by Christopher Paslay
According to an article in The Federalist, “Legions of ‘trainers’ holding up ‘White Fragility’ are indoctrinating government agencies, corporate workforces, and schools. People subjected to it may have good grounds for a lawsuit.”
Adam Mill, an attorney specializing in labor and employment and public administration law in Kansas City, Missouri, recently wrote an article in The Federalist headlined, “Teaching Robin DiAngelo’s ‘White Fragility’ Will Get You Sued.” In it he writes of a typical White Fragility training session, where a person gets labeled a “racist” for trying to defend oneself:
How does one respond to this? Using erudite, academic words, a stranger has just accused you of being an “unconscious” racist. Worst of all, if you try to deny it, that’s just “white fragility” that “obstructs” the fight against racism. Denying you’re a racist is proof that you’re a racist.
Across the country, legions of these types of “trainers” are fanning out to indoctrinate in schools, government agencies, and corporate workforces. After a period of instruction, the trainers organize their students into small groups in which only one topic may be addressed: anecdotes of “racist” thoughts and deeds that reinforce the hypothesis. It’s like a giant group trial in which the accused is allowed to apologize but never allowed to defend herself.
Of course, nobody likes to be called a racist, particularly people who strive not to be one. It’s particularly galling to be assigned this malignant opinion by a stranger who knows nothing about the accused except the color of her skin.
. . . Truly, you have the right to object. Strangers do not have a right to assume your opinions based upon the circumstances of your birth. No, we don’t all have “unconscious biases” that make up a greater tapestry of “institutional racism.” That’s an unprovable hypothesis based upon a race-based stereotype.
In your workplace environment, it might not be prudent to speak up. It might cost you your job in an unfavorable labor market. . . . If the trainer persists, or you are disciplined for resisting this racial stereotype, file a discrimination complaint with Human Resources. It’s not legal to discriminate against any race or skin color—yes, even Caucasians. . . .
HR departments should tread very carefully when selecting training in the current environment. If management pushes training that assigns collective guilt to any race, religion, sex, or ethnicity, it may constitute direct evidence of discriminatory intent in a later lawsuit claiming discrimination.
Training based on the book White Fragility, if sponsored by decision-makers as a mandatory expression of corporate culture, will likely be heavily relied upon by future plaintiffs who suspect they were denied promotions, bonuses, and other opportunities due to their skin color.
Every American is entitled to equal treatment regardless of race. That is still the law — at least for the time being. But rights have a way of disappearing if nobody speaks up.
For the record, people have been speaking up. Calling out the discriminatory actions of New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza in 2019 is a prime example. His use of anti-bias training to dismantle what he called “White Supremacy Culture” in schools sparked a major backlash, prompting administrators, teachers, and parents to call parts of the workshops “ugly and divisive.”
Specifically, teachers were told by diversity consultants to “focus on black children over white ones,” and one Jewish superintendent who described her family’s Holocaust tragedies “was scolded and humiliated.” Ultimately, four white New York City school district executives, who were demoted or stripped of duties under Carranza’s administrative reorganization, sued the city, insisting he had created “an environment which is hostile toward whites.”
There is a solution to all this madness, of course — stay clear of Robin DiAngelo’s toxic White Fragility. For those teachers looking for a positive, holistic and unifying approach to ending systemic oppression . . . you guessed it: classic multicultural education is your best bet.