Prof hosts workshop on ‘how racism shapes white identity’

A University of Washington lecturer recently hosted a “white fragility workshop” for Seattle residents “interested in deepening their understanding of how racism shapes white identity.”

Dr. Robin DiAngelo, an academic who has built her career on studying whiteness, facilitated the sold-out workshop, which was so well received the first time around that she tacked on a second date.

According to a Facebook page for the event, participants explored the concept of “white fragility,” a term DiAngelo coined in one of her books on the topic.

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“This workshop will provide an in-depth analysis of the specific ways that racism manifests through white fragility,” the description explains. “White fragility is the concept that due to living in a social environment that insulates them from racial stress, whites have not had to build their capacity for constructive cross-racial engagement.”

Consequently, white people “often respond poorly to challenges to our racial worldviews,” the description continues, encouraging anyone interested in discovering how “racism shapes white identity” to attend the workshop.

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Fox News reports that the 3-hour lecture was sponsored by Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture, which has an operating budget of $8.3 million, yet attendees were still asked to pay a $60 admission fee.

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Expanding on the concept of “white fragility” in a recent appearance on The Philippe Matthews Show, DiAngelo remarked that her work in the field has brought her to the conclusion that white people’s reactions to discussions of race are “predictable.”

“We get collectively socialized as white people, and part of that socialization is not to see ourselves as white at all—to see ourselves as individuals, etcetera,” she asserted. “Fragility I think is: I can’t handle it, I have to get back on my equilibrium and, of course, for white people racial equilibrium is: I’m in control, I’m in charge, the status quo is intact, I’m not going to have to answer to anything racially.”

Notably, DiAngelo is herself white, and says that her theory came from years of experiencing her peers’ inability to confront or talk about racism.

Campus Reform attempted to contact DiAngelo directly in addition to inquiring with both the University of Washington and Sound Generations, where she serves as Director of Equity, but had not received any responses by press time.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski