White Fragility Gives White People Another Tool to Avoid Race

It isn’t a secret that white people often actively avoid the topics of race and racism.  One of the biggest tools at white people’s disposal is their privilege (which ironically they rarely recognize they have).  Another powerful tool that white people use is called white fragility.  White fragility is a product of the white dominated environments that whites live in.  These environments give white people the assumption that they should always be “racially comfortable.”  A bi-product of this is that white people have a lowered ability to tolerate racial stress.  The end product is white fragility which is defined as a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves (DiAngelo).  These reactions to racial stress can range anywhere from an outward display of strong emotions such as guilt or anger, to behaviors such as arguing, leaving the room due to how uncomfortable the situation is, to even complete silence.  These behaviors and emotions give the white person the opportunity to change the subject from race to themselves.  This is yet another example of how white people center themselves.  They hold their racial comfortability as more important than any racial issue that could possibly be at hand.  This re-centering of whiteness ensures no racial progress can be made.

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