Author Topic: White Fragility  (Read 12468 times)

Rev Geminn

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Re: White Fragility
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2020, 12:31:25 PM »
Respectfully, I disagree, the book is pretty bad.  And Taibbi's criticism is, imo, on point.  It isn't to say that there aren't some good things that can be gleaned from it, but DiAngelo makes some really gross assertions because of her foundational methodology. Her take on Jackie Robinson is historically inaccurate (pg. 26). Her claim that racism today is more sinister than the Jim Crow era is problematic and she doesn't support it with data or a footnote (pg. 50).  Having read it I couldn't help but equate white fragility with the notion of original sin; they run parallel to one another in the way she frames the issue.  It is a new form of religiosity in an age of disenchantment.
The text on p. 50 reads:
"I am often asked if I think the younger generation is less racist. No, I don't. In some ways, racism's adaptations over time are more sinister than concrete rules such as Jim Crow. The adaptations produce the same outcome (people of color are blocked from moving forward) but have been put in place by a dominant white society that won't or can't admit to its beliefs. This intransigence results in another pillar of white fragility: the refusal to know."

That ends a chapter. What data or footnote do you think she should have put there?

Peace,
Michael

Sure, give concrete examples of where things are far more sinister than Jim Crow and not just some abstract notion like implicit bias.  I mean Jim Crow was pretty darn bad; that was institutional racism.  Certainly, racism is an issue in our culture, but by making such statements she's going into very dangerous places.

Peace,
Scott+

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: White Fragility
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2020, 12:59:58 PM »
As she says, "Most white people do not identify with these images of white supremacists and so take great umbrage to the term being used more broadly."

Peace,
Michael

I certainly agree with that sentiment.  It's a bait and switch from where I stand.

I'd wager most people who hear "TEh pRezIDenT is A wHitE SupRemICAST" on social media don't have in mind the "sociological meaning" (that is, the meaning sociologists attached to an already existent description of hate groups).

Yes, I would agree, it uses specific terminology ie signifiers, but does so very broadly.  So broadly that out of the gate persons are immediately cornered and labeled.  Thus, the defensiveness, which Diangelo calls "white fragility".  She is setting people up to fail.  Thus, anyone who agrees with her can read what I wrote and claim that I suffer from white fragility.  In a matter of seconds I can be generalized and dismissed.  It is incredibly dehumanizing.


Maybe that's a point. We, white folks, are put in the position of being "generalized and dismissed" and dehumanized.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

readselerttoo

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Re: White Fragility
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2020, 01:41:40 PM »
As she says, "Most white people do not identify with these images of white supremacists and so take great umbrage to the term being used more broadly."

Peace,
Michael

I certainly agree with that sentiment.  It's a bait and switch from where I stand.

I'd wager most people who hear "TEh pRezIDenT is A wHitE SupRemICAST" on social media don't have in mind the "sociological meaning" (that is, the meaning sociologists attached to an already existent description of hate groups).

Yes, I would agree, it uses specific terminology ie signifiers, but does so very broadly.  So broadly that out of the gate persons are immediately cornered and labeled.  Thus, the defensiveness, which Diangelo calls "white fragility".  She is setting people up to fail.  Thus, anyone who agrees with her can read what I wrote and claim that I suffer from white fragility.  In a matter of seconds I can be generalized and dismissed.  It is incredibly dehumanizing.


Maybe that's a point. We, white folks, are put in the position of being "generalized and dismissed" and dehumanized.

Good point.  Generalization about any group has implicit dehumanization at the forefront.  In this way, no one has a "face" any longer but simply conforms to a group image, a public image.  That is dangerous for white privilege as well as for BLM, Anti-Fa or MAGA, etc.  The only way toward healing is in Jesus' teaching others and individuals, in how he does, to whom he teaches and what it is that he teaches.  How does or what does Jesus say in terms of teaching a group such as that which was gathered to hear the sermon on the Mount.  What does he say?  How does he proceed with individuals without the hearing of a public?
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 02:06:48 PM by readselerttoo »

Rev Geminn

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Re: White Fragility
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2020, 01:43:52 PM »
As she says, "Most white people do not identify with these images of white supremacists and so take great umbrage to the term being used more broadly."

