Godless Spellchecker reviews “White Fragility”

Robin DiAngelo’s book White Fragility has enjoyed a tremendous resurgence of popularity since George Floyd’s murder. It’s appearing on many college reading lists, and is even a recommended resource of the Society for the Study of Evolution, which has now gone uber woke and has a full page of resources that will teach the guilt-ridden evolutionist “how to be an anti-racist”, including a list of places where you can give money. (Why a society dedicated to promoting the study of evolution needs such a page is beyond me.)

I suppose that, given its popularity, I need to read DiAngelo’s book. Not willing to pay for it, I see that it’s online at my University library, and I suppose I will essay it. But I’m looking forward to it about as much as I looked forward to my hernia operation. That is, I know it’s necessary but also that it will be painful.

This, at least, is my preliminary conclusion from having read two negative reviews of the book by people I respect. One is John McWhorter, whose Atlantic review is here (I discussed it in a recent post.) The other is Godless Spellchecker (Stephen Knight), who has a review on his own website. Click the screenshot below to read it.

It turns out that Knight and McWhorter come to pretty much identical conclusions, even both comparing DiAngelo’s form of anti-racism to a religion. I’ll put Knight’s quotes in indented Roman type, and McWhorter’s in italics.

Opening statements:

I make a habit of reading books and articles that I expect to find disagreeable. This serves to test my convictions as I bounce them off opposing views and discover whether or not they survive the collisions. Moreover, the willingness to seek out alternate views invariably teaches you something that you did not know. In fact, sometimes you actually learn that your understanding of the issue was completely wrong altogether.

The fact that Robin DiAngelo’s ‘White Fragility’ did not manage to be informative or useful on any level is an achievement in and of itself. I’ve never encountered a book so intellectually vapid as to make me worry that reading it may have actually subtracted some knowledge.

vs.

DiAngelo has convinced university administrators, corporate human-resources offices, and no small part of the reading public that white Americans must embark on a self-critical project of looking inward to examine and work against racist biases that many have barely known they had.

I am not convinced. Rather, I have learned that one of America’s favorite advice books of the moment is actually a racist tract. Despite the sincere intentions of its author, the book diminishes Black people in the name of dignifying us. This is unintentional, of course, like the racism DiAngelo sees in all whites. Still, the book is pernicious because of the authority that its author has been granted over the way innocent readers think.

White anti-racism can never win because white supremacy is forever entrenched:

We are told that ‘a positive white identity is an impossible goal. White identity is inherently racist. White people do not exist outside of the system of white supremacy’.

vs.

That is a pretty strong charge to make against people who, according to DiAngelo, don’t even conceive of their own whiteness. But if you are white, make no mistake: You will never succeed in the “work” she demands of you. It is lifelong, and you will die a racist just as you will die a sinner.

DiAngelo’s doctrine is akin to a religion:

There are many ways in which her arguments mimic the structure of fundamental religion. The book is awash with unfalsifiable claims and contains a plethora of conflicting dogmas and injunctions that are impossible to satisfy. The author leans heavily on the idea that you are born sick—sorry, ‘privileged’—and must seek to absolve your sins—sorry, ‘whiteness’—for as long as you walk the earth. Also, if you disagree with the tenets of this scripture, that is in itself evidence that the devil—sorry , ‘white fragility’—is working through you.

. . . Also, no religion would be complete without its martyrs. A role which DiAngelo also steps up to. ‘Because I am seen as somewhat more racially aware than other whites, people of colour will often give me a pass’ she writes. She momentarily reveals how virtuous she is compared to us mere troglowhites, before heroically declaring how she refuses to let her own woke brilliance go to her head. She informs us that this sort of ‘black acceptance’ only serves to ‘stunt her path of racial growth’ apparently and therefore the black individual praising her is actually guilty of colluding with her racism.

vs.

That is a pretty strong charge to make against people who, according to DiAngelo, don’t even conceive of their own whiteness. But if you are white, make no mistake: You will never succeed in the “work” she demands of you. It is lifelong, and you will die a racist just as you will die a sinner.

