Robin DiAngelo is an antiracist educator with years of experience. Her book, “White Fragility,” is thought-provoking on many levels but her main thesis is that all white people are racist. That is an explosive statement but throughout her writing, she gives examples of how the white race has maintained a culture of supporting racism as a structure of the social order.
Michael Eric Dyson, who wrote the book’s forward, states that it is a “ vital, necessary, and beautiful book.” DiAngelo not only points out how we, as whites, get things so wrong, but why and what we can do to overcome our fragility.
I highly recommend this New York Times bestseller.
From the Civil War to today, “White Rage” by Carol Anderson Ph.D.defines the powerful forces opposed to black progress in the United States. Anderson wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in response to talk of black rage. She proposed that the problem was instead white rage that brought about the unrest in this country at that time, 2014. Her book, “White Rage” followed.
Our cursory study of the Civil War and the Thirteenth Amendment would have us believe the struggles of African Americans ended in 1865. The author details how Blacks were met at every crossroads to be turned back by powerful Whites.
Every American should read this award winning book, no, should study it, to finally understand what Black Americans have faced and why the struggle continues to this day.
Tonight, the President of the United States will hold a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Many believe the rally should not be held there because of the city’s history of violence against African Americans almost 100 years ago. Tulsa was only one of many cities wherein Black Americans were tortured, beaten, burned, or hanged during the so called “Red Summer.”
Red Summer occurred in 1919 and lasted from late winter through early autumn and took place in over three dozen cities in the United States. The NAACP and other activist groups organized peaceful protests that were soon overrun by white supremacists leading to the months’ long riots that burned Black-owned businesses, homes, and families.
I wonder what city might be exempt from the history of such events and therefore appropriate for political rallies.
I wonder how many of you readers learned about this time in American history during your years in school. I know that I did not. I don’t think it is by accident that we were not taught about this and other times of conflict between White and Black Americans.
Several months ago, a college student was shopping at a craft store. She paid with a $20 bill which she had received at another retail establishment. The clerk checking out her order looked at the bill and said, “I’m sorry, but this is counterfeit.” The student was shocked and produced another bill that was accepted. Except for the embarrassment that was the end of that.
On May 25, 2020, a man was in a grocery store. He paid with a $20 bill that was deemed counterfeit. The police were called. Four officers arrived and handcuffed the man. He died while being restrained by an officer’s knee.
What do you think was different in these two cases?
I know the person in Case #1 and she is white.
I do not know the black man in Case #2 but I have witnessed his murder.
Her wardrobe is almost exclusively black and white, but I did not notice this over the several months that I had known her. In fact, it wasn’t until that day when I was looking deeply into her eyes. She was grieving the death of a family member and needed someone to listen to her sorrow.
While she spoke of her loved one’s last hours tears brimmed over her lower lids and as I watched in empathy I almost expected her dark eyes to stain the tears and leave a trail on her cheeks. Her eyes were inky black. Solid black so that I could not discern the pupil from the iris. It was then that I noted the contrast of her white hair. At 78 she was beautiful in black and white.
“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, ‘Joy is greater than sorrow,’ and others say, ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater.’ But I say unto you, they are inseparable.” Khalil Gibran