Confronting racism can seem challenging, and confronting racism within yourself can be even more difficult, but understanding that implicit bias is the first step toward change. On June 17, White Fragility author Dr. Robin DiAngelo virtually sat down with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show to discuss the meaning behind implicit racism. During the discussion, DiAngelo emphasized why it's important for white people to understand and recognize unconscious expressions of racism within their behavior.
"When I'm talking about the racism that I have, the racism that you have, it's the result of living in a society in which racism is the foundation," DiAngelo told Fallon. "We all absorb it. There's no way we could exempt ourselves from it . . . White people often say 'I'm not racist.' I know you have, I have, done things in my life I recognize as racist today. I would not do them again. They were neither intentional, or even conscious, and yet they wounded other people nonetheless."
DiAngelo went on to discuss the "revolutionary" effect that self-reflection and active attempts to change for the better would have on society as a whole. "We make it so miserable for Black people to talk to us about what they're experiencing from us that most of the time they just don't. It's not worth it," she said. "It tends to get worse, not better. So, in that way, white fragility is quite powerful and it protects the racial status quo." In pointing out the regressive effects of white fragility, DiAngelo also encouraged white people to listen and learn, instead of automatically removing themselves from the conversation by saying "I'm not racist."
There are many steps on the path to being actively anti-racist, and one is diversifying the literature you surround yourself with. Read up on how to be a better ally, support your favorite Black authors, and check out these empowering and educational books by Black women to learn more about the experiences of the Black community and how you can help.