She operates from the now-familiar concern with white privilege, aware of the unintentional racism ever lurking inside of her that was inculcated from birth by the white supremacy on which America was founded. To atone for this original sin, she is devoted to endlessly exploring, acknowledging, and seeking to undo whites’ “complicity with and investment in” racism. To DiAngelo, any failure to do this “work,” as adherents of this paradigm often put it, renders one racist. [See also McWhorter’s “sinner” comment above and “prayer book” and “cult” comments below.]

DiAngelo’s schema is a watertight edifice that can’t be refuted:

And if you find it somewhat irksome to be accused of white supremacy (as any non-racist would), that too is evidence of your ‘white fragility’. Checkmate, said the pigeon.

. . . In a modern twist on experiments concerning the buoyancy of witches, DiAngelo argues that feeling ‘outraged’ by accusations of racism levelled at you is simply further proof of your ‘white fragility’. When faced with accusations of racism, no matter ‘how/when/why’ they occur, you must not only accept them, but be grateful to receive them. The idea that some accusations of racism will be false/and or irrational are simply not even entertained as a possibility by the author. If you don’t think you are a racist, that’s simply because you are a racist, obvs.

vs.

She operates from the now-familiar concern with white privilege, aware of the unintentional racism ever lurking inside of her that was inculcated from birth by the white supremacy on which America was founded. To atone for this original sin, she is devoted to endlessly exploring, acknowledging, and seeking to undo whites’ “complicity with and investment in” racism. To DiAngelo, any failure to do this “work,” as adherents of this paradigm often put it, renders one racist.

Diangelo also writes as if certain shibboleths of the Black left—for instance, that all disparities between white and Black people are due to racism of some kind—represent the incontestable truth. This ideological bias is hardly unique to DiAngelo, and a reader could look past it, along with the other lapses in argumentation I have noted, if she offered some kind of higher wisdom. The problem is that White Fragility is the prayer book for what can only be described as a cult.

. . . If you object to any of the “feedback” that DiAngelo offers you about your racism, you are engaging in a type of bullying “whose function is to obscure racism, protect white dominance, and regain white equilibrium.”

DiAngelo has no workable solutions for racism:

But the tragedy of all this is that ‘White Fragility’ is nothing more than a pseudo-intellectual misdirection masquerading as compassionate activism. In reality, this performative, humble-bragging white guilt will do nothing to help alleviate inequality or improve the material needs of black people. It’s a lazy way for white racists to alleviate their guilty consciences and continue to avoid doing anything useful for the the people they claim to care about—except for treating them like children. Just so long as you are willing to admit how awful and privileged you are (I.e. talk about yourself incessantly), then you don’t have to talk about the real issues facing black communities or think too hard about a complicated issue and its difficult questions.

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And herein is the real problem with White Fragility. DiAngelo does not see fit to address why all of this agonizing soul-searching is necessary to forging change in society. One might ask just how a people can be poised for making change when they have been taught that pretty much anything they say or think is racist and thus antithetical to the good. What end does all this self-mortification serve? Impatient with such questions, DiAngelo insists that “wanting to jump over the hard, personal work and get to ‘solutions’” is a “foundation of white fragility.” In other words, for DiAngelo, the whole point is the suffering. 

DiAngelo’s book is itself racist:

Throughout this book I was also taken aback with how often the author reveals how little she thinks of black people in general. She doesn’t consider black people in terms of the individual. In fact, she doesn’t accept the notion of ‘the individual’ at all, warning that individualism is a harmful ‘white’ idea proposed to avoid acknowledging the unique evils of ‘whiteness’. The entire book reads as though a white supremacist feels guilt for their prejudices, and confesses in the hope that we will be inspired to do the same, seemingly unaware that normal people do not think about black people and their own skin colour the way she does.

For example, the author argues that a desire to have discussions in a ‘respectful environment’ of ‘non-conflict’ is a very white-centric notion of what it means to be ‘respectful’. Therefore imposing these ‘white’ norms of civility creates a ‘hostile environment’ for non-white people. This is what the racism of low expectation looks like. She goes on to say that ‘feedback on white racism is difficult to give [and] how I am given the feedback is not as relevant as the feedback itself’.

