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Robin DiAngelo

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Robin DiAngelo
Headshot of Robin DiAngelo
DiAngelo in 2021
Born
Robin Jeanne Taylor

(1956-09-08) September 8, 1956 (age 66)
NationalityAmerican
OccupationAuthor, consultant
SpouseJason Toews
Academic background
Education
ThesisWhiteness in racial dialogue: a discourse analysis (2004)
Doctoral advisorJames A. Banks
Academic work
DisciplineEducation
Sub-disciplineWhiteness studies
Critical discourse analysis
InstitutionsWestfield State University
Notable worksWhite Fragility
Notable ideasWhite fragility
Websitewww.robindiangelo.com

Robin Jeanne DiAngelo (née Taylor; born September 8, 1956)[1] is an American author working in the fields of critical discourse analysis and whiteness studies.[2][3] She formerly served as a tenured professor of multicultural education at Westfield State University and is currently an affiliate associate professor of education at the University of Washington. She is known for her work pertaining to "white fragility", an expression she coined in 2011 and explored further in a 2018 book entitled White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.

Early life[edit]

DiAngelo was born Robin Jeanne Taylor into a working-class family in San Jose, California, the youngest of three daughters born to Robert Z. Taylor and Maryanne Jeanne DiAngelo.[3][4] She lived with her mother in poverty until her death from cancer, after which she and her siblings lived with her father. She had a child in her mid-20s, becoming a single mother. Before beginning college at the age of 30, she was a waitress.[5]

She has written that her "experience of poverty would have been different had [she] not been white", reflecting that although she feels that she faced "class oppression", she also benefited from "racial privilege".[6]

Education and career[edit]

DiAngelo earned a B.A. with a double major in sociology and history from Seattle University in 1991, where she graduated summa cum laude and was the class valedictorian.[7]

DiAngelo received her Ph.D. in multicultural education from the University of Washington in 2004,[8] with a dissertation entitled "Whiteness in racial dialogue: a discourse analysis".[9] Her Ph.D. committee was chaired by James A. Banks.[3] In 2007, she joined the faculty of Westfield State University,[10] where she was named an associate professor of multicultural education in 2014.[11] She resigned from her position at Westfield in 2015.[12] She now holds the position of affiliate associate professor of education at the University of Washington.[13] She was granted two honorary doctoral degrees from Starr King Seminary (2019) and Lewis & Clark College (2017).[14][15]

DiAngelo has worked for over 20 years providing racial justice training for schools, non-profits, universities and businesses.[16][17][18] She argues that racism is embedded throughout America's political systems and culture.[2] In a 2019 article for The New Yorker, the columnist Kelefa Sanneh characterized DiAngelo as "perhaps the country's most visible expert in anti-bias training, a practice that is also an industry, and from all appearances a prospering one".[19]

Works[edit]

DiAngelo has published a number of academic articles on race, privilege, and education[20] and written several books. Her first book, co-written with Ozlem Sensoy, Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Critical Social Justice Education won both the American Educational Research Association's Critics' Choice Book Award (2012) and the Society of Professors of Education Book Award (2018).[21][22]

DiAngelo is known for her work regarding "white fragility", a term she coined in a 2011 paper in The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy.[8][23][24] She has defined the concept of white fragility as "a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves." In the paper, she argues that, "White people in the U.S. and other white settler colonialist societies live in a racially insular social environment. This insulation builds our expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering our stamina for enduring racial stress. I term this lack of racial stamina White Fragility. White Fragility is a state in which even a minimal challenge to the white position becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves including: argumentation, invalidation, silence, withdrawal and claims of being attacked and misunderstood. These moves function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and maintain control." As of 2016, she regularly gives workshops on the topic.[25][26] In 2017 the term white fragility was shortlisted by the Oxford Dictionary for Word of the Year.[27]

DiAngelo became a leading figure in the field and industry of "antiracism training".[8] Scholars dispute whether antiracism training achieves its intended purpose and whether in some cases could backfire.[8] According to Harvard University sociologist Frank Dobbin, there is no evidence to indicate that anti-bias training leads to increases in the number of women or people of color in management positions.[8] A 2009 Annual Review of Psychology study concluded, "We currently do not know whether a wide range of programs and policies tend to work on average," with the authors of the study stating in 2020 that as the quality of studies increases, the effect size of anti-bias training dwindles.[8]

