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White Fragility

Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Written by: Robin DiAngelo
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Length: 6 hrs and 20 mins
4 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo.  

Anger. Fear. Guilt. Denial. Silence. 

These are the ways in which ordinary white people react when it is pointed out to them that they have done or said something that has - unintentionally - caused racial offence or hurt. After, all, a racist is the worst thing a person can be, right? But these reactions only serve to silence people of colour, who cannot give honest feedback to 'liberal' white people lest they provoke a dangerous emotional reaction.   

Robin DiAngelo coined the term 'White Fragility' in 2011 to describe this process and is here to show us how it serves to uphold the system of white supremacy. Using knowledge and insight gained over decades of running racial awareness workshops and working on this idea as a Professor of Whiteness Studies, she shows us how we can start having more honest conversations, listen to each other better and react to feedback with grace and humility. It is not enough to simply hold abstract progressive views and condemn the obvious racists on social media - change starts with us all at a practical, granular level, and it is time for all white people to take responsibility for relinquishing their own racial supremacy.  

©2019 Robin DiAngelo (P)2019 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic Reviews

"With clarity and compassion, DiAngelo allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to 'bad people'. In doing so, she moves our national discussions forward. This is a necessary book for all people invested in societal change." (Claudia Rankine)

"By turns mordant and then inspirational, an argument that powerful forces and tragic histories stack the deck fully against racial justice alongside one that we need only to be clearer, try harder, and do better." (David Roediger, Los Angeles Review of Books)

"The value in White Fragility lies in its methodical, irrefutable exposure of racism in thought and action, and its call for humility and vigilance." (Katy Waldman, New Yorker

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What listeners say about White Fragility

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Pointless

I found this very heard to listen to. A non stop barrage of accusations with nothing to gain at the end of it. What a waste of time. It's like listening to a nagging partner.

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  • Joshua Marcus
  • 21-07-19

Important read, but reader is robotic

White Fragility is an important read for every white person. Robin DiAngelo details why it is so hard for us to talk about racism without automatically going on the offensive. Particularly poignant is her discussion on how we view racism as good vs bad. Because we equate racism with bad people, any indication of racism feels like a huge moral failing on our part. Unfortunately, towards the end of the book, she becomes quite preachy and assumes a tone of judgement of people who react to white fragility, which is a little off-putting. The reader is supposedly a person but sounds like a robot. Most of the time she is understandable, but when she gets to long sentences – especially those with complex sentence structure and parenthesis like this one – the lack of appropriate expression is problematic. I recommend reading in 1.25x speed.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-06-19

An awesome understanding of white fragility!

The book gave me as a person of color outside the USA, in a country where aparthied continues to linger, a good perspective and understanding of white fragility. A good read for all, the hopefully is much more than a good read for those who do.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 29-04-19

A must read for all

A challenging yet encouraging articulation of the work to be done by us all !

1 person found this helpful

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  • Haim Shalom
  • 18-09-20

good book. bad narration.

the narrator sounded like a does up robot trying to seduce you, but apart from that, great book. very important.

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  • Noha E.
  • 13-09-20

Encouraging differences

This is a very insightful book as it confirmed in my view how the widening of differences between whites and other races is widened by books similar to this one which promote the differences rather than the common grounds between races.

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 17-07-20

Crude assumptions with little empirical research

I am searching ways I can increase my awareness of the global issue of racism, and although this book enabled me to see certain emotions and discomfort that I feel when engaging in a conversation about race, I feel the book is laced with over generalizations and crude assumptions with reference to very little empirical research referenced not to mentioned all the Kafka traps laid out. Robin DiAngelo leaves very little room for opposing arguments which make the book difficult to take seriously. For those wishing to inform themselves on racism, give this ago but first ready up on Critical Race Theory and it’s problems. Much love everyone.

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  • Fred
  • 30-06-20

Not the best voice actor, but book changed my life

The book to start on if you are white and unsure about what exactly is going on with race and racism Not the best voice actor though. don't let that stop you from opening your world view though!

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  • Michael
  • 03-06-20

Very repetitive, very preachy, poorly evidenced

There are definitely some thought-provoking bits to this book. I am glad I read it. But.... 1) It is very repetitive. By the end I was thinking - 'yes, you've said this 10 times already'. 2) Most of the book rests on nothing more than anecdote from the author's facilitation of classes. Good quality evidence is the exception rather than the norm. 3) The tone is very preachy. 4) The author redefines words (like 'racism' and 'white supremacist') away from their common English usage to a meaning that fits and supports the authors preferred theory. She then complains that the people in classes she facilitates use the normal/traditional use of these terms rather than her preferred novel definition.

67 people found this helpful

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  • AJ
  • 12-06-20

Pseudoscientific and un-constructive

The book is underpinned with the important idea that racial prejudice runs deep and is manifested in many ways beyond the most obvious. It follows that we should all make an effort to understand those more subtle systems and do what we can to step away from them. My hope was that DiAngelo would help shed light on those systems in more detail and offer some substantiated ideas about how to progress. Instead, the focus of the book is crafting an absurd kafka trap to dismantle all objection to an ideology. Simply, any disagreement with her theory on racism is proof of racism. She doesn't offer meaningful lessons or solutions, in fact, she goes as far as to suggest that focussing on solutions is in fact racist. If you want to know how to win arguments in bad faith and discredit anyone who disagrees, you might get something from this book. If you want to broaden your understanding of racial prejudice and learn about solutions, look elsewhere.