Of course something can be true whether it is argued in a logical and calm manner or whether it is screamed in your face whilst you are trying to eat your lunch. However, the idea that the former approach comes more naturally to white people frames black people as belligerent infants, incapable of attaining the white gold standard of rationality and civility. It’s as offensive as it is infantilising. This is a wall of white supremacy glossed over with a thick coat of guilt.

vs.

White Fragility is, in the end, a book about how to make certain educated white readers feel better about themselves. DiAngelo’s outlook rests upon a depiction of Black people as endlessly delicate poster children within this self-gratifying fantasy about how white America needs to think—or, better, stop thinking. Her answer to white fragility, in other words, entails an elaborate and pitilessly dehumanizing condescension toward Black people. The sad truth is that anyone falling under the sway of this blinkered, self-satisfied, punitive stunt of a primer has been taught, by a well-intentioned but tragically misguided pastor, how to be racist in a whole new way.

Now I’m not at all implying that the authors have copied each other; rather, I see this as two keen minds (one in a black body, the other in a white) coming up with similar conclusions. I expect I’ll have my own conclusions after I read the book, but the odds are that I’ll agree with both McWhorter and Knight.

If you’ve already read the book, do weigh in below.

44 Comments

  1. eric
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Another example, I guess, of the self-help industry taking simple lessons we should all work on and monetizing them into programs that make us feel like we’re doing more than we are.

    I know I probably don’t treat everyone equally. I know I should. I can work on that…or I can pay $500 for a course that will give me the feeling like I’ve worked on it, and not actually do the work, since that involves serious introspection and changing how I behave around others. Given the options…can I get a hurray for disposable income?!?

  2. Posted July 28, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    1) I think you need/want to read the book so you can write your own review which you could hardly do without reading it. Nothing wrong with that. I look forward to reading it (your review, not “White Fragility”).

    2) I find that DeAngelo’s baring of her racist soul is somewhat analogous to the need for bad artists to paint themselves nude and call it art. It combines a calculated attempt to engage people’s prurient interests and boost their own virtuosity as if to exclaim, “Look at me! I have overcome my embarrassment and have bared it all for my art. Bet you couldn’t do that!” Some stand-up comics indulge themselves in this too. It’s a cheap, one-shot way to gain fame and attention.

  3. dd
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Your readers, Dr. Coyne, wait for your review.

    I have read excerpts from it and what immediately came to mind was the psychological literature used to pathologize gays (and women).

    I was fascinated by it when I first came out and for many years afterwards, fortunately always seeing through it, not with it.

    And a few minutes after reading part of “White Fragility” the memories came back: Diangelo’s book and all that awful (and sometimes comical) patholigizing literature issued from breathtakingly similar pedagogy and means. Right down to the non-falsifiability.

    Glad you will be doing the dirty work of reading it on your readers’ behalf.

    • Posted July 28, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      I like that image. Our host will read the horrible book so that we don’t have to. He will undoubtedly die (a little) for our racist sins — for those of us who are white, of course. 😉

      • JP415
        Posted July 28, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        A sacrifice worthy of Jesus himself!

  4. john reynolds
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Pretty much all cultures have slavery embedded in their histories. White culture ended slavery and did it based on the idea of the individual. The idea that white culture created the idea of the worth of the individual in and of itself as a tool for slavery is laughable, The authoritarian left stands history on it’s head once again.

  5. jezgrove
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Knight’s final sentences are great: “No doubt the act of a white man quoting MLK’s brilliance in this way will soon find itself on the ever-expanding list of ‘racist microaggressions’. But I don’t care. And neither should you. Because MLK was right then and he’s right now.”

  6. Jon Gallant
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    As I have pointed out before, combining religion with a racket wasn’t invented by Robin and her fellow Diversity Consultants.
    Holy mother Church invented the Pardoner’s hustle in the 14th century. Chaucer described Robin’s medieval counterparts long ago.

    “His walet lay byforn him in his lappe,
    Bret-ful of pardoun come from Rome al hoot.”

    What! trowe ye, whiles that I may preche
    And wynne gold and silver for I teche,
    That I wil lyve in povert wilfully?

    For I wol preche and begge in sondry londes,
    I wil not do no labour with myn hondes,

    I wol noon of thapostles counterfete
    I wol have money, wolle, chese, and whete.”

