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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to 'bad people'" (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. 

In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.

Download readers' guides at beacon.org/whitefragility.

©2018 Robin DiAngelo (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“[T]houghtful, instructive, and comprehensive... This slim book is impressive in its scope and complexity; DiAngelo provides a powerful lens for examining, and practical tools for grappling with, racism today.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review )

“As a woman of color, I find hope in this book because of its potential to disrupt the patterns and relationships that have emerged out of long-standing colonial principles and beliefs. White Fragility is an essential tool toward authentic dialogue and action. May it be so!” (Shakti Butler, president of World Trust and director of Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible)

“The value in White Fragility lies in its methodical, irrefutable exposure of racism in thought and action, and its call for humility and vigilance.” (The New Yorker)

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What listeners say about White Fragility

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Noble but flawed attempt to deal with racism

The author offers helpful tips for discussing race, but grounds her arguments in a postmodernist philosophy that is myopic and ignorant of global history. Any definition of racism needs to look at more than just American history. Racism is more than just an American social construct, but is rooted in every society. Her misunderstandings on race fail to hold up when looking at the racism of Nazism, the Indian caste system, the Rwandan Genocide, or the Rape of Nanking, just to name a few counterexamples. Failure to note the biological roots, as well as the cultural roots of racism, prevents a coherent solution to a pernicious problem.

1,131 people found this helpful

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Word salad

The only value this has is as a window into the mind of a certain kind of person. The author uses redefinitions of commonly understood language, personal anecdotes, and ideological jargon to lay out a pretty bizarre perspective on race.

The work is absolutely pseudointellectual and fails to cite authoritative studies or data in favor of Beyonce quotes. I’m not sure what type of person would find this author to be compelling. Dogmatically this is a complete trainwreck.

1,065 people found this helpful

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Repeditive and Derivative

Since the author gives presentations of race, hearing her talk about her insight and experience on this important topic seamed like it would add to her book but having heard her book, I see why they choose a very calm, professional reader.

The sample covers the the tone and depth of the book. She is a sociologist and knows all she need to about her audience whom she considers ignorant, uneducated, racist white supremacists members of the white collective or Klan. She's heard it all before so the only feedback she wants is thank you, She make an example of one participant who gives the wrong feedback. In another example she gives, another person is driven out of the room and coworkers think she may be having a heart attack. The writer is upset that this and the possible death will draw attention from what she is saying, Near the end she explains that she is un-white and sees nothing positive in white people.

Her actual material on racism is mostly other peoples work and opinion. The material seems to be used to show she went to colege, reads the right books and to expand this to book length rather that open people to talk about race.

Some people in her line of work, particularly those with her apparent attitude, may like and relate to this book and her experiences and frustrations in talking about race. Others,however, like her participant from Canada, may find this makes talking about race less likely.

She did have a piece of good advise that bares repeating. We should seek more to understand than to be understood and to console than be consoled. I had already gotten that advise from St Francis but its still good advise.

725 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

terrible book do not waste your time

read this book because the title sounded interesting was not interesting in the slightest the author goes on some pretty bull theories and basically gives you the opinion of not believing her with contradicting herself

615 people found this helpful

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Smug, Manipulative and Void of Humanity

There are so many problems with this book that it would take me a few hours to document them. Maybe I will do that at some point.

In summary, the author redefines racism to include unconscious bias and concludes that any and all white people have these and are racists. If you object to the new definition or object to being called a racist under this new construct, then you suffer from a new invented condition called "White Fragility" and should be shamed repeatedly. Over and over and over.

Her approach is manipulative, smug and void of humanity. It ignores the complexity of human existence and human interaction and, in my opinion creates less healthy and authentic interactions and relationships.
Love and vulnerability beget change. Shame does not..

489 people found this helpful

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Americentric

The pamphlet is americentric to the point of parody. To the point of nationalistic bigotry.

408 people found this helpful

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Assumptive trash.

Paints racism with a very broad and biased brush. Racism is real. It is not, however, limited to just “white” people. This book would suggest otherwise.
Don’t waste your time.

388 people found this helpful

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Lacking

Lacking historical perspective and overwhelming biased by personal experiences which are not representative of the vast majority of non African Americans.

641 people found this helpful

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radical

I read it and was not impressed with psych 101 tactics to take away dissenting views. If we only have 1 side of any story we are being robbed of real progress.

303 people found this helpful

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Worst book I've ever read

I'm Mexican, but I guess I've "internalized" my racism or whatever nonsensical term this white lady uses, because I couldn't disagree more with almost every point and premise in this book. Don't waste your time listening to this.

823 people found this helpful

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  • Elaine E
  • 09-05-18

life changing book!

