I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion but Robin DiAngelo’s book is not completely useless. Yes, she’s a hack, a race hustler, and an untalented author with poor writing skills. But there is a kernel of truth in her badly written book. It should have been named “White Upper Middle Class Leftist Lady Fragility,” and it would be a lot less controversial.
The phenomenon DiAngelo describes is real. People like her do feel uncomfortable around African Americans. And that discomfort manifests in weird ways. What is this current moment if not a manifestation of white fragility? This completely overwrought emotional reaction that we are witnessing, what else is it? What Rod described in yesterday’s post, what is it if not fragility in the face of history?
The author and her fans project their discomfort onto everybody else but it’s not any less real because they can’t define it properly. And it’s not only black people they can’t stand to be around. It’s immigrants, it’s working classes, it’s Trump supporters. By God, we’ve been witnessing a massive 4-year-long freakout by the Robin DiAngelos of the world to the fact that they lost an election. I don’t know a better word to describe their reaction than fragility.
The more comfortable and problem-free your existence has been, the less tolerance for frustration do you get to develop. It’s like little kids who never hear the word “no” and the first time their whims aren’t satisfied, they have a massive meltdown. As a mother of a small child, I recognize a tantrum when I see one. These riots are one huge tantrum of the privileged that some unprivileged are using to improve their financial standing either by looting a Nike store or by getting promoted at work.
I think that reading this book is useful because it brings people face to face with the cringing, wriggling, intolerable discomfort they experience. The only way to develop a tolerance for discomfort is to keep experiencing it. So I say, let them. Let them finally realize that they suffer from fragility and it’s deeply annoying to everybody else.