White Fragility

White people, we need to talk about white fragility.

What is it, you ask?


If we have to be honest, we all suffer from this to some extent. Even allies, ESPECIALLY allies, need to check ourselves often, and if a conversation is being derailed by white feelings, bring it back to what really matter.

This check list with four questions to ask yourself during a debate/converstation, might be useful, but feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

1. Am I trying to change the subject? (More often than not by using terms like: “Arguing on Facebook is pointless.” or “ALL lives matter!” or “Why are we talking about this when we’ve got ___ to worry about?!”)

2. Am I using inappropriate humor to deflect? (We’ve all seen the variations of the Black Lives Matter memes.)

3. Am I getting defensive or angry? (It’s understandable, hearing that you’re part of the problem will hurt. We are conditioned to believe that problems are always another race’s fault. See it for what it is.)

4. Am I going out of my way not to focus on “the negative?” (It might sound awesome to focus on the positive, and let love lead and all that wholesome goodness. But. Don’t minimize black pain and anger.

Further reading:

  • http://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/viewFile/249/116 (PDF)
  • https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/white-fragility-why-its-so-hard-to-talk-to-white-people-about-racism-twlm/
  • http://www.alternet.org/culture/why-white-people-freak-out-when-theyre-called-out-about-race
  • http://www.salon.com/2016/07/18/white_fragility_is_real_4_questions_white_people_should_ask_themselves_during_discussions_about_race/
  • Perhaps even join the Rainbow Racist Rehab Group on Facebook.
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