Peace,
Michael

I certainly agree with that sentiment.  It's a bait and switch from where I stand.

I'd wager most people who hear "TEh pRezIDenT is A wHitE SupRemICAST" on social media don't have in mind the "sociological meaning" (that is, the meaning sociologists attached to an already existent description of hate groups).

Yes, I would agree, it uses specific terminology ie signifiers, but does so very broadly.  So broadly that out of the gate persons are immediately cornered and labeled.  Thus, the defensiveness, which Diangelo calls "white fragility".  She is setting people up to fail.  Thus, anyone who agrees with her can read what I wrote and claim that I suffer from white fragility.  In a matter of seconds I can be generalized and dismissed.  It is incredibly dehumanizing.


Maybe that's a point. We, white folks, are put in the position of being "generalized and dismissed" and dehumanized.


I mean no disrespect, but in many ways I was expecting this kind of response because it plays into the Catch 22 nature of Diangelo's argument.  While I can even see your point I think that is a very dangerous position to argue from and to write a book from.  This is why I likened it to a theology of original sin; there's no way out from this problem of white supremacy because it is framed in such broad terms; rather than framing it as a piece within a larger picture.  Because her methodology is bound up with a critical theorist framework she succumbs to the binary that she decries regarding racist/nonracist persons.  Again, I think she does make valuable points, but like so much that passes for scholarship today there is a lack of nuance and attention paid to the complexity of the human experience.  Furthermore, such writings risk the further entrenchment of racial categories that got us into this mess in the first place and will continue to result in not only the radicalization of the left but also the right.  In the end, identitarianism and tribalism will be further solidified.

Peace,
Scott+ 

Voelker

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Re: White Fragility
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2020, 03:19:50 PM »
Yes, I would agree, it uses specific terminology ie signifiers, but does so very broadly.  So broadly that out of the gate persons are immediately cornered and labeled.  Thus, the defensiveness, which DiAngelo calls "white fragility".  She is setting people up to fail.  Thus, anyone who agrees with her can read what I wrote and claim that I suffer from white fragility.  In a matter of seconds I can be generalized and dismissed.  It is incredibly dehumanizing.
QED

Peace,
Michael
No. He's describing the Kafka Trap that is the argument of this book; when accurately describing something no longer has argumentative force...

David Garner

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Re: White Fragility
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2020, 04:35:25 PM »
As she says, "Most white people do not identify with these images of white supremacists and so take great umbrage to the term being used more broadly."

I certainly agree with that sentiment.  It's a bait and switch from where I stand.

I'd wager most people who hear "TEh pRezIDenT is A wHitE SupRemICAST" on social media don't have in mind the "sociological meaning" (that is, the meaning sociologists attached to an already existent description of hate groups).
You're right, they don't. But of course you are no longer talking about the book under consideration--you've switched.

Peace,
Michael

Well, I am talking about your description of what the book argues, to wit, that ...

She does use the term white supremacy, but she clearly distinguishes its sociological meaning from the popular consciousness that solely associates it with radical groups (p. 28). As she says, "Most white people do not identify with these images of white supremacists and so take great umbrage to the term being used more broadly."

Your response doesn't really seem to take counter-arguments to that concept seriously.  I think you granted the book doesn't either, but that strikes me as a problem.  Re-defining terms, especially terms that have a rightly pejorative gloss, strikes me as problematic.

