White Fragility

What does White Fragility mean?

The discomfort or defensiveness from white people when confronted with instances of racism

White Fragility is an emotional reaction by white individuals when they are confronted with proof of racial prejudice, especially when they feel personally involved. This emotional response can manifest as defensiveness, a dismissive attitude, or even anger.

The phrase was initially introduced in 2011 by a writer named Robin DiAngelo. He used the term to describe why many white individuals become uncomfortable or upset when their viewpoints on race are questioned.

White Fragility can often create barriers for meaningful discussions around racial prejudice. This is because many white people may prefer to maintain harmonious relations with others and avoid being labeled as racially prejudiced themselves.

Example for using ‘White Fragility’ in a conversation

Hey, did you see that article about racial inequality?

Yeah, I did. It’s really important to address these issues.

Definitely. But some people get defensive when we talk about it.

I know, it’s called white fragility. They feel attacked and don’t want to admit their privilege.