As a white female progressive, I found this book one of the most honest and compassionate ways of showing me my blind spots. It's was painful to hear my own defensive stances, and my own 'I'm not a racist' perspectives, and I will be every thankful that Robin, has opened my world to racism and my place in it. Absolute recommend read!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ms A E Siddons
  • 11-24-18

Rad book AWFUL narration

Why does the narrator sound like a robot

she sounds totally valiumed up, monotonous, and inhuman which detracts massively from the impact the book could have.

Given the liveliness of the debate, would have benefited immensely from a more rich, nuanced, impassioned (and quicker) reading.

I had to really struggle with the frustration of this, which was annoying, because the content of the book is rad.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ms. MP DELPECHE
  • 12-22-20

A must-have, SUPERB

I am an older Black woman and I see you, and I'm exhausted by your racism.
This is an excellent text for all white folk and validation for all none white folk.
Simple, add to your library immediately!

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  • Veronica
  • 09-11-20

Great examples, sometimes repetitive

Really good book to bring to awareness some of the reactions that white people have when confronted with black people struggles. Think it is a start, but it might take more to ensure the discomfort and fragility Robin mentioned on the book gets managed better

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  • natalie
  • 05-14-19

Great book

Very interesting read, informative in a way I hadn’t expected. Has given me plenty of food for thought.

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  • D S Sinclair
  • 02-28-19

Great communication of key issues.

This book will be rubbished by many people and championed by many others.

Crucial issues are raised and well-connected with clear relation to reality. This book will not change how anyone thinks but may get some people to reflect on the context of their life and treatment of others.

An excellent book.

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  • Mrs Cathy
  • 01-07-19

Every white person must read this


Every white person must read this book.

Before beginning, I considered myself pretty ‘woke’ and presumed that this book would not be able to teach me much more - I was wrong.

White racism towards non-white people seeps into every part of Western society - only after reading this book did I realise all the small ways I am socialised to be racist and that it takes continuous conscious work to overcome these. And that is the best lesson to take away from this book - that the term ‘racist’ is now so offensive that whites cannot bear to be associated with it, it’s akin to being called a rapist. But the best thing that we could do as a white society is accept that we are all racist, that it is an inevitable product of our society, and that after admitting this, we can now take action to combat it and keep learning throughout our lives.

The book was gripping and illuminating from start to finish.

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  • Mr Paul Jackson
  • 12-09-18

from white fragile

very important to hear narratives on race placed this way. As a white man in the UK my life long learning and growth has been bolstered by this and my continued need to look, hole, act and be prepared to feel rejected by my own identity groups in order to make progress...I continue to make mistakes. dealing with feedback and giving it the most useful

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  • vanessa van gelder
  • 11-05-18

For every white person..

Robin Diangelo has got to the crux of the issue and i really wish every white person would listen to this, if you have an open mind, you will learn a lot. We need to step outside of insular realities and take a reality check.

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  • CFye
  • 10-02-18

Excellent.

A very thorough discussion of white fragility & privilege, the roles these play in maintaining unequal racial status, and how to step out of the expected narratives.
Recommend listening on 1.25 or 1.5 speed.

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  • Leigh
  • 08-21-18

Transformative and mind expanding!

Brilliant. Although I would consider myself a progressive white person, the content of this book has opened my mind up to some of my implicit blind spots that would have an ongoing, pervasive and significant impact on people of colour, individually and collectively. This book was challenging to listen to at times but the nudge motivates me to want to learn more about myself and the product of my conditioning that I am. Thank you!

1 person found this helpful

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  • helmand mandozay
  • 02-09-19

vital

every white person needs to take this in. I'm ashamed it took me this long to begin to educate myself.

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  • Angela Walsh
  • 01-29-19

Must Read

Great book for white people to be exposed to its premise and to reflect on the racial biases and why they exist. acknowledges she says what PoC have been saying for ever.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-21-19

A must for any white person who considers themselves progressive

As a person of colour, this is a life-affirming book that has beautifully articulated so many of my incredibly exasperating experiences and interactions with well-intentioned-but-ultimately-counterproductive white people.

Cannot recommend it strongly enough for every single white person who considers themselves progressive.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-16-19

Read work by Black educators instead!!!

This woman has made millions off the backs of Black people. She has centred herself and should be directing white people to Black educators. So You Want to Talk About Race, Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race, and Me and White Supremacy are a start!
A white woman has no right to be writing this. Whites don't need whites to break racism down for them, they need to read, listen and process the work of Black educators, sit in their discomfort and realise where that discomfort stems from.
She better be pouring money into the Black community if she's able to make millions off THEIR experience

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-07-19

excellent! head hurting stuff but REAL!

Such new concepts for us white people but we need it! if you want to challenge your brain, read this!

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  • Katie Crothers
  • 12-15-18

Awful narrator, sounds like a robot!

A real letdown because the content is brilliant. the author is so intelligent and observant. The narrator sounds like an ad for real estate or the old Microsoft narrator voice. She never changes tone or pace, really offputting..put me to sleep and made her hard to follow.