It's as if the term is now re-defined and cannot be un-defined or even explained.  Now that it is in popular use as a synonym for Klansmen and Neo-Nazis, we'll now just use it to describe broader concepts (like America), with no concern that the change in terms won't be well understood.  Worse, we'll blame those subject to the new pejorative for not making the distinction and objecting to the characterization.  Leftist thought policing tends to be a one-way ratchet that way, but those of us who find it dishonest aren't likely to simply concede the point, especially when the rhetoric is aimed in our direction.
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Charles Austin

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Re: White Fragility
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2020, 04:48:54 PM »
I don’t think I would contend that “white supremacy” today equals Nazis or the mentality of 1870. At least, not for most people.
I think it probably means something else than those horrors.
But it’s still bad. Real bad.
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Rev Geminn

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Re: White Fragility
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2020, 05:20:52 PM »
Yes, I would agree, it uses specific terminology ie signifiers, but does so very broadly.  So broadly that out of the gate persons are immediately cornered and labeled.  Thus, the defensiveness, which DiAngelo calls "white fragility".  She is setting people up to fail.  Thus, anyone who agrees with her can read what I wrote and claim that I suffer from white fragility.  In a matter of seconds I can be generalized and dismissed.  It is incredibly dehumanizing.
QED

Peace,
Michael
No. He's describing the Kafka Trap that is the argument of this book; when accurately describing something no longer has argumentative force...

Yes, thanks for that, the book is basically a Kafka Trap. And it is mostly based on her experiences as a corporate consultant wherein she, a white woman, makes $6,000 an hour telling other white people how racist they are.  Because she is able to define racism so broadly, she always has an out and the goal posts can always be moved, and in the process she makes rather racist claims herself.  Due note, too, that not once does she consider that maybe her role as a consultant is one based in power and privilege.  After all, she comes and she goes, doesn't really have to put in the sweat equity with the people she teaches.  She's brought in by the company or "corporate" because of a problematic situation.  So, right from the start, the power dynamic is in her favor. She's got corporate backing and she herself brings credibility to a company now at risk of being considered racist.  She notes how often people get defensive at the things she says or claims failing to consider that maybe that also has to do with her very presence and the power differential she represents. If we are going to follow her line of argumentation, I can argue that her presentations are form of white supremacy and micro-aggressions simply because of these dynamics.  Right here, is critical theory at work.

Peace,
Scott+

 

Rev Geminn

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Re: White Fragility
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2020, 12:18:28 PM »
I don’t think I would contend that “white supremacy” today equals Nazis or the mentality of 1870. At least, not for most people.
I think it probably means something else than those horrors.
But it’s still bad. Real bad.

But, Charles, this is part of the issue.  How can there be a constructive conversation or dialogue without clear definitions or with definitions that are so fluid that the goal posts can always be moved?  I was recently part of a conversation wherein the umbrella theme of white supremacy was being used continually and I noticed how as a signifier I kept thinking of Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.  It took me a few moments to realize that this wasn’t what the person was referring to when using the term white supremacy.  But still I never got a concise or clear definition of what it was and is, which is problematic because if it is in the eye of the beholder then it can be anything.  That’s how micro-aggressions operate.  And this goes to what Diangelo would call the issue of intent versus impact which is a good and helpful distinction, but still it is very subjective. We should always seek to be considerate of others, but offenses caused may be the result of various factors that have nothing to do with the offended per se.  Some such behaviors are the result of benign ignorance which affects all of us in some way.  For example, I married into a family that grew up with a parent who is disabled.  My wife sees things in very specific ways because of that and marrying into her family has been a learning curve for me because I did not grow up with a parent with a disability.  Before this experience there were things that I never once considered simply out of my own ignorance and lack of experience.  Was that a character flaw on my part? Was I somehow morally flawed? Does this mean I am a body supremacist?  This is where the critical theory framework leads as it provides simplified takes on the complexity of the human experience.