    • John Dentinger
      Posted July 28, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Not bad, but I much prefer the way Nicholas combines religion with a scheme in the Miller’s Tale: a lot funnier, although not as profitable in the ers (oops, I meant ‘end’).

  7. notsecurelyanchored
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    It’s the old Freudian Reaction Formation ploy; the more you deny your racism the more racist you are. If you deny you are a racist, that proves you are a racist. If you admit you are a racist, that proves you are a racist.
    Also I’m worried Ms. DiAngelo’s necklace is cultural appropriation.

  8. Keith
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I haven’t read the book but feel as though I should in an effort to stay informed about important cultural trends. I disagree with the book’s premise as it appears in the subtitle: I am white and do not find it uncomfortable to talk about race, although I concede that many whites probably do find the topic uncomfortable.

  9. Historian
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I wonder how much these criticisms of her book has helped sales. In any case, DiAngelo is probably laughing at her critics with justification. Forbes reports:

    “The top-selling title White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, who is white, moved 437,289 print copies from May to June, up 2264% from 18,492 in the two months prior. “

    She’s very rich now. She will probably be on the lecture circuit for years. The self-flagellating liberals will remind her not to forget her whip.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2020/07/22/sales-of-white-fragility-and-other-anti-racism-books-jumped-over-2000-after-protests-began/#6029f4ea303d

    • eric
      Posted July 28, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      I’d be curious to know how much of that was individual sales, vs. companies buying copies to use in sensitivity training or ethics training and the like.

      It’s certainly the case that the several work units for which I receive internal emails all talked about BLM and the need for greater sensitivity in the workplace. There were also meetings. Many meetings. Though I haven’t personally had to sit through a workshop based on her book (yet), I wouldn’t be at all surprised if corporate America is buying up copies of her book to use in employee training about racial discrimination (real intent: protect themselves from possible future litigation).

  10. Posted July 28, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Since George Floyd, & the world went mad has anyone actually seen Ms. DiAngelo in any media? Even Lenin managed to cross Europe in the middle of a world war.

  11. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    “…a pseudo-intellectual misdirection masquerading as compassionate activism. In reality, this performative, humble-bragging white guilt will do nothing to help alleviate inequality or improve the material needs of black people. It’s a lazy way for white racists to alleviate their guilty consciences and continue to avoid doing anything useful for the the people they claim to care about—except for treating them like children”.
    Well, Ms DiAngelo, isn’t that exactly what you are doing? I admire your art of such precise self-description, while remaining blind to the fact you are describing yourself to a T.

    • Adam M.
      Posted July 28, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      I’m pretty sure that quote is from Godless Spellchecker.

  12. Ray Little
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I think the entry needs revision. McWhorter appears in plain and italic type, repeated.

    • Posted July 28, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I misplaced quotes when I was doing a rather complicated post. It should be okay now.

  13. Laurance
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I feel as though I should read it, although I don’t feel like buying the damn thing and paying my money.

    I’ve been reading reviews and I expect the book to be awful. But I don’t think it’s quite right for me to pronounce on the thing without having actually read it myself.

    Good idea – the University library online. I will check the Penn State Library – I have the kind of Library Card they give to us townies – and see if I get borrow the virtual online version.

  14. James Lowe
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I found DiAngelo’s work to be quite frustrating. As someone who came to it with an open mind but one keen to ensure that any learning and self-improvement was based on sound logic, I rapidly discovered that DiAngelo has two disconcerting habits.

    1) As has been pointed out, the ‘infallible’ paradoxes (from Original Sin to ‘the very proof of your innocence condemns you’). I find that sort circular logic to be quite unconvincing.
    2) Her tendency to embed an illogical step within a logical construction. E.g. 2+2=4, 4+4=8, 8+8=16, ergo, everyone is racist. I would find myself nodding along, agreeing with the author, and then suddenly feel like I’d missed a paragraph.

    Both these habits become clear in the opening few pages and it remains a theme throughout.

    It’s such a shame, given her reach, that these were the stone tablets that were shared.

  15. Posted July 28, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Your years of reading theology have probably prepared you to better endure what awaits you. I wish you luck!

