I was told my “white fragility” is the only reason I disagree with people when discussing racism, which bases my ability to think freely solely on my skin color.
As Paul Maxwell said: “This baseless theory of ‘white fragility’ makes a race-specific generalization about the intellect, psychiatry, and morality of an entire ethnic group.”
This racist assertion assumes that any disagreement is caused by the mental inferiority of an entire race based on skin color.
Imagine if ‘black fragility’ was coined, would this same ideological view hold its weight? No, because it is not based on facts. These assertions are based on the opinions of the author and Unitarian Universalist, Robin DiAngelo, not on empirical data. They include comments such as, “The problem with white people is that they just do not listen.” As one writer insightfully points out, “DiAngelo’s premise insists that when a person denies they are racist, this denial is actually proof of both racism and white fragility. This breaks the principle of falsifiability. It’s pseudo- science, and has no place in any serious and genuine conversation about race.” DiAngelo states:
“White people raised in Western society are conditioned into a white supremacist worldview” and that “a racism-free upbringing is not possible” and that “I believe that white progressives cause the most daily damage to people of color. I define a white progressive as any white person who thinks he or she is not racist...”
Her book is filled with inaccuracies, cultish contentions, psychiatric presumptions, gross generalizations, and essentially says if you are Caucasian in America – you are inherently racist.
This writer points out, “White fragility theory commits the ecological fallacy, the interpretation of statistical data where inferences about the nature of individuals are deduced from inference for the group to which those individuals belong. It may also lead to the fallacy of composition, inferring that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole... DiAngelo has an axe to grind against individualism.” DiAngelo invokes “implicit bias” as something that defends her theory when in reality, implicit bias is a disaster in itself – even the creators of the IAT test admit now that it does not predict “biased behavior”. Still, upper echelons of organizations and companies employ this baseless test as if it does any good to promote inclusion or the ever-elusive diversity managers speak of during interviews. She writes, “A person of color may refuse to wait on me if I enter a shop, but people of color cannot pass legislation that prohibits me and everyone like me from buying a home in a certain neighborhood.” That is forbidden by federal law and was made illegal by the Fair Housing Act of 1968, not to mention several other acts of legislation that prohibit redlining.
She acts as a supercilious ‘white savior’ that treats African Americans as tokens in her book. DiAngelo elevates herself as an ‘expert’ on racism by saying, “How can I say that if you are white, your opinions on racism are most likely ignorant when I don’t even know you? I can say so because nothing in mainstream US culture gives us the information we need...” DiAngelo’s theory on white fragility is also a double bind as Jesse Lile, who holds a PhD in Counselor Education, writes:
- An initial negative injunction
- A secondary injunction that negates the first at a more abstract level
- A tertiary negative injunction that keeps the victim from escaping the situation
Step one is directing a Caucasian individual to engage in a conversation on racism and implying that to not do so betrays their racism (the initial negative injunction).
Step two is bristling at that engagement (which was started in step one) and communicating that their perspective is less valid (due to being Caucasian) and that they should, therefore, be quiet (the secondary negative injunction). This second step has been codified by the term white privilege. Any active engagement of a Caucasian in the conversation can be assumed as an exercise of their privilege, and any contributions or points made can be dismissed on the basis of their white privilege. When a Caucasian individual takes issue with this term’s debasement and dismissal of their life experience, the third and final step of the double bind is employed with the term white fragility.
Step three is expecting compliance with the framing of the whole conversation at the expense of Caucasian individuals. It also involves the consequent labeling of them as fragile for taking issue with the dismissal of their personhood on account of their skin color (the tertiary negative injunction). Taking issue with the dismissal of one’s personhood is not even considered to be possibly legitimate. Instead, such dissent is assumed to be due to their fragility and inability to stay engaged with the conversation as framed.
Her book has overreaching contentions that if you do not blame racism for all inequality of outcome, and instead on individual responsibility, you are a racist. Since I believe in individualism and personal responsibility, I am a racist by DiAngelo’s definition – it is absurd, to say the least. It has become common to demonize Caucasian individuals – no doubt by some who perpetuate white fragility as fact. A professor at the University of Georgia said, “Some white people may have to die.” An article published by the Chicago Tribune claims, “White people, you are the problem.” In England, Cambridge University defended an academic who said, “White lives don’t matter.”
DiAngelo’s white fragility theory defies the principle of falsifiability, neglects to talk about individuals, and is undeniably emotionally manipulative.