Building on the groundwork laid in the New York Times bestseller White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo explores how a culture of niceness inadvertently promotes racism.
In White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo explained how racism is a system into which all white people are socialized and challenged the belief that racism is a simple matter of good people versus bad. DiAngelo also made a provocative claim: white progressives cause the most daily harm to people of color. In Nice Racism, her follow-up work, she explains how they do so. Drawing on her background as a sociologist and over 25 years working as an anti-racist educator, she picks up where White Fragility left off and moves the conversation forward.
Writing directly to white people as a white person, DiAngelo identifies many common white racial patterns and breaks down how well-intentioned white people unknowingly perpetuate racial harm. These patterns include:
• rushing to prove that we are “not racist” • downplaying white advantage • romanticizing Black, Indigenous and other peoples of color (BIPOC) • pretending white segregation “just happens” • expecting BIPOC people to teach us about racism • carefulness • and feeling immobilized by shame.
DiAngelo explains how spiritual white progressives seeking community by co-opting Indigenous and other groups’ rituals create separation, not connection. She challenges the ideology of individualism and explains why it is OK to generalize about white people, and she demonstrates how white people who experience other oppressions still benefit from systemic racism. Writing candidly about her own missteps and struggles, she models a path forward, encouraging white readers to continually face their complicity and embrace courage, lifelong commitment, and accountability.
Nice Racism is an essential work for any white person who recognizes the existence of systemic racism and white supremacy and wants to take steps to align their values with their actual practice. BIPOC readers may also find the “insiders” perspective useful for navigating whiteness.
Includes a study guide.
About the Author
Dr. Robin DiAngelo is an affiliate associate professor of education at the University of Washington. She has been a consultant, educator, and facilitator on issues of racial and social justice for more than 25 years. She is the author or coauthor of several books, including the number-one New York Times bestseller White Fragility. Her work has been praised by Ibram X. Kendi, Michael Eric Dyson, Claudia Rankine, and Jonathan Capehart, among others. Find her online at robindiangelo.com.
"A powerful new book from the author of White Fragility reveals why profound racism is often found in supposedly liberal spaces"—The Guardian
“A pointed reminder that good intentions aren’t enough to break the cycle of racism.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A fierce critique of the ‘culture of niceness’ that prevents the hard work of dismantling racism . . . [DiAngelo] dismantles unconscious biases with precision. Readers will feel compelled to hold themselves more accountable.” —Publishers Weekly
“With the hard-earned insights that come from years of study and leading workshops on racism, Robin DiAngelo captures the strategies often used by well-intentioned white people to avoid the self-examination needed to confront their own unrecognized racism. If you want to get beyond feeling defensive and increase your capacity for effective anti-racist action, do yourself a favor and read this book!” —Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race
“In this illuminating follow-up to White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo integrates sharp insight, personal vulnerability, and compassionate guidance with the keen eye of an ‘insider.’ Focusing specifically on the more subtle patterns of white progressives, her work continues to be invaluable to the project of ending white supremacy.” —Resmaa Menakem, author of My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies
“Personal transformation is an act of anti-racism, and DiAngelo has just given progressive white America the field guide.” —Michael Eric Dyson, author of Long Time Coming
“Spectacular! With the precision of a social scientist, Robin DiAngelo dissects and puts under the microscope seemingly benign ‘white moves’—including her own—in ways that make undeniable how each functions to recalibrate white dominance and comfort again and again. A critical tool for white progressives wanting to know better so we can do better.” —Debby Irving, author of Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race