South Africa: We Have to Talk About Race


'White fragility' might sound like being called out, but it can also be an invitation to be 'called in', says a US academic and author, of taking on our own demons so we can take on racism.

Dr Robin DiAngelo pulls up her sleeve to show her latest tattoo. It says "Be Brave" on the inside of her left forearm.

It takes a certain kind of courage to coin a term like "white fragility" as critique, and to say "white people lack racial humility". DiAngelo is unapologetic and unequivocal though - she's also waiting to be proved wrong.

The US sociologist has worked in diversity training and running cultural competency workshops for 20 years. She was in South Africa giving lectures and launching her US bestselling book White Fragility this month. Her message is for white people, she says, because across the world "the patterns of racism have the same outcomes."

She says fragility is a function of dominance - it keeps white people's position in society from being challenged or questioned.

"Twenty-four/seven it's clear what my place is in the world as a white person and it's clear to a black person what their position is in society.


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