The Guardian

Academic Robin DiAngelo: 'We have to stop thinking about racism as someone who says the N-word'

Her book, White Fragility, has been a US bestseller and provoked an uncomfortable conversation on what it means to be white. She explains why she won’t give liberals an easy ride
Robin DiAngelo: ‘What are white people afraid they will lose by listening?’ Photograph: Gabriel Solis

Why is it so hard for white people to talk about racism? It is a question posed by the white academic Robin DiAngelo, whose book White Fragility has now spent seven months hovering at the top end of the New York Times bestseller list and has just been published in the UK.

“The problem with white people,” she says, “is that they just don’t listen. In my experience, day in and day out, most white people are absolutely not receptive to finding out their impact on other people. There is a refusal to know or see, or to listen or hear, or to validate.”

Over a video call from her home in Seattle, DiAngelo is emphatic and forthright. As a sociologist, she has worked as a diversity trainer across the

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Guardian

The Guardian12 min read
Led By Donkeys: ‘There Is A Political Power In Laughing At These People’
On billboards, beaches, buildings, and Twitter, four activist friends have wittily exposed the hypocrisies of Brexit politics. As they publish a book about their campaign, they reflect on their rollercoaster year
The Guardian5 min readPolitics
Donald Trump’s Sanity Is Not The Question. The Real Issue Is How He Got Into Office | Gary Younge
To reduce his presidency to a frail mind is to ignore the fact he’s an emblem of free-market, white supremacist nationalism
The Guardian2 min read
Stop, You Can't Pop: Prosecco Pringles Seized In Italy
The Italian agriculture minister, Teresa Bellanova, has pledged to fight against “identity theft” after hundreds of tubes of prosecco-flavoured Pringles were seized from a supermarket chain in the Veneto region. The supermarket had purchased the cris