Ep. 41: An Interview With Author Robin DiAngelo

Special Guest: Dr. Robin DiAngelo has a PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2004 and is a two-time winner of the Student’s Choice Award for Educator of the Year at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work. She is the author of White Fragility, Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk about Racism (2018), and What Does It Mean to Be White: Developing White Literacy (2012). Check out this NEWLY RELEASED, FREE White Fragility Reader’s Guide

We were elated to conduct this interview! Some highlights of the conversation include:

  • A description of “whiteness studies”.

  • The elevation of white people as the norm for humanity which reproduces white supremacy & white fragility when you challenge it.

  • No matter where you travel in the world, white fragility is the SAME (even if the history of the region is different).

  • Anti-blackness is EVERYWHERE--doesn’t matter what country (ex. Aboriginals in Australia and Native people in Canada).

  • White people don’t understand that we bring our histories to each situation. In particular, teachers bring this history of harm, especial for students of color. Teachers get offended rather than understanding the context of time and place. See the example of The Citadel, an all-male military school.

  • Race work is sometimes “only” given to people of color which reinforces the notion that we’re racially innocent. There is no “clean” space outside white supremacy.

  • A mapping out of Mark Meadows white fragility in response to Tlaib’s speech

  • People have a hard time talking about race because they are afraid of being called a racist and want to point out all the ways they aren’t a racist.

  • They want to be divorced from that term. In particular, white men get to yell and shout and be victims when they want to.

  • Advice for white parents: Slow it down, do your own work around your whiteness. When children of color (with white parents)  have some structural analysis they do better--it’s not just about “something is wrong with me”. Check out DiAngelo’s resources for white parents.

The interview questions were listener-driven. Shout out to: Jennifer B, John M, Shannon M, Marguerite M, Siri K, Jacquie J, Stephen M, and Hilary S.

Do Your Fudging Homework:

Read Less Basic Book Club: White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Discussion Highlights Include:

  • Passages that resonated with us - insights, challenges, surprises, and takeaways

  • Discussion around the  idea that “Racism is a structure, not an event,” (J. Kēhaulani Kauanui)

  • Colorblindness and associated issues

  • White women’s tears

  • Personal experiences dealing with racism as perpetrators or bystanders and how white people must disrupt racism to make any meaningful change

  • Lessons from the book that we can apply to our everyday lives and next steps

Listener To Do List:

  • Read White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo so this episode makes sense

  • Reach out to IWL on social media if you have questions for Robin DiAngelo - we’re interviewing her in early March!

  • Become a subscribing member of Channel 253

  • Borrow or buy (at your favorite local bookstore) our next #readlessbasic book - White Rage by Carol Anderson