Why Race Consciousness Needs to Go Beyond the Book “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo. “Fragility” Must Transform
I’m going to talk about the book ‘White Fragility’. I have a mixed bag of responses to how this book has been sold out on Amazon and how this is now the mainstream language for dismantling systemic racial oppression. I agree with what the author describes. In fact, being who I am I have seen all of these racial dynamics take place and have (on a daily basis) been on the receiving end of these subconscious aggressions.
What is painfully awkward (and so obvious) is how so many racially oppressed groups have vocalized these exact observations and even described the pains of living with these racial dynamics but the message has fallen on deaf ears. I am concerned that we are now in a state where we have to wait for a White identified person (such as the author), to speak on our behalf before this is taken seriously. This is not equitable nor just.
I struggle with the word ‘fragility’ because it is emotional vulnerability. And as a therapist, I believe that human vulnerability is powerful and beautiful in itself. It only becomes dangerous when racial supremacy curbs growth or transformation from vulnerability and it is used as a social power to silence others-where others have to tip-toe around emotional entitlement. Eg, “I’m offended you think I’m racist.” What is deemed as ‘offensive’ is my transformative courage to move beyond my racial trauma and to set an assertive boundary. Growing beyond this vulnerability is the big moral question here. It is the difference between vulnerability as a racial weapon and vulnerability as inter-racial healing.
It is also problematic to lump all ‘White’ individuals into a single story. It is dangerous for any group. I have been harmed by such ‘lumping’ and I do not wish it upon anyone else. It is also this ‘lumping’ that allows it to be the central power and unsaid American reference point. It is where the racial supremacy lies.
I am relieved that this is a conversation that is happening. It is positive that these issues are being critically examined and some curriculum is available but this cannot be assumed to be the endpoint. “Fragility” must transform.
What I hope and dream for is a day where I can say to my White identified friends, “Hey what you said/did or the position you are taking feels racially superior.” And for the response to be, “I’m sorry. Thank you. Let’s do that differently.” I dream for a day where the notion of ‘equality’ is collaboratively cultivated with the planet and not assumed from a place of ethnocentric dominance. I desire for us to re-do this entire system so we can be proud of what we build for our children.