Reviewed by Ellen E on Oct 19, 2020
White Fragility deserves no less than a 200page dissertation but I am going to distill it down for you so that it doesn't feel heavy, condescending, or inapproachable to you. White Fragility : why it's so hard for white people to talk about racism has been out since 2018 and you might not have read it yet for a variety of reasons which are easy to pile up if you want to play the excuse cards (I didn't know about it, there wasn't a book club about it locally, my church tried to read it together and it sounded too controversial, I have black friends, I'm not fragile, I didn't see it on display in the bookstore window till recently, my family wasn't in America at the time slavery was going on) all of which leave a bad shameful taste in the mouth.
Chapter one is all about leading the reader to safe un-biased waters. Or for some it might feel like MyBias Bootcamp. If you fit in this category this book is literally ForYou. If you are a racial minority this book is still for you too because it is a rare author who can re-direct a conversation back to the Root of the problem which is white people not talking about, standing up for, and having an opinion on racism then verses now and our current complacency in a new form of racism urgently in a life or death way. Reading this in solidarity with people willing to retrain themselves to see Racism as an institution ever present is the best thing you can do to facilitate change so don’t let being ‘stuck in the middle’ of a fight that you don’t see as your own stop you from reading it either.
After Chapter one you will have a vocabulary to continue reading. Chapter two the author outs herself as white which was mind blowing and brought up some reverse bias for me. I was literally like “Why is the White Fragility book written by an older white woman?” Then in Chapter 3 she starts to call out the white culture of her upbringing and work environment so I was like 'okay it makes the argument rock solid to hear this in print from a white person to another white person that needs to happen but it’s disturbing that she is nailing down that she was taught to fear black people she’s one of those people who never lived as a racial minority (in a black neighborhood, or overseas or anywhere) and my question is basically "Why did you sell out and put up with it? Why not leave and participate in something else? How does authoring this book feel as a continued/former racist?????????
I think there is value in naming all the taboo things, and claiming them to overcome them. Like my friend telling me she wants a Nasty Woman tattoo I can see the point but it’s a stoop to a level that was never supposed to exist in the first place. Every man woman child and human being was meant to be cherished on earth. There's no way to justify killing mosquitoes. There's no way to justify participating in institutionalized Racism. Societies logic has been wrong for too long and this book will lead you to the most vital place where all your brothers and sisters need you to go. Eventually, someone in your life is going to help you dismantle Racism if you ask for help with it. Via this book. Via calling you out on killing mosquitoes. Via testing you giving you shit for reading it in public. Now it's 2020 and H.R. 40 is being considered by the Supreme Court and hopes everywhere have never been higher for reparations from slavery+etal crimes; but what does it mean if White People; your own husband or wife; neighbor spouse, cousin, aunt, father, brown people, gay people, your best friend still have too many walls up to read White Fragility with you?
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