“Whiteness” is a socially constructed learned set of behaviors and expectations that has been created to enforce privileges and power for people who appear white-skinned. It is a shifting space with muddied borders that separates the privileged and entitled from those who are exploited for the very reason that they do not appear or behave in a manner deemed appropriately “white.” Whiteness is also often invisible to white people; they may not understand it or see it, as it is the default setting of almost all neutral or positive social representations and expectations in Western cultures, such as pale beige colors being described as “flesh” or “skin-tone.”
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).
Ideas of visibility and the closet have largely been shaped by white America and the gay liberation movement of the 1970s. Refusing to subscribe to this narrative gives us space to connect with our gender, our culture and our sexuality on our own terms.
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