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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.

©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)

“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)

“A rare and incisive examination of the system of white body supremacy that binds us all as Americans... With authenticity and clarity, she provides the antidote to white fragility and a road map for developing white racial stamina and humility. White Fragility loosens the bonds of white supremacy and binds us back together as human beings.” (Resmaa Menakem, author of My Grandmother’s Hands and Rock the Boat)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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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 of 3 people found this review helpful

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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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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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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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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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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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-08-18

Good book but...

Overall, this was a good book but I have read all of the books Robin DiAngelo references in her book and she simply placed a white wrapper around the thoughts of these other authors, most of whom are authors of color. As a person of color in an extremely white workplace who is forced to navigate racism and white fragility on a daily basis, I see the value in presenting the work of a white person to my organization as a stepping stone to start the conversation. As a person of color, I am also deeply bothered by having to do so. In doing this, it actually feeds into the pitfalls and concerns DiAngelo discusses. I think this book is an excellent starting person for white people interested in delving into the topic. I would suggest people of color start with some of the reference books especially Bonilla-Silva’s Racism Without Racists and Ibram Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning.

79 of 83 people found this review helpful

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  • TArnold
  • 07-08-18

Read instead of listen

The woman who read the book sounded like the automated voice you get when you get stuck on hold with a major company. It was so dull and monotone that, had I not really wanted to hear what the author had to say, I would've returned the book very early on. Now that I've finished listening, I wonder how much of the meaning was lost on me because of my frustration with the choice of reader.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • John Abdul-Masih
  • 08-01-19

This book is not helpful.

I'm a person of color (although personally I don't care for that term) that read this in an attempt to understand current trends in the social justice movement.

While it did help me understand the viewpoints these people have, it did not convince me in any way that these views will be useful in the short or long term.

The author is openly okay with racial generalization as long as it's only for whites. This is dangerous territory, because if we say race generalization is ok, it'll be hard to argue that we cant use it in all cases. I can't imagine anyone would want to bear the burden for everything their race has done collectively.

Also, the author seems to imply that we could carry the baggage of our entire race into every social situation we enter. towards the end of the book an interview with a web developer is brought up, and the web dev gives the author a survey that she dismisses as boring. Since the web dev was black, her dismissal was racist per this book. Because she was white, her action is racist. I understand why she uses this definition of racism and all that, but is this honestly useful? I'd say no. It only collapses the spectrum of social interaction into group identity, and dilutes the seriousness that allegations of racism currently carry.

The author also never gives concrete examples. indeed she often gives examples that only apply in a narrow view. She'll give an analogy that misses or misrepresents part of the issue.

Finally, the author seems to have little ability to put herself in the shoes of others. She spends the first half of the book explaining how racism is seen as so bad and so taboo under the traditional definition that talking about it is difficult. then she's surprised that people called racist under a different definition freak out. her response is to call them fragile for that reaction. Is she actually surprised?

Overall this book does more harm than good. If someone came to me for help with racial relations I'd tell them to look anywhere else first.

Regarding the performance: The narrator could've easily been a text to speech program. Every word was read clearly and cleanly but it was so sterile that I had a hard time listening. Still better than blindsight though so 2 stars.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • William Holmes-Murphy
  • 09-08-18

REQUIRED READING

Hello! Please read this book if you feel the need to better yourself. I, as a adult black male, read this book as a way to help heighten my knowledge when faced with implicit racism. Me and a white customer of mine are always having race discussions and my knowledge now will help me better explain to him the false binary. Thanks to the author for the gained knowledge and insight.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Louisa
  • 01-11-18

Narration doesn't do justice to the important book

Anyone who seeks this book out understands the importance of the content. However I was so disappointed by the narrator. She sounded like the voice of a digital assistant. I ended up just buying the print book instead.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • jkracker
  • 28-07-18

Very challenging and important

White Fragility is an important analysis of the racial divide in America today. I’m so glad I read it and hope to be able to take to heart it’s lessons. This was so helpful to break down the impasse that develops when reconciliation attempts are made.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • irequirepudding
  • 20-10-18

Great content, robotic reader voice

I recommend doing this one as a regular book—the narrator sounds like a robot, which makes it hard to hear. Though I can imagine the concept of white fragility might be so triggering for some people that they chose a robotic person to narrate. It’s a loss, because it makes it much harder to engage and retain the content.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Henry F. Sherrod III
  • 18-07-18

important

Every white liberal / progressive should read this book. There is so much we think we understand but don't really.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • philliesrule54
  • 18-07-18

Great read

Every White person should read this book & I am a better person for wrestling with it's topics. I plan on integrating this into my supervision & teaching.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Rebecca S. Swearingen
  • 29-07-18

Mandatory reading for every white person!

I highly recommend this book to everyone! DiAngelo breaks down the topic like never before!

8 of 13 people found this review helpful