March 18, 2015
It's Not My Fault I React Badly to Accusations of Racism
Did I argue against accusations of racism? I'm very sorry: I know that my arguments can't possibly have any intellectual merit, but I have to say them. Not because I'm not racist -- clearly I am, mea maxima culpa -- but because I'm fragile.
[Robin DiAngelo, professor of multicutural education at Westfield State University and author of What Does it Mean to Be White? Developing White Racial Literacy, has] heard it so many times, in fact, that she came up with a term for it: "white fragility," which she defined in a 2011 journal article as “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include outward display of emotions such as anger, fear and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence and leaving the stress-inducing situation.”
So, as it turns out, any reaction I have will show how fragile I am. If I argue, I'm fragile. If I keep quiet and refuse to argue, I'm fragile. If I walk away, I'm fragile. I didn't realize that my fragility was so pervasive in my psyche. I thought that maybe there might be some way of talking about race -- other than genuflection at the liberal altar -- that wouldn't show off my fragility. But it's not the case.
It's so nice to be properly diagnosed after all these years. I apologize for my skin color and leave the field to my moral and intellectual betters.