Notes on 'Professor Fragility'

Friday, 17 April 2015 14:41 GFP Columnist - G. Tod Slone
Trigger Warning: The Following Will Upset the Westfield State University Campus-Designated Safe Zone of Thought; Consult at Your Own Risk...

Over the past several decades I’ve questioned and challenged many professors.  Few if any have ever responded with clear counter arguments.  In fact, I cannot think of one.  A handful have responded with ad hominem.

Most simply choose not to respond.  Those observations have brought me to conclude that “Professor Fragility” is a reality. 

In any case, Sam Adler-Bell’s Raw Story interview ( with Robin DiAngelo, white-privileged Associate Professor of Critical Multicultural and Social Justice Education at Westfield State University (MA), fails to question and challenge at all.  Why, one must ask, do so many journalists like Adler-Bell simply provide space for a convenient and simplistic anti-white stereotype narrative?  In this case, the narrative is called “white fragility,” DiAngelo’s purported invention.  So, allow me to present a challenge to it, since all Adler-Bell did was open wide and swallow it. 

The “white fragility” argument is one-sided—anti-white—as tends to be most conversation about racism today.  Would it not be somewhat unique to add to it, a stereotype “black fragility” component?  After all, do not predictable patterns also include black “inability to tolerate any kind of challenge” to the racial narrative, as in black anti-white racism, black entitlement, black multimillionaires in power positions, Affirmative Action privilege, etc.?  Don’t blacks “shut down or lash out or in whatever way possible block any reflection from taking place,” regarding challenges to their narrative?  Don’t they also “regress into an emotional state that prevents anybody from moving forward”? 

All DiAngelo has really done is add a component to the old Tim Wise concept of “white privilege,” which she oddly notes “unfortunately it’s been played so much now that it turns people off.”  Well, why does the notion of “white privilege” turn people off nowadays?  Why didn’t Adler-Bell ask that question?  And why doesn’t DiAngelo evoke it?  In fact, one must wonder if DiAngelo has created a lucrative vein like the “white privilege” one created by Wise.  Is she amassing a small fortune like Wise on the “white privilege,” uh, “white fragility” speaking engagement and workshop circuit?  Rather than bank the cash, why are  she and Wise likely not donating all of it to help lift inner city blacks from poverty?  Pipe dream?

 DiAngelo mentions, “white fragility also comes from a deep sense of entitlement,” and conveniently fails to mention why blacks do not possess such a sense of entitlement, which is clearly her implication.  In essence, her entire argument is black and white with no room at all for shades of gray.  She places all whites in one entitlement box and consequently all blacks in a victim box.  How more divisive and simplistic can one possibly get?  Whites are privileged (i.e., fragile), while blacks are not.  The poverty-stricken white person is far better off than millionaires like Holder, Obama, and Oprah because, after all, he or she is white, while they are not.

Why aren’t institutions like Westfield State University focusing more on “democracy training” and less on “diversity training”?  Why don’t they have directors of democracy, instead of just directors of diversity?  Well, the reason is evident: the notion of “diversity” has become a form of politically-correct indoctrination (i.e., social engineering), while democracy (i.e., freedom of speech and vigorous debate) can evidently be harmful to it. 

DiAngelo concludes: “The arrogance of white people faced with questions of race is unbelievable.”  Again, she deals in base, racist anti-white stereotypes.  All whites are arrogant, consequently all blacks are not.  Can that really be what her 20 years of PhD research in “race relations and white racial identity”  ended up concluding?  Now, how easily it would be for her to dismiss what I’ve written here with a simple statement:  you’ve freaked out because you’ve been called out on race.  Well, more likely, if inflicted with a serious case of “professor fragility,” she’ll just remain comfortably silent…

NB: DiAngelo is no longer teaching at Westfield State.  That’s what I just discovered.  Now, why didn’t Adler-Bell verify that?

Image Contributed by G. Tod Slone

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