In June 2018, DiAngelo published the book White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.[28] The book debuted on the New York Times bestseller list and remained on the list for 155 weeks.[29] It has been translated into eleven languages, including French, Italian, German, Japanese, Dutch and Portuguese.[30] In June 2020, during the George Floyd protests, it reached number one on the New York Times list.[31] The July 26, 2020 edition of the list marked the book's 97th week in the Paperback Nonfiction category, where it was ranked number one.[32] The book received mixed critical reception, with positive reviews in sources including New Statesman, The New Yorker, Publishers Weekly, and the Los Angeles Review of Books,[33][34][35][36] and negative reviews in sources including The Atlantic and The Washington Post.[37][31] Publishers Weekly praised the book as "a thoughtful, instructive, and comprehensive book on challenging racism."[38] Isaac Chotiner, in The New Yorker, said that in the wake of the Murder of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, DiAngelo's book served as a guide for many of the millions of Americans questioning systematic racism, though he notes that some critics have described her definition of white fragility as broad, reductive, and condescending towards people of color.[39]

In February 2021, an online training course bearing her name came under scrutiny after a major social media backlash against The Coca-Cola Company, following the leak of pictures showing parts of an employee webinar. The course, called "Confronting Racism" and offered on the LinkedIn Learning platform, attracted negative publicity concerning DiAngelo's claim that "To be less white is to: be less oppressive, less arrogant, less certain, less defensive, less ignorant, more humble". It also showed DiAngelo asking viewers to "break with white solidarity". A Coca-Cola spokesperson later stated that the course was not a compulsory part of their employee training program, and specified that it is "not the focus of the company's curriculum," adding that the course was "part of a learning plan to help build an inclusive workplace".[40][41] The course was swiftly removed from the LinkedIn Learning and the Microsoft Learning platforms.[42] According to DiAngelo, the clips containing her advice to "be less white" came from a 2018 interview conducted with a different company and were being used by Coca-Cola alongside other materials without her knowledge or approval.[43]

In June 2021, DiAngelo published Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm. It is a continuation of White Fragility.[44]

Bibliography[edit]

