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White Fragility

Why It's so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Length: 6 hrs and 21 mins
5 out of 5 stars (77 ratings)

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Publisher's 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

What the critics say

“[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)

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One of the best books I’ve ever read.

This book should be part of all school curriculums! Could not recommend more, such a useful learning tool for white people.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Comprehensive, impactful and actionable

This is a must for anyone who cares about the health and future of the communities we live in. The author demonstrates their knowledge and experience in a way that is thorough, revealing and useful at a time in our cultural development where the message and methods outlined and introduced with in are sorely needed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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This read was life changing

As a mixed person I found this completely life changing, great audiobook. I wish this book was more available for white people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An absolute must-read

changed my entire world view & gave a way forward in our increasingly complex racist society.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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we have to talk about it

really interesting book on racism and whiteness, it hit the point to make me think about my own attitude, even if I always thought of myself as not a racist person. I know it's more complicated then that. I loved the audio book because I can learn while I'm keeping my hands busy at something else, but I though the voice was a bit " mechanical ".

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great meaningful content

Only feedback is the narration was a bit robotic. Didn’t know it was an actual person at first.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Loved it!

Such an important read. Was turned off at first that the author is white, but then realized that she’s incredibly knowledgeable on the subject and accepts accountability for her own racism - which I think is a crucial thing to be modeled to fellow whites - and then exemplifies how to change this behaviour. I’ve already recommended this book to many of my friends and family. And the narrator was excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Everyone needs to read this book!

Absolutely loved it. I do quite a bit in the Diversity and Inclusion and this was very well written. Hoping to encourage some white people to read it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Illuminating & Empowering

Lots of practical information on how to manage our own defensiveness when learning about racism, how we perpetuate it as white people, and how to move forward with anti-racist work.

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Food for thought.

Amy Landon sounds like an AI. I found her very hard to listen to & had a hard time not drifting off because her voice is so monotonous. The content was very interesting though and made me realize as a white person that I need to change some my attitudes and perspectives where people of colour are concerned. It made me realize that as someone socialized as white, I really have no clue what it’s like to grow up in a racist society. I can do better and I’m grateful that this book showed me where some of my biases lie and that I can do better.

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  • TArnold
  • 2018-08-07

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.

68 of 73 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-08-06

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.

178 of 193 people found this review helpful

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  • Louisa
  • 2018-11-01

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.

31 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephen Logusz
  • 2019-02-20

Terrible Reader Very Dissapointed

I couldn't even stand to start the book. The reader's voice is unbearable and I'm very dissapointed because it is such an important book.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • John Abdul-Masih
  • 2019-01-08

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.

99 of 112 people found this review helpful

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  • Sean A. Conley
  • 2019-06-22

"Oh, you're not a racist!?-YES YOU ARE!!!"

So this entire book is full of baseless assertions.

If you're white and agree with her, then you're a racist. If you're a white person and disagree with her, then you're a racist. To this author, you're automatically a racist simply if you're white.

That's it.

No explanation other than reasserting that claim and just when you think she's going somewhere-boom, another baseless assertion.

If you disagree, then she'll smugly opine about how "predictable" that is. She'll explain that diversity is important and that this is only an issue in western civilizations amongst many other bald claims. I've lived in Nepal, Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan, Australia (you get the point) and no, race is strangely a human thing. It's not just an evil western white person thing. She doesn't ever go into an actual argument for any of her assertions and pompously gives an air of superior (oh the irony).

Basically, if you want to listen to an SJW make assertions over and over again, YouTube is cheaper. If however the thought of someone farting in your ears turns you on, give this audiobook a shot-you won't be disappointed :)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Chloe
  • 2019-03-02

Robotic emotionless reading! Just shoot me!

I don’t know if this was a joke or what? The robotic readers voice offers no help to follow the thread or story. The whole book sounded like a thousand staccato unrelated sentences. The only time I thought there was any emotion in her voice came off as sarcasm! This was awful I tried to listen to it twice and you just get so mad at her fake robotic privileged sounding voice!

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Happy Cat
  • 2019-01-31

I wanted to like it, but ...

I wanted to like this book, but I didn't. I found "The Hate U Give" and "You Can't Touch My Hair" more informative about how to be a better anti-racist ally.

For me, this book was too scientific for too long. Over 90% of it was convincing the white reader that they are racist. Okay, got it less than 1/2 way through. So, how do I counteract my racism according to the author: "research it, there's a lot of resources." Ummm... sure, but that is what I thought I was doing when I read this book.

Part of my problem with this book is that I had amazingly wonderful anti-racism trainers when I took ERACCE training in Michigan. It's a training like this woman speaks of, except, I found it much more helpful. The trainers were relatable. This woman seems too stiff and strict to make one WANT to be an anti-racist ally.

When she finally did get to some things we can do, she never mentioned that our voting matters. This was part of my anti-racism training. It is not good enough that I work to end racism where ever in my life I am able (home, school, work, etc.), but also to vote for people who will work to end our nation's systemic racism that impact our justice, education, and housing systems (just to name a few). Also, that we need to belong to groups that want to work on anti-racism. Community is vital to this endeavor, and the book only talks about the individual.

I can see the value in some of this text, but I won't recommend it as a resource without several caveats: Too scientific, too much time on convincing white folks they are racist, and no mention of voting or working together with your community to end racism.

If you ever get the chance to take the ERACCE ant-racism training in Kalamazoo, I strongly encourage it. The trainers were relatable and successful in teaching the white people in the room that we are benefiting from white privilege and that we need to use that to fight racism in every possible way.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • D. Webster
  • 2019-02-28

Robot Narrator

I love this book but getting through it is like biting on tinfoil. The narrator sounds like an AI voice on an automatic phone menu at a bank. "For account information... choose... ONE!" So hard to listen to. I REALLY hope it gets re-released with a different voice artist. I know this is just an opinion and apologize to this narrator but her delivery was so weirdly flat and overly dramatic to my ear. Again- important content, I recommend highly... aside from the reader.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • iam1ru12
  • 2019-02-15

grateful for this information

I believe everyone should read this book and take to heart the information and opinions herein. we all can learn to love and respect each other more deeply. thank you thank you thank you

2 of 2 people found this review helpful