Current events what they are, race “consultant and trainer” Robin DiAngelo — who coined the term “white fragility” — has been busy making the rounds on various pundit shows.
DiAngelo’s book by the same name (the subtitle of which is “Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism”) is a New York Times best-seller, and a hot property at college and school district race and equity workshops.
DiAngelo herself rakes in $10,000 or more per personal appearance. The University of Kentucky, for example, paid her $12,000 for a two-hour “racial justice” session last year.
WATCH: "White Fragility" author Robin DiAngelo and @DrIbram have a candid conversation about white privilege. They discuss what it is, why it persists and how it impacts African Americans.#RaceForJustice pic.twitter.com/RHiZqrNQam
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) June 5, 2020
Writing at Medium, Anne Bailey offers five reasons why DiAngelo’s “White Fragility” is a “shallow” and “destructive” work. Number 4, ironically, is “it’s a money-making scheme.”
1. It defies the principle of falsifiability
The principle of falsifiability instructs that for anything to be considered scientific, it must be able to be proven false. For example: We know the statement “all snakes are poisonous” is false because we can observe that some snakes are not poisonous. 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.
2. It fails to address individuals
DiAngelo asserts that “whiteness” isn’t just a skin color. It’s an entire system of oppression, and all white people are complicit in perpetuating this system. She also claims that non-white people can uphold white supremacy by participating in white culture or even “acting” white. Her sweeping definitions accuse nearly everyone of racism and white supremacy. This is by design. Her framework leaves no need for individual scrutiny. Addressing people as individuals would leave room for dissent, and dissent would destroy her argument. The more people who are condemned, the more disciples DiAngelo collects. Unless DiAngelo is omniscient, which is highly doubtful, her collective condemnation is flat out false. You simply cannot charge millions of individuals with racism using only their denial of guilt as proof of their guilt.
Number 3 is “it’s emotionally manipulative” and number 5 is “it undermines healthy relationships.”
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