Monday, June 29, 2020

Book Talk | Dismantling White Supremacy Day 2


I began this book last week and would love to have discussions based on the prompts provided within the book. The book is set up so that after each day's reading, there are a handful of prompts to respond to. Feel free to respond to as many or as few as you like. I would love for this to be a discussion and a place where we can learn and grow together. Please be honest, because that is the only way anything will change.

Additionally, I have been compiling a list of books under the #BlackLivesMatter Reading List tab. I am usually adding books daily that I find, or are recommended by others. Please leave a comment on that page if you have titles to add. I hope you can find titles on this list that you will learn from as well.

Day Two Prompts

White Fragility - a state in which even a minimum abut of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves (definition at 15%)

1. How does your white fragility show up during conversations about race? Do you fight, freeze, or flee?

2. Describe your most visceral memory of experiencing white fragility. How old were you? Where were you? What was the conversation about? Why did it bring up white fragility in you? How do you recall feeling during and after the interaction? How do you feel about it today?

3. How have you weaponized your fragility against BIPOC through, for example, calling the authorities, crying, or claiming you're being harmed ("reverse racism!" or "I'm being shamed!" or "I'm being attacked!")?

4. How do you feel when you hear the words white people? Do they make you feel uncomfortable?

5. How has your white fragility prevented you, through fear and discomfort, from doing meaningful work around your own personal antiracism to date?

Let's talk!


  1. Replies
    1. I hope you will join the conversation, and share as many answers as you are comfortable with.

  2. These are interesting questions that deserve some serious contemplation.

    1. Yes! I have finished the book already and spent some time contemplating these. I will be adding some answers of my own and I hope you will do the same! Please share the posts if you are so inclined, I would love as many perspectives as possible.

  3. 1. I mentioned in my Day 1 answers that I first was introduced to the concept of what White Privilege is when I was in college, during a class on diversity in education. My fragility definitely showed in the manner of both freezing and fighting. It was something that I at first simply could not understand, until we dug into the 'privilege' meaning/aspect. My family was not poor, but we certainly were not anywhere above middle class. I was going to college only because of a few scholarships and a lot of loans. I was only looking at privilege in terms of monetary value, and I think that is where so many people get hung up on the term and want to argue it today. When I really looked at the true meaning of White Privilege, and shut my mouth to actually listen in that class, I learned so much.

    2. I don't remember it being this major visceral thing, no one was in tears or yelling or aggressive. I remember being very confused at first, until we really got into the reading and things started clicking into place what White Privilege actually means. Our professor did not baby us, but he wasn't trying to make us feel bad or ashamed or anything. He just point blank told us this is what it is, and we learned from there. It was uncomfortable at the time, but I still look back at that class as one of the best I have ever taken. Who knows how long I might have gone on living, being completely blind to my own privilege and not recognizing how my behaviors were shaped by it, and how I might be hurting others. I wish diversity classes were required for all majors.

    3. I sincerely hope I have never done this. I remember class discussions getting pretty heated (especially from some of those white farm boys from rural Nebraska), but I never felt like our professor was guilting us or going about it in a mean-spirited or aggressive way.

    4. The phrase 'white people' doesn't bother me. White people do a lot of ignorant, stupid shit.

    5. I do think that if I had been given this book in that class nearly twenty years ago, the work would have been a lot harder to do because it was all so new and very uncomfortable. But since then I have been able to work and grow in my understanding, though it has gone more slowly in some seasons than it should have. I feel like in the last seven years or so I have really become a lot more vocal about discussing White Privilege. And it has really been in the last four/five years (basically under this current shitty 'administration' we have that is currently squatting in the White House and the prior campaign) that I have become more insistent on these conversations and more vocal about calling out the racism that I see and/or hear. I wish it had not taken me so long, and that I had started doing this a long time ago.

  4. Ughhhhhh.... Let's try this again... and Publish this time...

    1. I tend to freeze or flee because I avoid conflict and confrontations, but I need to change this about myself.

    2. I remember as a child going to a Black birthday party and I was one of the few white people in the room. I remember feeling out of place and unsure of myself. I look back on this experience and think about how the roles were reversed 99% of the time for the Black students that were more often than not the only one in the room. I also think back to this party and wonder why it was so much smaller than my other white friends parties. Were some children not allowed to attend? Were racial biases being passed down at this early of an age?

    3. I don't think that I have ever weaponized my whiteness. I was sickened when Amy Cooper was in the news for her dispicable actions. She should be tried for attempted murder because those were her exact intentions. She knew what she was doing and she intended to weaponize the police against that innocent man. Luckily it did not turn out the way she hoped and he lived to tell the story. I have heard people discuss reverse racism and how affirmative action hurts white people's chances, and I have internally disagreed, but again, I did not speak up.

    4. Hearing the words white people doesn't make me uncomfortable. I do know that some people are hesitant to say Black people and I think this comes from a good place of not wanting to say something offensive, but people just need to do the work to understand what terms are acceptable and which ones aren't. I've given people a pass before and used a generational gap as an excuse for them, but that's just not going to fly anymore. Anyone can educate themselves and grow as a person. I need to hold people in my circles accountable as well as myself.

    5. I do admit that discomfort from white fragility has caused me to be silent for far too long and I do agree with Sarah that the current state of the White House has only brought to light how racist America is. I hope that this recent outrage lasts and causes real change. I would love for something good to result from the last 4 frustrating years that we've had to endure.

    Again... another good site for Black News... check it out!

    1. These reactions are so common, and I think just being aware of how we each personally react is a great way to then be able to recognize it in ourselves when we feel the need to fight, freeze, or flee. I definitely do not feel any of those the way I did back when I was sitting in that diversity in education class.

      How old were you when you attended that party? I think it is really interesting that you recognized the discomfort and feeling out of place, even if you could not necessarily label it as that when you were younger.

      Amy Cooper is an absolute trash, disgusting person. I watched that entire exchange and could not believe what I was seeing. She knew exactly what she was doing, screaming about being threatened by an African American male. And when the dispatcher couldn't hear her very well, she straight-up went more shrill, trying to convey danger that was not there. I just read the other night that Mr Cooper has stated he will not participate in the investigation that has begun into her false report, because he said she has already lost her job, etc. I think that is commendable of him to take the high road, but I can't help but think that if the roles were reversed, she would not be doing the same. But something has to be done to deter stupid white people from reporting Black people to the police for just living their lives. This has to end and there has to be consequences for these false reports.

      I feel like when I was growing up (maybe you too, not sure your age but I am 37) we were taught to be 'color blind' so it felt like a bad thing to say someone was Black, and we were supposed to say African American. But now that the narrative has shifted so greatly, and Black people have been saying, "No, you need to see my color, that's part of who I am", it is hard for some people to overcome that. It did take me a little while to get comfortable saying Black, but it is so much easier now. There was also a great graphic put out recently about this very subject that basically said the default is Black if you do not know where the person is from or they have indicated that is their preference.

      I think there will be lasting change. Protests are continuing around the country and the energy feels so different from previous protests after a Black man or woman has been murdered by an officer. The protests I have gone to this time around feel so different and I don't think that will stop. There are still protests in Minneapolis every day, the cameras just aren't around anymore to report on it. I am hopeful that lasting change is in the cards.

      Thanks for sharing another great site, I will add that one to the reading list as well!


Thanks for visiting my little book nook. I love talking books so leave a comment and let's chat!