Book Review – White Fragility – Pt. 1

I’m just over halfway through the book and I can’t stop thinking about things that reading this book are bringing up. I thought I would write part of a review now and then a second part after I’ve finished and have had time to think some more.

First, I think all White people should read this book. I know it’ll be hard for some people, especially to do so with an open mind because it requires us, White people, to admit to things that make us uncomfortable.

I feel like I’m a pretty open minded person and while listening to the audio version of this book. I’ve been made to feel uncomfortable in several ways.

I think that White people are so scared to be considered racist they do everything that they can to argue the ways that they aren’t. I feel like there is no way we will ever understand a day in the life of a Black person and that everyone of us is a little bit racist or biased because we don’t understand. I don’t think a lot of White people can have an educated conversation about racism because they are so scared that it’ll be uncovered that they themselves are racist. There is so much shame and stigma wrapped around that word that to admit to it makes people extremely uncomfortable.

I’ve taken the past couple of weeks to listen, to educate myself and I’m embarrassed to admit that I am not immune to bias, entitlement, and racism. I think the acknowledgement and acceptance are the first steps to making changes in myself and I can already see changes in my thinking.

An interesting concept that I didn’t realize but now can’t help to see, is that White people assume that a “good” person can’t be racist because they are a “good” person. They could have performed terrible acts against a Black person but if they act in a “good” manner toward White people then it is hard for other White people to accept that that person could possibly be racist or bad. I might be doing a terrible job explaining this but the book takes a chapter to explain it. It might also be a form of denial, which I know the South is excellent at.

I’ve also begun to notice more how TV, media, print, etc… perpetuate the beliefs about Black people that I feel have been pushed on us our whole lives. It’s almost as if we’ve normalized violence on Blacks.

I’m still trying to figure out how to reconcile my thoughts about my heritage and ancestors. I’ve always been proud of the fact that almost all of my ancestors have been for many, many, many generations. I’ve got ancestors that fought on both sides, although mainly on the confederate side, of the Civil War and several in the American Revolutionary War. I have a ton ancestors that were some of the first settlers of our country. Is this their fault? Did they help create the mess that we have today? Can I still be proud of them? I still have more digging, research, education, and thinking to do…

Although I’m not done with it yet, I know that I’m going to rate this book 5 stars. I’m listening to it, so I’m not sure how the writing it is, but I don’t think that matters. This book has literally changed my thinking and I’m not even done yet. Decisions I’ll make and words that I use will change going forward because I’ve read this book… it’s literally changed my life.

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