Top positive review
This book changed my life
Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2018
In light of George Floyd, I wanted to update my review of this book:
I'm African-American and this book has changed my life. While DiAngelo openly states in the author's notes that she is "mainly writing to a white audience", I don't think white people are ready for this book. And, deep down, the author must know this. Instead, I would posit the opposite: this book should be required reading for any person of color living in this country.
I particularly found Chapter 9 and 10 informative. DiAngelo highlights examples of white fragility as well as ten rules of engagement that can be used a sociological green-book on how to navigate our interactions with white folks on the issue of race. These are rules of engagement that our children need to be taught because - let's be honest with ourselves - white supremacy isn't going anywhere. This book even has an entire chapter on how to deal with histrionic white women and their tears.
This book also talked about white solidarity which particularly hit home for me. White solidarity is where white folks make excuses on why another white person's racist behavior isn't racist and/or refuse call each other on racism. That was my entire graduate school experience, and it left me tears. During my first semester, I was working in a lab at night and had the police called on on me while in the middle of mixing reagents. Someone had reported that I wasn't supposed to be there. Luckily, the officers were understanding and left without incident. When I mentioned this my graduate advisor, she was indifferent and suggested that I do experiments in the mornings and afternoons. When I mentioned how was this racism in the graduate office, the other graduate students just got angry or made excuses. Later that year, I had knocked on the door of another faculty member, we had a brief but otherwise ordinary conversation about an assignment and I left. There was no indication that there was anything wrong. The next day, I was called in the the Dean's office and was told the said faculty member said I was "aggressive". I was confused. Apparently, I had knocked on her door too loudly. The said faculty member made a huge show of being afraid of me, she would only meet with me in the main office (not her personal office) with the door open and demanded that Dean sit in on the lecture. It was a mess. I ended up getting my master's (I was a doctoral student) and ran far as I could from academia. I write all of this to say that if I read this book before hand, it would've known what to expect from white folks when it comes to race. If I had this read book, I would never had looked to white folks for validation on the issues of race. I would never had to carry that baggage of stress, self-doubt, and poor self-esteem all those years. And, that itself, would've changed my life's trajectory.
My only small, frivolous, insignificant, petulant quibble is that there isn't an index, so I'm rereading it again with a highlighter. Thank you for what you do.