Recently, I had the opportunity to read White fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism (DiAngelo, 2018). The book was paradigm shifting regarding my views on the systemic nature of racism and how, I as a white male, have unknowingly and unwittingly perpetuated racist beliefs and values.
Case in point: Growing up, my friends and I played cowboys and outlaws based upon the westerns we saw on TV. In those shows, good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black hats. White was good, black was bad. My parents didn’t know they were perpetuating a system of racism, we were just kids being kids. But in reality, we were white kids reinforcing an embedded and endemic system of white privilege based upon “harmless” TV shows. Even as I type this confession, I feel a mixture of shame and embarrassment after reading DiAngelo (2018).
I am now forced to reflect, reevaluate, and respond to the question of how may I, as a Christian white man, talk with other white men and women of faith, on the topic of white fragility to be a change agent to fight against racism?
So what color is my hat? I have tan ones, plaid ones, blue ones, black ones, and white ones. And while I can change the color of the hat I wear on my head, I can’t change the color of my skin. Hence, it’s not the hat I need to change, it’s the head, heart, and mind upon which it rests that must be changed.
Diangelo, R. (2018). White fragility: Why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism. Beacon Press.