White fragility

Term used to describe the difficulties many white people encounter when processing and engaging in conversations about race and racism. In her excellent paper on the topic, professor Robin DiAngelo explains: “White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress.” Talking about racism, and particularly the role white individuals or institutions may play in perpetuating racism, often causes white people to feel anxious. This can lead to them responding with a disproportionate level of anger and defensiveness or by completely shutting down and refusing to further engage.