Navigating White Fragility

In addition to understanding our own social location given our racial and ethnic identities, as discussed in the previous two sections, it is also important for us to recognize how certain dynamics show up in our interactions. One such dynamic is called “white fragility,” and it is helpful to have a basic understanding of how it plays out.

Please watch the following short video, created by one of our program leaders, to understand how white fragility might show up in your immersion journeys.  Here is a transcript of the video.

The password for this video is “fragility”

Here is the link mentioned in the video, where you can access the full academic article by Dr. Robin DiAngelo, where she coined the term “white fragility” and explains it in more detail.

Reflect & Prepare

In your journal, or in conversation with a trusted friend that shares your race/ethnicity, please explore the following questions:

  • Have you personally experienced or witnessed a strong emotional response to discussions of race and racism, as described in the video and article? What happened?


  • If you identify as a person of color…
    • Are there particular expressions of white fragility that are difficult for you to witness?
    • What have you found are useful ways for you to take care of yourself when you find yourself triggered by expressions of white fragility?


  • If you identify as white…
    • Make a plan for how you would like to support your fellow white sojourners. What have you personally found most helpful when struggling emotionally with the impact of racism?
    • Find a buddy for your immersion journey, so you are able to process the emotional impact of your experience. This might be a fellow traveler, or someone at home who is available to hold you and support you emotionally.
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