Leadership · Curriculum · Lifelong Learning

Blogger’s Note: I can’t believe I was waiting to finish the whole book before pausing to reflect on parts of the book. To be able to choose when I want to “study these topics” or “have this conversation” exemplifies my white privilege. To “share my research” from my context of total whiteness will eventually reveal my implicit bias. To be worried about what other white people might think about my reflections exemplifies my white fragility. I acknowledge this. I’m not an expert on racism, equity, or history. I’m learning. My audience is myself. This reflection is for me. On my journey of listening, researching, and analyzing, I’m reflecting on the parts of White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism that have especially impacted my life–and continue to enhance my perspecitve. I’m seeking to learn and grow. End Blogger’s Note.

Throughout my conversations with fellow white people on racism, I see many similarities. Although uniquely individual, some of the same patterns of thought emerge. Some of the same beliefs trend. Some of the same reactions prevail.

Yet, learning to see the work of undoing racism as a continual process and not as a fixed mindset or a switch to be flipped with only performative allyship and social media posts (as if to autocorrect 400+ years of systemic racism) can be life-changing.

As of today, I’ve only read chapters 1-2 (through p. 38).

Originally, I was going to segment this post into these sections:

1–Racism–An Interconnected System

Understanding racism as an historical, comprehensive structure and not [only] as singular events committed by individual racists can shift a mindset.

2–What Do These Words and Phrases Mean?

Understanding the context and semantics of powerful phrases like white privilege, white supremacy, white fragility, whiteness, passing, implicit bias, and so many more can inspire white readers to lean into crucial conversations about racism rather than potentially going on the defense at any given moment.  

3–What Are My [Most Appropriate] Next Steps?

Perhaps, it’s the most meaningful question of all. Yet, the answer is specific to the individual. While posting the black square may have been a good-hearted gesture, diving deeper to invest in sustainable change isn’t… Instagrammable.

Each of those sections could be a separate blog, chapter, or book in themselves. Yet, it feels like trying to capture 400+ years of USA history in a post like this literally doesn’t do it justice. Therefore, I’m not going to elaborate anymore at this time. I simply can’t add any more meaning or personal perspective to what the author so explicitly states.

Author Robin DiAngelo says it best. Her words speak volumes.

In my archive “@KyleHamstra #whitefragility,” I’ve captured some takeaways that were especially impactful to me. Here are a few thoughts from my reading so far:

2 Replies to “Book Review: White Fragility–Part I”

  • Like you, I am reading White Fragility, and just trying to take it all in. This is the first book I’ve ever read on racism. Fortunately one of my friends and colleagues is also reading it so we are able to have conversation around it as we work together this summer. I’m looking forward to your additional posts as you read diAngelo’s book.

    • Thank you for stopping by and for reading, Jen! I really appreciate it. I think one of the most valuable things we can do in our learning journeys is to live the experience with others. Collaboration is crucial in our everyday work, and, when it’s lifelong learning for the sake of learning, it’s all the more meaningful. I’d love to know your thoughts on your reading so far, and I’m wondering if you’re composing any reflections, and ones that you may want to share? Are you a part of any book study groups for this particular book? I’ll be reaching out to you soon. I think learning is better when shared together. Thanks again, Jen!

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