  • DiAngelo, R. (2012). What Does it Mean to be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy. Counterpoints (New York, N.Y.). Peter Lang. ISBN 978-1-4331-1116-7.
  • Sensoy, O.; DiAngelo, R. (2017). Is Everyone Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education. Multicultural Education Series (2nd ed.). Teachers College Press. ISBN 978-0-8077-5861-8.
  • DiAngelo, R. (2018). White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism. Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-4741-5.
  • DiAngelo, R. (2021). Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm. Beacon Press. ISBN 978-0-8070-7412-1.[44][45]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Robin J. DiAngelo". Library of Congress. Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Demby, Gene (November 23, 2016). "Is It Racist To Call Someone 'Racist'?". NPR. Archived from the original on December 4, 2017. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "About Me". Robindiangelo.com. Archived from the original on June 8, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  4. ^ DiAngelo, Robin. "Whiteness in racial dialogue: a discourse analysis". Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  5. ^ "'White Fragility' Is Everywhere. But Does Antiracism Training Work?". New York Times. Archived from the original on August 31, 2020. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  6. ^ "Robin DiAngelo". 2018 ACPA Convention. Archived from the original on July 8, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  7. ^ "Curriculum vitae: Robin DiAngelo, Ph.D." (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on February 22, 2021. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Bergner, Daniel (July 15, 2020). "'White Fragility' Is Everywhere. But Does Antiracism Training Work?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 10, 2021.
  9. ^ DiAngelo, Robin (2004). Whiteness in racial dialogue: a discourse analysis (Ph.D. thesis). University of Washington. Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  10. ^ "Education Faculty & Staff". Westfield State University. Archived from the original on November 24, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  11. ^ "Education Faculty & Staff | Westfield State University". Westfield State University. December 24, 2014. Archived from the original on December 24, 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  12. ^ DiAngelo, Robin. "Dr. Robin DiAngelo - Feature Speaker". Community Inclusivity Equity Council of York Region. Archived from the original on July 3, 2020. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  13. ^ Devore, Molly (April 2, 2019). "Author of 'White Fragility' discusses dangerous impacts of internalized white superiority". The Badger Herald. Archived from the original on March 21, 2020. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  14. ^ "Highlights: 2019 UUA General Assembly". Starr King School for the Ministry. July 2, 2019. Archived from the original on August 10, 2019. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  15. ^ "Board of Trustees approves 2017-18 budget". Lewis & Clark College. March 9, 2017. Archived from the original on July 3, 2020. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  16. ^ Waldman, Katy (July 23, 2018). "A Sociologist Examines the "White Fragility" That Prevents White Americans from Confronting Racism". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on September 20, 2019. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  17. ^ Chotiner, Isaac (August 2, 2018). "Why White Liberals Are So Unwilling to Recognize Their Own Racism". Slate. Archived from the original on July 28, 2020. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  18. ^ Doyle, Sady (July 27, 2018). "Why Are White Women So Terrified Of Being Called Racist?". Elle. Archived from the original on July 16, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  19. ^ Sanneh, Kelefa (August 12, 2019). "The Fight to Redefine Racism". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on August 13, 2019. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  20. ^ "Robin DiAngelo, PhD [scholar profile]". Google Scholar. Archived from the original on July 3, 2020. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  21. ^ "Critics' Choice Book Awards". American Educational Research Association. Archived from the original on February 20, 2020. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  22. ^ "Society of Professors of Education Book Award". August 15, 2013. Archived from the original on December 4, 2020. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  23. ^ DiAngelo, Robin (2011). "White Fragility". The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy. University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 3 (3). Archived from the original on April 28, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  24. ^ Bouie, Jamelle (March 13, 2016). "How Trump Happened". Slate. Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  25. ^ Springer, Dan (August 17, 2016). "Seattle offers classes on 'white fragility,' to explain roots of guilt". FoxNews.com. Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  26. ^ Hanchard, Jenna (July 28, 2016). "Local workshop explores 'white fragility'". King5. Archived from the original on April 2, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  27. ^ "Word of the Year 2017 - Shortlist | Oxford Languages". languages.oup.com. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  28. ^ Waldman, Katy (July 23, 2018). "A Sociologist Examines the "White Fragility" That Prevents White Americans from Confronting Racism". New Yorker. Archived from the original on September 20, 2019. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  29. ^ "Paperback Nonfiction Books - Best Sellers - Books - Sept. 12, 2021 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  30. ^ "Publications". Robin DiAngelo, PhD. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  31. ^ a b Lozada, Carlos (June 18, 2020). "Review | White fragility is real. But 'White Fragility' is flawed". Washington Post. Archived from the original on June 26, 2020. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  32. ^ "Paperback Nonfiction". The New York Times Best Seller list. July 26, 2020. Archived from the original on August 2, 2018. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
  33. ^ "How not to be a racist". www.newstatesman.com. Archived from the original on May 8, 2020. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  34. ^ "A Sociologist Examines the "White Fragility" That Prevents White Americans from Confronting Racism". The New Yorker. July 23, 2018. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  35. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo. Beacon, $16 (184p) ISBN 978-0-8070-4741-5". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
  36. ^ Roediger, David. "On the Defensive: Navigating White Advantage and White Fragility". Los Angeles Review of Books. Archived from the original on January 8, 2020. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  37. ^ McWhorter, John (July 15, 2020). "The Dehumanizing Condescension of 'White Fragility'". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on July 17, 2020. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  38. ^ "Nonfiction book review: White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism". www.publishersweekly.com. Retrieved January 20, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  39. ^ "Robin DiAngelo Wants White Progressives to Look Inward". The New Yorker. July 14, 2021. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  40. ^ "Coca-Cola has employees take training on how to 'be less white' to combat racism". Washington Examiner. February 20, 2021. Archived from the original on February 20, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  41. ^ "Coca-Cola, facing backlash, says "be less white" learning plan was about workplace inclusion". Newsweek. February 21, 2021. Archived from the original on February 22, 2021. Retrieved February 22, 2021.
  42. ^ "After Coca-Cola Backlash, LinkedIn Removes Diversity Lesson Telling Employees to 'Be Less White'". Newsweek. February 21, 2021. Archived from the original on February 23, 2021. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  43. ^ DiAngelo, Robin. "Robin DiAngelo, PhD". Archived from the original on February 24, 2021. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  44. ^ a b "Nice Racism by Robin DiAngelo: 9780807074121". Penguin Random House. Archived from the original on February 28, 2021. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  45. ^ Taibbi, Matt. "Our Endless Dinner With Robin DiAngelo". TK News. Retrieved July 1, 2021.

External links[edit]