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Is white fragility real? Show more Show less
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In July 2020, "White Fragility" topped the New York Times Bestseller list. Though two years had passed since its publication, protests following George Floyd's murder thrust its controversial theory of race back into the mainstream. Written by University of Washington Professor Robin DiAngelo, the book claims that white people sustain racism by refusing to engage with it. The idea assumes that white people consider themselves the "default" race, and actively avoid and undermine challenges to this worldview. As the thesis has gained traction, it has also come under criticism for being reductive and choosing to see entire populations based on race. So, who are the groups forming around this debate, what do they believe and why?

Yes, white fragility is real Show more Show less

This group believes that white fragility is evidenced in our lived experience. Internalised bias is an essential part of the white experience, which drives systemic racism.
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White fragility looks at how white people become defensive when racism is discussed

Raising racism emotionally triggers white people. This reaction ensures white people do not have to engage with the issue.
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Context

White fragility exists and it is predicated on the historical analysis and suffering of the Black People.

The Argument

White fragility contextually has pre-dominantly manifested itself through power particularly political power, social power and economic power. The killing of George Floyd and the widespread protests that followed have brought into the open the systems of racism embedded in powerful American institutions such as law enforcement. Reimagining those institutions so they earn the trust of all Americans is the work of today but also of generations to come, an arduous and complicated effort to root out a serious problem in American society. Racism is a system that is infused and embedded across aspects of society, and white people need to grapple with how this system has shaped us, and understand that we collude with that system regardless of our intentions. There is guilt and a kind of moral trauma at the profound history of harm that our society has perpetrated toward people of color—African-Americans, in particular.

Counter arguments

White fragility is absolutely not real. In 2019, a HuffPost/YouGov poll asked people: “Just your impression, in the United States today, is there a lot of discrimination against white people, or not?” Overall, 36 % of respondents said yes, with 46 % saying no. This 46% shows that most white people do not feel like they are being discriminated against. Another study by the Wall-street Journal was done when they asked registered voters: “For each of the following groups, please tell me whether you feel that they are receiving too many special advantages, receiving fair treatment, or are being discriminated against.” Among white voters, 17 percent said that whites are being discriminated against; 6 percent of black voters and 9 percent of Hispanic voters agreed that whites suffer from discrimination.

Framing

This argument is in the context of institutional suffering at the hands of white people.[1]

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/1963-malcolm-x-racial-separation/

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020 at 03:13 UTC

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