You’ll notice a major recurring theme in the top read blog posts from the Broadside in 2018. Should it be any surprise? This year, readers were more than ready to come to terms with our country’s complex notions around racial identity and, most of all, white fragility. And we have Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility to thank! Dina Gilio-Whitaker extended the conversation of white fragility to address how settler colonialism manifests as settler privilege and settler fragility today. Her series on settler privilege went viral. Whatever the topic, we at Beacon Press can always turn to our authors for the critical lens we need to understand today’s most pressing social issues. Take a look at our other highlights of the Broadside.
Here’s looking to another year of insightful blog posts! And Happy New Year!
“But there is more to this story than a white woman passing for black. This story is full of secrets and scandal tied to Dolezal’s complicated childhood . . . . This is a story that should’ve made the news, not just the sensationalistic story of a woman passing for black. It speaks to our short attention span and our flat-out disinterest in anything complicated. It also speaks to the complications of authority, race, and sex.”
Robin DiAngelo’s “Examining White Identity Is the Antidote to White Fragility”
“I am white and am addressing a common white dynamic. I am mainly writing to a white audience; when I use the terms us and we, I am referring to the white collective. This usage may be jarring to white readers because we are so rarely asked to think about ourselves or fellow whites in racial terms. But rather than retreat in the face of that discomfort, we can practice building our stamina for the critical examination of white identity—a necessary antidote to white fragility.”
Ayla Zuraw-Friedland’s “45 Telltale Signs Your College Roommate Has White Fragility”
“White fragility comes in many shapes and sizes, but all are toxic. Much of [Robin DiAngelo’s] advice is geared toward recognizing and treating these symptoms in the workplace, so I’ve taken the liberty of imagining some ways in which they might manifest in your dorm room. I imagine these as possibilities, because they are, in part, taken from my own experience of being the roommate with white fragility and saying some cringeworthy things that revealed what DiAngelo refers to as ‘racial stupidity.’”
Dina Gilio-Whitaker’s “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack of Settler Privilege”
“All of today’s settlers and immigrants are in one way or another beneficiaries of genocide and land theft, even if they are simultaneously themselves victims of other forms of discrimination (with the possible exception of migratory Indigenous peoples of “Meso-America”). I realize this may be difficult for people of color to hear. But this is what it means to center settler colonialism as a framework for understanding the foundation of the US beyond an analysis of race, since the origins of the US are rooted in foreign invasion, not racism.”
Dina Gilio-Whitaker’s “Settler Fragility: Why Settler Privilege Is So Hard to Talk About”
“Like white fragility, settler fragility is the inability to talk about unearned privilege—in this case, the privilege of living on lands that were taken in the name of democracy through profound violence and injustice. Like white privilege, white supremacy is also at the root of settler fragility. The difference is that foreign invasion, dispossession of Indigenous lands, and genocide were based on (white) European religious and cultural supremacy as encoded in the doctrine of discovery, not racial supremacy.”
Mary Frances Berry and Josh Gottheimer’s “The Story Behind Obama’s Keynote Address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention”
“Barack Obama began working on his speech in early July . . . Without missing a beat, Obama turned to his aides and delivered a clear message: he would write this speech. According to Gibbs, ‘He wanted to write this speech . . . in a way that was personal.” Axelrod later commented, ‘Almost immediately he said to me, ‘I know what I want to do. I want to talk about my story as part of the American story.’” (Posted originally in July 2016)
“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone; no nation can live alone, and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world.” (Posted originally in December 2017)
Danielle Ofri’s “Dr. Lisa Schwartz, We Will Miss You”
“But it was my supreme good fortune to have Lisa Schwartz at the helm as I struggled to find my way on the 16-North medical ward. Lisa defined for me what it was to be a doctor at Bellevue—committed, brilliant, easy-going, and of course, endowed with a suitably dry sense of humor . . . . She not only taught us students the ins and outs of medicine; she taught us how to be a doctor—in the fullest sense of the word. They say you never forget your ‘first,’ and Lisa Schwartz was my first. We’ll miss you!”