by Robin DiAngelo
29 June 2021
Racism is not a simple matter of good people versus bad. In White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo explained how racism is a system into which all white people are socialized. She also made a provocative claim: that white progressives cause the most daily harm to people of colour.
In Nice Racism, her follow-up work, she explains how they do so. Drawing on her background as a sociologist and over twenty-five years working as an antiracist educator, she moves the conversation forward. Writing directly to white people as a white person, DiAngelo identifies many common 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 colour; pretending white segregation 'just happens'; expecting BIPOC people to teach us about racism; carefulness; and shame. She challenges the ideology of Individualism and explains why it is OK to generalize about white people, and 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 wants to take steps to align their values with their actual practice, and offers people of colour an 'insider's' perspective which may be helpful for navigating whiteness.