Saturday, July 11, 2020

Izabella Hickle's Summary of Robin DiAngelo's 'White Fragility'

It isn’t real common that a controversial book gets summarized by another writer.  Jordan Peterson summarized his own “12 rules”.  No one has done me that honor with my three “do ask do tell” books.

Izabella Hickle apparently has written these for a few controversial books.  I’ll briefly go over her “Summary: White Fragility: Why It’s do Hard for White People to Talk About Race”, 62 pages, ISBN 9798661267184, 12 chapters, paper.

First, as to the writing.  Sometimes it is hard to tell if she is restating what the white person feels (as an assertion, in subjunctive mood, which is much easier to do in most foreign languages than in English), or stating Diangelo’s prescriptions. 

The sin of the white person is not their own decisions or actions in the normal sense of individualized personal responsibility;  it is the historical fact that they have unfairly benefited from systemic racism hardwired into the economic and social system and must now take responsibility to pay something back for this ancestral wrong. Many examples include segregated schools, redlining real estate, and especially police profiling, which seems to result from a mental reinforcement of past ideas.

In Chapter 2 she does provide some interesting detail about physical attractiveness, mentioning skin color, (scalp) hair texture, and eye shape.  It is not clear from what is given whether she (or Robin) thinks it is “wrong” to refuse to date out of your race (if you are white). One artifact on skin color;  Caucasian skin is generally not as thick.  The only reason for the difference in skin color is adaptation to distance from the equator.  People who live with a lot of sunlight need the pigment to protect them from too much ultraviolet light;  people with less sunlight need to make Vitamin D.   The hair comment is interesting.  Only whites normally (although not always consistently) have significant differences in body hair between men and women, as a secondary sexual characteristic. Hickle doesn’t mention that.  I’ll find out if Robin did when I read her book on Kindle (I couldn’t get hers in print, which is easier to follow;  I did get Hickle’s in hardcopy.)

My main issue so far is proximity. I do live and work alone and I don’t really have social situations where these issues come up. 

I will review DiAngelo's full book (Kindle) on my featured Wordpress blog as soon as I finish it (next week) 

There is one more book I don’t think has been mentioned here, Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to Be an Anti-Racist”, 320 pages, One World Press, 2019.  

There is also “Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism”, here, by Layla F. Saad, 258 pages, Sourcebooks, 2020, and this looks more like a personal instruction manual when looked at on Amazon (mentioned in video).  It reminds me of the Perry-Ellis "Do Ask Do Tell" workbooks on gay rights from the mid 1990s. 

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