It is the antidote to the hopeless, internalised and individualised world view on offer inside the pages of White Fragility. “White fragility” refers to the defensiveness that, in US academic and corporate diversity trainer [Robin] DiAngelo’s schema, all white people exhibit when challenged about racism. It is “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress ... becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves [including] the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation”. Such defensiveness is “born of superiority and entitlement” and “a powerful means of white racial control and the protection of white advantage”.
It is impossible, according to this logic, for a white person ever to behave in anything other than a racist manner. They either accept their racism, and pay someone like DiAngelo to help probe its depths, or dispute it, and in so doing confirm their own prejudice and compound the transgression through denial. It is the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy, or lucrative business model if you happen to be in the diversity business. [...]
As with other manifestations of this conservative anti-racism, White Fragility offers no solution to the systemic, structural basis of racism. It has no answer to the question of how to change a society that continually reinforces racist attitudes through forcing Black people into low paid jobs and poor quality housing, denying them basic social services and victimising them through state violence and the prison system. [...]
Structural racism is not caused by micro-aggressions, objectionable though they may be. Nor do all white people have a hand in maintaining this reality – many of the same policies and social dynamics that keep Black people down also work against poor and working class white people. Racism is the product of an economic system structured to maximise the exploitation of those without significant wealth of their own, both Black and white. In this system, differences among the exploited – whether race, gender, age, sexuality, nationality or immigration status – are seized on to intensify the degree of exploitation for particular groups, sow division or coerce unpaid labour from them.