Welcome back to First Impression Friday! Several weeks ago, I talked about how I have been working through a writer’s block and how I was going to try and write more. And then 2020 became more of a dumpster fire than it already was and between trying to keep up with what was going on in the news and what was going on in my life, I let my blog fall by the wayside (of all the things to let slide, a personal blog seems like the better one to let go).
Today marks Juneteenth, a celebration of the end of slavery in all the states (although they’d technically been free for over 2.5 years at that point). I am not going to claim to be any sort of expert, because I’m not. I’m not going to claim to be completely woke and 100% an ally, because I’m still learning new things and unlearning old things that were taught to me in history class.
As a part of Juneteenth, my company has given us the day off as a “day of solidarity.” However, they were very clear that we were not to treat this as a vacation. Instead, they encouraged us to educate ourselves, whether that be through reading, researching, or protesting. They released recommended reading and watch lists. So today, my First Impression Friday is about what I’m doing on my day off solidarity: reading White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. I’ve also purchased two more ebooks along the same lines so if I finish this one, I’ve got some more reading to do. I’ve already learned so much in the past few weeks about how many things history books just get wrong, and I am glad there are resources out there to help understand our past.
In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.
I am going to admit that it’s very hard for me to read a non-fiction book and give a review on it, especially a non-fiction book that I am reading in order to educate myself on subjects I know almost nothing about. However, I am very interested in learning.
I have read multiple reviews concerning this book, and I have had a few people on the bookstagram accounts I follow mention it. It’s also one of the books on the recommended reading list that my job sent out. Not only that, but it’s currently at the top of Amazon’s best seller charts. I figured I would start here and work my way down.
I know that reading this book is going to require challenging many things that I thought I knew. As a white woman, I come from a place of privilege and I recognize that I will never fully understand first-hand what those around me are experiencing, but I am trying my best to learn and understand in order to be a better ally. And so far, I believe this book is challenging my world view and helping me to understand so much. I look forward to finishing it.
Do you have any other recommendations for my reading list after I finish this one? Let me know in the comments!
And as always, keep reading.