Peace,
Scott+

D. Engebretson

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Re: White Fragility
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2020, 12:30:15 PM »
I'll probably be accused of white fragility for making this observation, but using words like "fragility" and "supremacy" are inherently negative labels, that in my opinion, potentially shut down productive conversation and dialog rather than further it.  The conversation begins with a not so thinly veiled accusation that causes a defensive reaction.  In a culture that is so sensitive to labels, it is disappointing that they can be used in this way, especially when it is clear that they evoke reactions far beyond the original intention, as seen in Pastor Geminn's post.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: White Fragility
« Reply #25 on: July 09, 2020, 01:47:32 PM »
I don’t think I would contend that “white supremacy” today equals Nazis or the mentality of 1870. At least, not for most people.
I think it probably means something else than those horrors.
But it’s still bad. Real bad.

But, Charles, this is part of the issue.  How can there be a constructive conversation or dialogue without clear definitions or with definitions that are so fluid that the goal posts can always be moved?  I was recently part of a conversation wherein the umbrella theme of white supremacy was being used continually and I noticed how as a signifier I kept thinking of Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.  It took me a few moments to realize that this wasn’t what the person was referring to when using the term white supremacy.  But still I never got a concise or clear definition of what it was and is, which is problematic because if it is in the eye of the beholder then it can be anything.  That’s how micro-aggressions operate.  And this goes to what Diangelo would call the issue of intent versus impact which is a good and helpful distinction, but still it is very subjective. We should always seek to be considerate of others, but offenses caused may be the result of various factors that have nothing to do with the offended per se.  Some such behaviors are the result of benign ignorance which affects all of us in some way.  For example, I married into a family that grew up with a parent who is disabled.  My wife sees things in very specific ways because of that and marrying into her family has been a learning curve for me because I did not grow up with a parent with a disability.  Before this experience there were things that I never once considered simply out of my own ignorance and lack of experience.  Was that a character flaw on my part? Was I somehow morally flawed? Does this mean I am a body supremacist?  This is where the critical theory framework leads as it provides simplified takes on the complexity of the human experience.


There are times we say or do things out of ignorance, like when I, as a two-year old, saw my first black person and said something about her "dirty skin." My mother quickly corrected me and apologized to the lady. Ignorance can be corrected. When someone continues to use derogatory words after being informed that they are not appropriate, then it becomes racism.


In terms of language, I think "white supremacy" tends to be, (and should be,) limited to the radical groups that promote caucasians as the better race. However, "white privilege," is something that most, if not all, of us have experienced simply by virtue of our skin color.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

David Garner

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Re: White Fragility
« Reply #26 on: July 09, 2020, 02:40:49 PM »
In terms of language, I think "white supremacy" tends to be, (and should be,) limited to the radical groups that promote caucasians as the better race.

I agree.  Here's the problem -- it isn't.
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Charles Austin

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Re: White Fragility
« Reply #27 on: July 09, 2020, 02:46:50 PM »
Once again, it seems that some only want to take part in tough discussions when they, in advance, get to define all the terms.
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Dan Fienen

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Re: White Fragility
« Reply #28 on: July 09, 2020, 02:51:33 PM »
Once again, it seems that some only want to take part in tough discussions when they, in advance, get to define all the terms.
Indeed, and some people not only want to get to define all the terms but to change those definitions along the way when it is to their advantage. I suspect that we would disagree however, Charles, as to who is trying to define and redefine terms.
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Mike Gehlhausen

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Re: White Fragility
« Reply #29 on: July 09, 2020, 02:57:49 PM »
Once again, it seems that some only want to take part in tough discussions when they, in advance, get to define all the terms.

Your comment is ironic in that this is exactly the issue that Pr. Stoffregen and Mr. Garner are discussing.  That some of those who are protesting racism refuse to distinguish between white supremacy and white privilege.  That any discussion to seek common definition of terms is characterized by some from the protesting side as racist in and of itself.

To be sure, this is true of only a fringe group of those protesting endemic racism.  They also tend to be the loudest though.

In short, by your snide comment, you mischaracterize and undermine the very discussion of definitions you understand is necessary.