about race -- teachers, students, parents, children -- everyone.  And when she says “talk” about race, what she means is for people to willfully accept the toxic tenets of modern antiracist ideology, which teaches that America is an inherently racist society steeped in white supremacy culture, a country that is illegitimate because it was founded on slavery and murder.

“Talking” about race also means dividing entire groups of people into dualistic camps such as white oppressors/non-white oppressed, and stereotyping entire races of people as “privileged” or “targeted,” as being “anti-black” or suffering from “internalized dominance.” Those who identify as white are taught to confront their “whiteness,” because according to antiracist dogma, whiteness is inherently racist, oppressive, and provides unearned privileges to whites at the expense of people of color.  

Get ready, America.  DiAngelo’s Marxist lectures are coming to a school near you.

As she writes in her seminal paper on white fragility, “Whiteness Studies begin with the premise that racism and white privilege exist in both traditional and modern forms, and rather than work to prove its existence, work to reveal it,” making it clear she’s more interested in forwarding her narrative about the oppressive nature of whiteness than in using the scientific method to prove it. In her Author’s Note to her bestselling book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (currently #2 on Amazon as I write this), DiAngelo admits that it’s “unapologetically rooted in identity politics,” and that we as Americans “have yet to achieve our founding principle, but any gains we have made thus far have come from identity politics.”

DiAngelo’s work has taken root across America -- influencing curriculum on college campuses and K-12 school districts and informing anti-bias trainings in businesses and law enforcement agencies; her work has even been adopted by a number of religious organizations.  She’s done for whiteness studies and modern antiracism what Jimmy Hoffa did for the Teamsters, helping to fundamentally redefine concepts such as racism, white supremacy, individualism, and colorblindness.  And for DiAngelo, it’s more than a vocation; it’s a lifestyle. She’s taken up the mission of antiracist work with a fervor and zeal that makes her questionable conclusions and untested theories appear infallible and beyond criticism.

Dubbed by the New Yorker as “the country’s most visible expert in anti-bias training,” she’s been leading diversity seminars since the nineties.  DiAngelo has multiple publications and books, including White Fragility, which has been on the New York Times best seller list for two years, and has enabled her to charge as much as $12,000 a day in speaking fees.

In 21st-century America, the antiracism movement is in full bloom.  So much so that liberal whites, many of whom come from affluent all-white communities, have quickly gotten on board the antiracism train.  Scores of whites are now getting “woke” and are all too eager to “check their privilege” -- a phenomenon marked by the evolution of “white cultural literacy,” and of the fact that a young person can now focus their work in “whiteness studies” while pursuing degrees in ethnic and cultural studies, as well as in fields like education, psychology, and sociology.

Non-woke whites, on the other hand, have a limited interest in fixating on race.  And on the rare occasion that they do participate in an anti-bias workshop -- perhaps they were mandated to attend a diversity training because they committed a microaggression at work, or said or did something that a person of color insisted was evidence of an unconscious bias -- chances are they will be told they suffer from “white fragility,” a condition where whites supposedly become extremely fragile when they are faced with talking about race.  According to DiAngelo, whites consider a challenge to their worldviews on race a challenge to their worth as a person. As she explains in her book, White Fragility:

The smallest amount of racial stress is intolerable -- the mere suggestion that being white has meaning often triggers a range of defense responses.  These include emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and withdraw 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.

As Ben Shapiro pointed out in his piece, “7 Reasons Why ‘White Fragility’ is the Worst Book Ever,” the entire concept is a Kafkaesque trap and is unfalsifiable; even John McWhorter, an African American associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, called the book “dehumanizing” and “deeply condescending to all proud Black people.”

So what can be done to combat DiAngelo’s toxic message?  To stop her divisive, anti-American narrative that is polarizing our society and corrupting our youth?

It’s time to expose white fragility for what it is -- Marxist propaganda aimed at cultural revolution.  To do so we must first educate ourselves on the basic tenets of white fragility, so we can challenge the narrative at the root.  As a longtime Philadelphia public schoolteacher and certified school counselor -- with an M.Ed. in Multicultural education -- I’ve launched a YouTube channel titled Inside White Fragility, which offers videos that debunk DiAngelo’s propaganda head on, and call out her intolerant and quite fascistic nonsense.  Click here to subscribe.

In addition, I’ve launched a companion website of the same name, which provides helpful information on white fragility and the more radical components of modern antiracism, and is a toolkit for thoughtful resistance to these schools of thought (the recommended reading list is particularly useful).  Click here to subscribe.

For those interested in challenging the Left’s Marxist cultural revolution, this is the perfect place to start.  Please subscribe to these resources and help get out the word; it’s one thing to fight for equality and racial justice, and quite another to be indoctrinated with polarizing identity politics.  And for those who have sons and daughters in America’s K-12 schools, I urge you to get active and take advantage of these tools.  It’s only a matter of time before DiAngelo and her anti-American reeducation program pop up in your own backyard.

Christopher Paslay is a Philadelphia public schoolteacher, writer, and coach.  Follow him on Twitter @cspaslay.

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