56 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 31-05-20

Awful narration

Really struggling to follow the very dull robotic narration, don't bother with the audio book, buy a physical copy

52 people found this helpful

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  • No Rocket Scientist
  • 08-06-20

6.5 hour workshop commercial

Meh. Summary. Unfalsifiable argument. All whites are racist...walk the tight rope between being a white saviour and an ally...be-less-white. Emporer's new clothes argument...if you dont agree you must be stupid/racist. Okay...very logical... Looking forward to Candace Owen's book Blackout for hopefully a different perspective.

35 people found this helpful

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  • P. Kidd
  • 04-06-20

The narration is excruciating!

I have not listened to this book as the pace and tone of the narration jars so much I am going to have to buy the written version. The paper version was not available which was why I bought this. Don't bother!

24 people found this helpful

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  • Mgomezulu
  • 07-06-20

Awful voice

The voice sounds like an AI voice reading a pdf document... sorry I bought it, should have bought the hard copy...

21 people found this helpful

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  • Tich
  • 12-04-19

White Fragility - Paradigm Shift

This book is so important! It has given me a better understanding of how and why we are where we are when dealing with and discussing the impact of racism and white supremacy. As an African man working in corporate settings that are predominantly white, I feel more equipped to discuss race-related topics with friends, colleagues and clients of all races. The learning has just begun and I have a long and hard road ahead of me but at least books like this can act as a compass to help guide the way and promote continual learning.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Paul Phillips
  • 03-06-20

Don't waste your time or money!!

I found it very disappointing after reading all the positive reviews, poor content and continually repetitive of the same points and references. Finished the book to see if would get any better but sadly not. There must be better books that cover this issue..

19 people found this helpful

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  • Debi
  • 27-02-20

Fantastic content, awful narration

I found this book to be challenging and interesting. I would recommend it to anyone who is wanting to examine their own racism and how to "do better". However, I found the narration to be tedious, monotone and made me want to frequently give up. I pushed through (I'm glad I did), but not without effort.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Tea
  • 15-06-20

Sounds like it’s read by Siri

I guess that the content was good but I couldn’t get over the monotonous American narrator.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-06-20

Dangerously devoid of reality

White fragility is a collection of haphazard personal anecdotes which are collated and used to claim a universal understanding of societal racism. The author is very unorganised and unprofessional in her thinking focusing only on white and black people to create her narrative while completely ignoring the Asian and Indian experiences. She attacks the concept of Individualism yet aims to solve racism through individual self reflection, seeking to both absolve individuls of autonomy whilst also holding them accountable. Di Angelo attacks objectivity, yet claims racism and white supremacy as a universal truths whilst also taking thinly veiled swipes at Democracy, Capitalism and Meritocracy as social goals to strive for. Di Angelo attempts to break down the good-bad dichotomy of racism, so as to no longer need to hold individuals to account for the intent of their actions only the outcome on others. This makes sense when understanding the emotions of victemhood as uncontrollable, however she then preceded to hold white woman to account for their emotions. Overall the book was like an ingrown hair with the the author so clearly lost in the fight against racism that she has lost a grip on reality in the pursuit of tactical maneuverings in the culture war.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs R Sheward
  • 29-01-20

narrator very poor

a very important piece of writing an opportunity to exam my own part of white race. unfortunately it sounded like a Google text to speech was reading it. very it too hard to listen to the tone and rythem of narrator for very long.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Lizzay
  • 21-05-19

This is exactly what I needed to read

I rarely give reviews but this book hit me so hard I just needed to. I HIGHLY recommend ALL white people read this book, it's comfronting and eye-opening!! A must read!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-05-20

Every White person should read this book!

I think this book should be part of school required reading. And I think that if you are a person of colour this book as a gift to your white friends would only be a good thing if they are wanting to have a genuine friendship of any kind with you. also I think white fragility has a tendency to Gaslight people of colour without even realising it, and to know you have the ability to slip into doing so when you genuinely don't want to be, can only help stop one's selves from doing so.... I just really think this book showed me how many areas I could be doing better in and has truly been so helpful to me in my understanding of how to do better and be better for the people of colour in my life who I want to have true and genuine friendship /relationships / interactions with. To be/behave worthy of their trust, love and respect.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-07-20

Hard to listen to but worth the effort.

So much of this book resonates with me in enlightening but often painful ways. I've become more aware in recent years how privileged my life has been as a white male growing up in a white society and that the rhetoric around people of colour, (particularly Aboriginal people in Australia) just doesn't hold together. The authors message is confronting but too truthful to ignore. Thankyou. This is a book I need to listen to a few times over.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jill Andrews
  • 30-06-20

Transformative!

I started the book as one person, and ended it another. My quest for self education will continue.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-12-19

White people must read this.

Powerful. Challenging. An incredible reality check. This is a brilliant book for any white person but I strongly encourage anyone who think they're "woke" or that they're "an ally" can use this as a growth opportunity

1 person found this helpful

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  • Book Reader 13
  • 17-08-20

Just listen

DiAngelo is one of the world's most respected academics on the subject of race, so this isn't about opinion, this is about reality, backed up with empirical research and data. It may be uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean it is anything other than right. The only issue is the lady reading it. She sounds like a computer-generated voice, making it really unengaging - which for a subject like this is a problem. The monotony and lack of inflexion are seriously soporific

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-08-20

A lesson in life

I would like to point out I read this with an open mind as a white person and realised how little I understood racism. This has opened my eyes and empowered me to study and analyse why we are this way and written my own book “People are Dumb” and made reference to this absolute truth why white people are so fragile. I want to thank you for your devotion to this subject and encourage you to continue your great work.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-07-20

Great story terrible performance

Such a shame having read the book thought I’d listen to it too. The performance is stilted and almost robotic like sounds “Siri” like in tone no emotion. Couldn’t listen to it