WHITE FRAGILITY

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1. White people in North America live in a social environment protecting and insulating them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds White expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress, leading to White Fragility. White Fragility is 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. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium. This paper explicates the dynamics of White Fragility.

2. White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress be- comes 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.

3. White Fragility is the thing which restricts your knowledge, shuts down conversations before they start, and invites you to lie to yourselves.

4. White people invent different ways to either wriggle out of, dominate, or shut down the conversation.

5. There are a lot of reasons White people have such a low threshold for discomfort. For one, they tend to lead segregated lives, and think of themselves as individuals as opposed to members of a group. They receive constant messages Whiteness is valuable, and they’re used to feeling a sense of belonging in most spaces. All of this leads to a huge sense of entitlement to being not only comfortable, but correct, at all times. Even once they are exposed to the existence of these dynamics they are often at a loss as to how to talk about it. They do everything to avoid talking about race in any real way, including saying nonsense like “Mohammad Ali transcended race” when we really mean “Ali was retroactively deemed safe by fragile White people.”

6. White people are lazy; they expect to be served knowledge about race and racism in palatable doses, they have the ability to actively seek knowledge and understanding, yet so many don’t put in the effort to do so. The work of seeing the barriers to true meritocracy, the work of putting themselves in the shoes of Black people to learn more about their experiences and perceptions, the work of understanding how being white has shaped their worldview and self-perceptions, and the work of gaining the skills of deciphering and managing cross-racial and cultural dynamics. That’s a lot of work, but without it you cannot create fundamental change in your sphere of influence.

7. They (racist government systems) try to criminalize our children from the time they can walk. Incarceration is the new slavery. It breaks up black families and takes away any power we have. Our young male black children are suspended, expelled, profiled, arrested for things that whites would not be over and over until they are finally locked up often for things they would not lock up a white person for. Not to mention the beatings and killings by law enforcement and the courts look the other way.

8. List of things that cause White people racial stress, and why:

white-people-stress