ALA President's Program
Libraries = Strong Communities
featuring Robin DiAngelo
To build strong communities, we must first acknowledge the structural racism
within which our society operates before we can begin to dismantle the structures of oppression.
Robin DiAngelo will discuss the phenomenon of "white fragility", offering examples of what it might look like, as well as what people can do to engage more constructively in conversations about racism.
As a profession, we have made progress in recognizing these systems of oppression. However, we must address these foundational issues before being able to truly come together and move forward as a unified community.
For more than twenty years, Robin DiAngelo has worked with a wide range of organizations in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors consulting and training on the issues of racial and social justice. She says, “I grew up poor and white. While my class oppression has been relatively visible to me, my race privilege has not. In my efforts to uncover how race has shaped my life, I have gained deeper insight by placing race in the center of my analysis and asking how each of my other group locations have socialized me to collude with racism.”
DiAngelo is the author of the New York Times best-seller White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism, foreword by Michael Eric Dyson—and available now. In the book, DiAngelo reveals the “good-bad binary,” the idea that racism is an intentional act done exclusively by bad people. She suggests that racial illiteracy reinforces the simplistic definition of a racist as a bad person and exempts “white progressives,” a term she describes as any white person who thinks they're not racist—thinks they get it, that they are less racist—someone who is probably thinking of all the other white people that should be getting the message.
DiAngelo received her PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington in Seattle. She earned tenure at Westfield State University, where she taught courses in Multicultural Teaching, Inter-group Dialogue Facilitation, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice, and Anti-Racist Education. Her primary areas of research are in Whiteness Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis. Recently, DiAngelo was appointed to co-design the City of Seattle's Race and Social Justice Initiative and Anti-Racism training. White Fragility has been featured or cited in Salon, National Public Radio, Slate, Alternet, the Atlantic, the New York Times, and the Seattle Times. Currently, DiAngelo is writing and presenting full-time.