Skip to main content

You make this possible. Support our independent, nonprofit newsroom today.

Give Now

Robin DiAngelo: 'I think you’re racist. I think I am, too.'

caption: Author Robin DiAngelo
Enlarge Icon
Author Robin DiAngelo

The term “white fragility” was coined by the Seattle-based educator and author Robin DiAngelo.

She defines it as “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence and leaving the stress-inducing situation.”

DiAngelo’s new book is “White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.” Her book and this talk are perhaps the necessary starting place from which the beneficiaries of systematic racism and institutional power can begin to correct that injustice.

With humor, hard-earned knowledge and humility, DiAngelo illuminates the issues we face as a culture and points to highly relatable methods of repair.

Author Michael Eric Dyson said this in his foreword to the book: “'White Fragility' is a vital, necessary and beautiful book, a bracing call to white folk everywhere to see their whiteness for what it is and to seize the opportunity to make things better now.”

DiAngelo received her doctorate in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington. Her area of research is in Whiteness Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis. She 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 has been a consultant and trainer on issues of racial and social justice for over 20 years.

DiAngelo spoke on June 28 at the Seattle Public Library’s Central Library.

Please note: this talk contains unedited language of an adult nature.

Listen to the full version below: 

Why you can trust KUOW