  16. darrelle
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    White Fragility is, in the end, a book about how to make certain educated white readers feel better about themselves. DiAngelo’s outlook rests upon a depiction of Black people as endlessly delicate poster children within this self-gratifying fantasy about how white America needs to think—or, better, stop thinking.

    This corresponds very closely to accommodationism.

  17. Historian
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I have not read DiAngelo so I will not comment on the book. However, regardless of what you think of it, we must not let such attitudes diminish an acknowledgement of the continuing presence of racism in American society, which I think must readers of this site do not, although many white Americans do. Interestingly, there seems to be a correlation between the white religious affiliated with a church and racism. So says Robert P. Jones, whose job is to study the relationship between religion and society. Raised as Southern Baptist and, I think, is still religious, his scholarly research has revealed this:

    ———————
    • White Christians think of themselves as people who hold warm feelings toward African Americans, while simultaneously embracing a host of racist attitudes that are inconsistent with that assertion.
    • Holding more racist views is a positive independent predictor of white Christian identity overall and for each of the three white Christian subgroups individually. By contrast, holding more racist views has only a very weak effect on white religiously unaffiliated identity, and that effect is in the negative direction.
    • Attending church more frequently does not make white congregants less racist. On the contrary, there is a positive relationship between holding racist attitudes and white Christian identity among both frequent (weekly or more) and infrequent (seldom or never) church attenders.
    • When we reverse the analysis to predict racist attitudes, being affiliated with each white Christian identity is independently associated with an approximately 10 percent increase in racist attitudes. By contrast, there is no significant relationship between white religiously unaffiliated identity and holding racist attitudes.

    Putting this in plain language, our models reveal that the more racist attitudes a person holds, the more likely he or she is to identify as a white Christian and vice versa.

    ——————–
    Jones’ research provides more evidence of how religion is bad for society. It provides empirical evidence rather than bold assertions based on nothing but feelings.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/white-christian-america-needs-moral-awakening/614641/

    • eric
      Posted July 28, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      regardless of what you think of it, we must not let such attitudes diminish an acknowledgement of the continuing presence of racism in American society

      Of course! That is how most cons work – find a real need and offer a solution to it. It’s much easier to convince someone to buy your headache cure for the low low price of $9.99* when they actually have a headache.

      *Actual price of book on Amazon is $9.60.

  18. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Donate the book profits!
    “She operates from the now-familiar concern with white privilege, aware of the unintentional racism ever lurking inside of her that was inculcated from birth by the white supremacy on which America was founded. To atone for this original sin, she is devoted to endlessly exploring, acknowledging, and seeking to undo whites’ “complicity with and investment in” racism.”

    How about she donates all of those juicy profits earned from self flagellation to the NAACP? This would surely be a blow against racism and a true expression of her obvious virtue.

    • Mike
      Posted July 28, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      I think of this as part of the grift, and part of the reason for focusing on race rather than on class (and especially poverty). By focusing critical theory on a variable like race that has no fungible properties, DiAngelo can admit her own racism and promise to struggle with it, and she can become rich in the process of teaching this attitude to other white people. But because the theory is focused on race, she cannot gift her whiteness to Black people or do anything else to directly respond to anti-Black racism. If critical theory was focused on inequality associated with class and wealth and poverty, which has a fungible property (money), it would be obvious and easy how DiAngelo and others could directly address inequality: by giving their money away to poor people.

  19. Posted July 28, 2020 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    “It is lifelong, and you will die a racist just as you will die a sinner”

    This is essentially her argument. Hitchens would not have it. She asserts it without evidence.

  20. kraeuterbutter
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    One Quote from John McWhorter’s article:

    “What end does all this self-mortification serve? Impatient with such questions, DiAngelo insists that “wanting to jump over the hard, personal work and get to ‘solutions’” is a “foundation of white fragility.” In other words, for DiAngelo, the whole point is the suffering.

    Suffering.

    Was it not Mother Teresa who preached suffering? Does not Robin DiAngelo sound like the supreme leader of a Christian oder?

    • Mike
      Posted July 28, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Yes, exactly.

