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White fragility cripples America's ability to heal its racism

Esther J. Cepeda on

Capó Crucet reportedly responded, "I came here because I was invited, and I talked about white privilege because it's a real thing that you are actually benefiting from right now in even asking this question."

Hostile shouting ensued. After the talk ended, some people crowded outside the hotel where the university had put up Capó Crucet, so the author was moved to another location for her safety. Later, a video of white students giggling and cheering as copies of her book were fed into a fire gained traction on social media.

The author's scheduled speech at Georgia Southern's Savannah campus was subsequently canceled because the school, in a state where college students are allowed to carry concealed weapons on certain parts of campus, couldn't guarantee her safety.

Capó Crucet lamented that her book began as "an act of love and an attempt at deeper understanding." But white fragility has derailed that attempt and reinforced the stress and fear that students of color on predominantly white campuses experience daily.

Incidents like these breed a sense of despair in people of color who understand white fragility all too well from their constant interactions with it.

Our only hope is that white allies, colleagues, friends and even family take the time to learn about white fragility -- DiAngelo's book and Capó Crucet's books are excellent starting points -- and confront their own reactions when faced with racism's realities.

 

Until we all admit to ourselves that entrenched racism pervades nearly every aspect of our lives, we'll never get past just being angry that it exists at all.

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Esther Cepeda's email address is estherjcepeda@washpost.com, or follow her on Twitter: @estherjcepeda.

(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group

 

 

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