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Robin DiAngelo says realizing she is white was an ‘out of body experience’

Prominent anti-racism author Robin DiAngelo recently related that it was an “out of body experience” when she finally realized — at the age of 34 — that she is a white woman.

“It was a very abstract sense,” DiAngelo tells her interviewer. “I was college-educated, I was a parent … and someone handed me Peggy McIntosh’s article.”

That would be the revered-by race educators “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” from 1989. DiAngelo says that while reading through McIntosh’s list of “privileges,” that’s when she had her epiphany.

Some of those privileges include “I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time,” “I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial” and “I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.”

“I’m never going to forget that moment where all of a sudden I was like ‘Oh my God, I am white,'” DiAngelo proclaims. “I felt so loudly white that I remember being hesitant to go outside … because everybody could see that I was white.”

As Rav Arora notes,

In these mystifying and hyperbolic sentiments, DiAngelo seems to be misguidedly attempting to fulfill a deeper kind of spiritual impulse, rather than remedying real inequities and injustices. It is no surprise many prominent thinkers, such as John McWhorter, have compared progressive anti-racism to religious fundamentalism.

This underlying belief – that all Western societies universally privilege whites to the detriment of ethnic minorities – is the most pernicious, re-asserted fallacy in DiAngelo’s new book. Both in Canada and the United States, the highest-earning groups are not white, but of South Asian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other non-white extractions. The latest U.S Census data disrupts the white supremacy narrative that Robin DiAngelo advances.

“Transcendence of one’s identity is a core theme in a number of recent self-help books,” Arora concludes. “[B]ut DiAngelo’s goal in [her new book] Nice Racism is the exact opposite: to reify, stereotype and fixate on one’s identity.”

Read the article.

IMAGE: Seattle Channel / YouTube screencap

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