  21. Posted July 28, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    No doubt, the book is rubbish. However, Stephen Knight is someone I remember promoting the event “Day For Freedom” in London, and did so unapologetically and without reservation when I pointed out to him that half the roster on the very poster of that event were far right or even neo nazi characters. They lobbied for National Front (France), joined the UKIP, or were outright and openly associated with far right movements, like the Austrian Martin Sellner who was leader of the Identitarian Movement (on this lineup, he’s the guy with the Adolf-Hitler-remembrance haircut). His now-wife is the far right conspiracy theorist Brittany Sellner (née Pettibone who was also involved with the event).

    No doubt, someone will draw the “guilty by association” card, misunderstanding how this fallacy works. I hope they made sure they read, and understand the concept first before they complain.

    I am of course willing to grant that Stephen Knight has changed his views on that matter, and now sees that these opinion leaders are both far right and disreputable, and not worthy of attention. If that’s the case, I am happy to learn about that.

    If we ignore the right wing, or even platform them because their clock broke at 8 and it’s eight now, we won’t do anyone a favour. Their views are of questionable value. It is also counterproductive, as they will only embolden the woke.

    • Posted July 28, 2020 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

      By ‘promoting’ I assume you mean ‘reporting from’. As I have from many large events. I suppose people can watch my coverage (https://youtu.be/0ZGMzPIFIIk) and make up their own minds up about just how ‘far-right’ or ‘neo-Nazi’ this event was. Or read this. https://www.spiked-online.com/2018/05/09/the-day-for-freedom-was-not-a-far-right-rally/

      Yes, this is simply guilt by association. Especially since I have been openly critical of several of the individuals at the event (Robinson, Mcinnes, Kassam etc). And ‘Joined the UKIP’ you say? Utterly outrageous!

      • Larry Metcalfe
        Posted July 29, 2020 at 1:27 am | Permalink

        So Stephen’s rebuttal is an article from Spiked. This fits with his history of his many podcasts and interactions with lots of the Spiked crazies. All unchallenged of course.

        Then we have his multiple podcasts with Claire Fox, unapologetic former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, genocide denier, and IRA terrorism supporter. All unchallenged of course.

        Stephen Knight, who thinks Nigel Farage is “barely right of centre”.

        Stephen Knight, who, wanting to invite someone onto his podcast to talk about the coronovirus, invites that well known epidemiologist and all round medical genius, Toby “we’re about to reach herd immunity” Young.

        • Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:02 am | Permalink

          This is not an argument against his review, it is an attempt to say that his review is worthless because of who he associated with or reviewed. Do you care to go after John McWhorter, who made similar arguments, by pointing out similar associations?

          Sorry, but here we engage with arguments, which you have not done her.

        • Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:16 am | Permalink

          Almost everything you have said there is either misrepresented or simply untrue.

          First of all, I’ve had hundreds of guests on my podcast. Some of them are writers at Spiked. I’ve also had people from Spiked on specifically to be debated because I disagreed with something they wrote. So, that’s your first untrue claim.

          I’ve had Claire on the podcast precisely once. So, that’s the second untrue claim. I can’t speak to everything you have attributed to her, but she came on to talk about the Battle Of Ideas. She is also a fixture of the BBC, so your attempt to portray her as some sort of fringe loon doesn’t really wash. In fact, every single person I have interviewed from Spiked regularly appears on mainstream news programming.

          Where are you pulling ‘my’ quote about Nigel Farage from? And what do you think that would prove? Do I need to declare everyone you don’t like as ‘far-right’ before I can be part of your perfectly pure club where we only talk to those with the approved opinions?

          I invited Toby Young on to talk about his free speech union and cancel culture. His work on lockdown skeptics naturally came up. And I challenged him on his output on it. And?

          You just seem annoyed that I sometimes interview people you don’t like. I simply just do not care. It’s not an argument.

      • Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        You approvingly reported. And you had called the speakers merely “controversial” and on Twitter mocked reporters who said, accurately, that many are far right or supremacist. That’s why I engaged with you (I did follow you for atheist content I liked). You downplaying now again, by picking out the UKIP to laugh it off. That’s your take-away here?

        Under Batten, and when a few of the speakers joined, the party was described as having moved far right — even someone like Farage found them too right wing. Let me be charitable and grant you found that arguable. Fine, but it is not arguable enough to just laugh it off.

