I myself was recently criticizing Robin DiAngelo because her work talks past Black people to fellow white people. In the wake of George Floyd’s brutal murder, there were a lot of people who were buying her book White Fragility and reading that instead of books by people of color. This concerned me, and so I wrote about it and expressed my concern in a blog post on July of last year.
However, I just watched Dr. DiAngelo (it starts at 27 minutes into the video) at New Beginnings Christian Fellowship, a predominantly Black church in Kent, WA, and was blown away. Several things were striking.
- She repeatedly used “we” when talking about white people and she never absolved herself of guilt. I have noticed, upon reflection, that I have been saying “they” as if I was above this white supremacy culture merely by knowing about its existence. The effect of her speaking, if you watch the video, is very disarming – or so it seems – on the Black people listening. She is truly taking responsibility for white supremacy and therefore is a moral leader.
- If it’s not white fragility that her video was taken down on LinkedIn, I don’t know what is. (For an article about the controversy, click here)
- No one is talking about how she hadn’t even approved the video and hadn’t made the slides that generated such ire. (For her own public statement on this see her website here)
I think there is a lot going on under the surface, but it is ludicrous not to say that the right also has its own cancel culture.
I support DiAngelo wholeheartedly and am so looking forward to her forthcoming book. In a Biden presidency we need her more than ever because racism will go underground again. And don’t forget that times are always changing, so no sociological work will be timeless, but that her book White Fragility changed my life. And she really stands strong and in full solidarity with Black people. To me, her work is one of many lenses I use when analyzing and writing about racism. It’s not the only lens, nor should it be, but it is foundational to my self-understanding as a white woman. Thank you, Dr. DiAngelo, for your support of the Black community. We don’t always agree, but I’m standing by you in full solidarity amidst this chaos.