The western New York 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge Day 7

Day 7: White fragility

Have you heard of the term “White Fragility?” For white people, “White Fragility” refers to their discomfort and avoidance of racially charged stress, which perpetuates racial inequity.

Dr. Robin DiAngelo describes white fragility as a state of being for white people in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves can include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors shut down conversations, and inhibit actions which, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.


  1. Take a quick quiz from the publisher of "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism," Robin DiAngelo, PhD, to see if you exhibit "White Fragility" traits. (3 minutes)
  2. Read a short article by Dr. DiAngelo that unpacks how we continue to reproduce racist outcomes and live segregated lives. (5 minutes)
  3. Review this list of 28 common racist attitudes and behaviors that indicate a detour or wrong turn into white guilt, denial, or defensiveness. Do you identify with any of these attitudes? Reflect on which ones, and how you think you came to hold these attitudes. 


DAY 8: Opportunity and Segregation in WNY


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