        Then there’s Sellner and Southern on the very poster who were both deep into the identitarian movement by then. Officially official mind you, since your type always plays games and try to deny that away too. They can literally work with openly identitarian organisations.

        Identitarian Movement, with Sellner listed as a key character. And here is just a random tweet by Southern, posing with the identitarian flag.

        I am afraid, you come off as a typical New Right identitarian advocate.

  22. Richard Sanderson🤴
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Surpsingly, not that many references to DiAngelo’s BS over at anti-science regressive SJW central, FreeThoughtBlogs.

    Although one Pharyngula commentator said: “Taibi started to lose me when he opined that the book “White Fragility” was “‘pseudo-intellectual horseshit’ that is likely to have pernicious effects for race relations.”

    I expect that the dregs over there are probably concerned that a white author is colonising black people’s books sales and grifting lectures.

  23. JP415
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    . . . a desire to have discussions in a ‘respectful environment’ of ‘non-conflict’ is a very white-centric notion of what it means to be ‘respectful’.

    That line of reasoning could be used to justify any type of bad behavior from people of color. E.g. The idea of property rights is an artifact of white culture, so it’s racist to prevent a person of color from stealing your car or breaking into your house. I’m sure Johnnie Cochran would have loved to hire Robin DiAngelo for O.J. Simpson’s defense team. “Your honor, people of color are more physically demonstrative than white folks. It’s unfair to impose white standards of connubial deference and emotional restraint on Mr. Simpson. When he punched Mrs. Simpson in the face, he was simply expressing his frustrations in a way that was appropriate to his lived experience.”

    If you take DiAngelo’s argument to its logical conclusion, you would arrive at a kind of moral relativism in which different ethnic groups are held to different standards of conduct — which would be a real disaster if those ideas made their way into the legal system.

  24. Jon Gallant
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t read White Frag, but have endured parts of a couple of DiAngelo’s lectures on the radio, so I have some idea of her shtick.
    Discourse based on nothing but navel-gazing is familiar in the literature of religion and philosophy, and recently in pseudosciences such as those of Freud and H. Ron Hubbard. Since the method precludes input from outside
    the navel-gazer (what we call “data”), it lacks the feedback loops that link empirical science to the real world. For this reason, there is never progress in subjects based on navel-gazing, just the same kind of discourse circling around and around in those familiar, ever decreasing concentric circles. I guess
    this mode satisfies an addiction of some kind, but in terms of findings that affect human welfare, it has been extraordinarily useless. The empirical science method, in contrast, took us from the discovery of cooked food to more recent innovations, such as vaccines.

  25. bPer
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    PCC(e), I’m sorry to have to report that you have some major typos in the quote comparisons – whole blocks of quoted material that are misplaced, missing or mis-attributed:

    • In the section entitled “DiAngelo’s doctrine is akin to a religion:”, the first paragraph of Knight’s part is actually a copy of McWhorter’s part from the previous section. Given that the next paragraph starts with ellipses, I wonder if you actually just messed up the copy/paste of Knight’s first paragraph, so a block of text is actually missing from Knight’s quote. His discussion of the similarity to religion actually starts nine paragraphs before the part you quoted.

    • In the section entitled “DiAngelo’s schema is a watertight edifice that can’t be refuted:”, Knight’s entire quote is again a copy of McWhorter’s contribution from the previous section, minus your bracketed comment at the end. Knight’s actual quote is missing.

    βPer

  26. Roo
    Posted July 28, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I feel a general sense of relief that people are finally noticing that this philosophy is, in fact, bats*t crazy. Even more so when I hear people echo my feelings, saying some variation of “For a long time I thought I was going crazy, because I kept waiting for someone to say this was nuts, and everybody was nodding their heads in rapt agreement”. That part is all very validating.

    What has been very disappointing is seeing how easily many liberals were duped by this stuff. I would have liked to have believed that there was a wisdom in liberal philosophy that would have shined a light on this type of thing right away. That was, unfortunately, not the case.

  27. Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    I look forward to your review, Professor.

  28. Posted July 29, 2020 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    Don’t miss Matt Taibbi’s analysis: “It makes The Art of the Deal read like Anna Karenina.”


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