White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Dexter Southfield School, Brookline, MA

A full-day workshop about White Privilege with Robin DiAngelo and Jack Hill.

Robin DiAngelo and Jack Hill

We will be contacting people on our Waitlist if there are cancellations. We are excited about another, new workshop we are developing for early April, please stay tuned!

White Fragility

  • White people in the U.S. live in a racially insular social environment. This insulation builds our expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering our stamina for enduring racial stress. Robin terms this lack of racial stamina “White Fragility.”
  • White Fragility is a state in which even a minimal challenge to the white position becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive responses. These responses function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and maintain white control.

Part I: White Fragility Conversation

Begin the day hearing from Robin and Jack about White Fragility: how it develops, how it serves to protect racial inequality and what we can do to engage more constructively in conversations about race.

Part II: Three-Part "Teach-In" Discussion Series

Following Robin and Jack's conversation, we will break into a three-part series of "Teach-In" discussions. Each of these facilitated smaller group talks will dive further into the dangers of implicit bias and whiteness, unpacking the complexities of white fragility, its connection to racism, and its pervasive threats to productive cross-racial dialogues.

Our Three-Part Teach-In Discussion Series will unfold like this:

  1. Racism and White Supremacy: Dissecting the Challenges White People Encounter in Talking About Racism
  2. Understanding Racism, Post-Civil Rights Movement: White People and the Challenge to Universalism
  3. The Good/Bad Binary: Looking Beyond Being a Good Person -- The White Ally Tool Kit

Detailed Agenda for the Day

  • 8:30 - 9:00 a.m. | Arrival, Registration & Breakfast
  • 9:00 a.m. | Welcome
  • 9:15 - 10:45 a.m. | White Fragility Discussion
  • 10:45 - 11:00 a.m. | Break
  • 11:00 - 11:45 a.m. | Teach-In Discussion #1
  • 11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. | Networking Lunch
  • 12:30 - 12:45 p.m. | Transition to Breakout Spaces
  • 12:45 - 1:30 p.m. | Teach-In Discussion #2
  • 1:40 - 2:20 p.m. | Teach-In Discussion #3
  • 2:30 - 3:00 p.m. | Closing Remarks

Suggested Companion Reading:

Robin will be signing books at this workshop.

About Robin

Robin received her PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2004. Dr. James Banks was her dissertation Chair. She earned tenure at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. Currently, Robin is Affiliate Associate Professor of Education at the University of Washington. She has taught courses in Multicultural Teaching, Inter-group Dialogue Facilitation, Cultural Diversity & Social Justice, and Anti-Racist Education. Robin's area of research is in Whiteness Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis, explicating how whiteness is reproduced in everyday narratives. She is a two-time winner of the Student’s Choice Award for Educator of the Year at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work. She has numerous publications and books, including Is Everybody Really Equal?: An Introduction to Key Concepts in Critical Social Justice Education, co-written with Özlem Sensoy, and which received both the American Educational Studies Association Critics Choice Book Award (2012) and the Society of Professors of Education Book Award (2018). In 2011, Robin coined the term White Fragility in an academic article which influenced the national dialogue on race. Her book, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism was released in June of 2018 and debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List.

About Jack

Jack Hill is a nationally recognized diversity consultant, facilitator, educator, writer and child advocate. He has given a number of presentations, and workshops, at conferences locally and internationally, and has offered consultation to schools and organizations nationwide in the areas of multicultural education, diversity, equity, social justice and organizational culture.

His articles and talks on race, education, religion and diversity have appeared in The Baltimore Sun, Black Issues Book Review, NPR, ABC, Chicago Tribune, The Afro American Newspaper, WashingtonPost.com, Urbanite Magazine, The Chicago Defender and other media. In addition, he is a contributor to the book, A Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys (Corwin Press) and the book Diversity Work in Independent Schools: The Practice and The Practitioner, a publication of the National Association of Independent Schools.

Jack holds degrees from Frostburg State University in Cumberland Maryland, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD and Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT.

Thanks to Strategenius for their generous support: