4Cs – Feb. White Fragility

This session took place on Wednesday, February 20, 7:00 PM – 9:00PM, and was facilitated by Rob Snikkar. It will be followed by another session on the topic, possibly in March, in which we will discuss the two texts below. The discussion will be moderated by Petra Halkes. If anyone wants to be involved in an ongoing discussion about this topic, please look at, and add, to the comments on this page, rather than using email. Click here: 4C’s March Being White

Required reading for the second session:

Robin DiAngelo – “White Fragility” an essay

Sandra Inutiq,  “Dear Qallunaat (white people)Recognize and admit your power and privilege and the fact you are benefiting from racist systems” CBC News Feb. 17

Rob Snikkar wrote:
What does White Fragility have to do with our discussions of the 4C’s?
It might be clear that systemic racism (and its ugly brother patriarchy/misogyny) is directly involved in our systems of capitalism and colonialism.  It may be less clear that inherent racist beliefs and privilege influence our approach to climate change and system change but I believe that they are interrelated/intersectional.
When we examine our global approach to extraction economies, ownership of land & resources, industrialized agriculture, developing countries and their economies, international banking and finance – such as the IMF and World Bank, indigenous and human rights suppressions, the global arms trade and the rise and propping up of despotic leaders…I think we see many examples of privileged thinking.  But what makes it difficult to see the effects of systemic racist views and practices is their unconscious and implicit action upon our psyche and our inability to perceive these qualities within ourselves.
For these reasons I find it important to reflect upon and self-examine my own racism and the racism of my privileged white brothers and sisters that has been bred into us inherently through the system that we live in and benefit by.

 

Finally some thought-provoking quotes to get your juices flowing.

“What white people have to do is try to find out in their hearts why it was necessary for them to have a nigger in the first place. Because I am not a nigger. I’m a man…. If I’m not the nigger here, and if you invented him, you the white people invented him, then you have to find out why. And the future of the country depends on that.”  James Baldwin, In the documentary I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

“Privilege is not in and of itself bad; what matters is what we do with privilege, we have to share our resources and take direction about how to use our privilege in ways that empower those who lack it.” bell hooks 

“…The white audience does not seek out black public intellectuals to challenge their worldview; instead they are meant to serve as tour guides through a foreign experience that the white audience wishes to keep at a comfortable distance. White people desire a representative of the community who can provide them with a crash course. ….” Mychal Denzel Smith,The Gatekeepers – On the burden of the black public intellectual.  From the December 2018 issue of Harper’s magazine

“…It has always bothered me that the very idea of paying attention to or knowing Indian history is tinged with the soft compassion of the do-gooder, as a kind of public service, like volunteering at an after-school program. If we treat Indian stories this way, we do more than relegate Indians themselves to history…you need to look at Indian history and at the Indian present…” David Treuer, Essay – 2020 VISION, In Harper’s magazine Jan. 2019 (from The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, published this month by Riverhead Books. )

Supplemental resources- 
Dr. Robin DiAngelo lecture, 1 hr, and 23 mins. – speaking in Seattle for the launch of her book “White Fragility – Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism” 

 

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2 thoughts on “4Cs – Feb. White Fragility

  1. I wanted to thank those people (Feliks, Pat, Lori, Rene, Kathy, Carmel, Sandra, Alejandro, Mirana, Rene and of Petra) who engaged in a strenuous and important discussion about white privilege and white fragility.

    It is not an easy subject to expose oneself to and involves many risks and possible misunderstandings.
    As usual the group and the hosts behaved very civilly in the throes of a difficult discussion.

    I encourage people who are interested to pursue reading on the subject as this is much good information expressed clearly by people devoted to these issues. I apologize for the rambling direction of the discourse – I should have followed the documents but I didn’t want to simply read from them.

    Once again thanks to RIA and all of its members for their consideration and openness…Rob

  2. At Petra’s request I post what I had earlier written to her via email…

    I would be glad to be involved with further discussion of this topic and happy to let someone else conduct the discussion if that would work better.

    But if you want me to I’ll try to facilitate with a different approach – I/we got side-tracked from the documents in our previous session.

    There is a lot of information to absorb and a lot of dedicated self-reflection to conduct if one would like to delve into these topics deeply.
    That is why this is important and that is also why it interests me artistically – because of its challenge.

    Peace and understanding…Rob

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