- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Duke Divinity School is hosting a workshop on “Confronting White Fragility” Tuesday to address why white people have a hard time talking about and acknowledging racism.

“This workshop will explore questions of why it is often so hard for white people to have honest conversations about race and racism in the United States today and how can this difficulty in engaging with race and racism manifest in the classroom in harmful ways—often in combination with intersecting issues related to gender and sexuality,” a description of the event reads.

The event, first reported by The College Fix, features former University of Washington professor Robin DiAngelo, who claims to have coined the phrase “white fragility” in 2011. She is the author of the forthcoming book “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.”

According to Ms. DiAngelo’s book, white fragility “refers to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially.” It can include emotions such as “anger, fear, and guilt,” and behaviors as divergent as “argumentation and silence.”

This is the second conference in as many months hosted by the Duke Divinity School featuring Ms. DiAngelo’s work.

On Jan. 31, the divinity school hosted a talk, “White Fragility in the Classroom,” largely on the same subject matter but specifically geared toward preceptors.

Ms. DiAngelo has recently delivered similar lectures at the University of Washington and the University of Texas.

At the latter campus last November, she said there are too many white teachers in America and claimed her research provokes “irrational” responses from white people.

After inviting people on stage to participate in her presentation, Ms. DiAngelo instructed the audience not to clap for white participants as they returned to their seats.

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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