A character study of Robin DiAngelo, the woman behind “White Fragility,” is in order.
What follows is an investigation into DiAngelo’s family origin, childhood and adolescence, Lost Years, personality, some on career and education and relationships but with a personal focus. Novel sources and hard-to-find information extensively used.
This is a “biographical continuation” of the investigation into the history of the term she term she coined; see “White Fragility” and the Academia-to-Mainstream ‘Pipeline.’ An investigation into White Fragility Theory and its life-cycle from 2011 to 2020.
In Pursuit of the Woman Behind White Fragility Theory. “Who Radicalized Robin DiAngelo?”
By E.H. Hail
Introductory: The ‘People’ behind the ‘Pipeline’
“From an obscure fringe of academia in 2011 to the mainstream by mid-2020” sums up how the term/idea/taunt/disempowerment-slogan “White Fragility” traveled through US discourse.
There were several identifiable steps, stages, critical periods. The upward inflection points were generally associated with violence. A full account of the ascent-cycle for White Fragility can be read here.
White Fragility followed a traceable path, a path which we have referred to as The Pipeline, in which ideas born or nurtured on the fringes academia, so radical or bizarre they are laughed-off at the time (if indeed any mainstream person even becomes aware of them at this stage) in time penetrate to the “mainstream.” To use a more well-known term, this is the process by which the Overton Window shifts (is shifted). A close look at the way The Pipeline works gives great lessons on how politics and discourse work in the US and the West generally.
What about the ‘people’ behind the ‘Pipeline’? Ideas travel through The Pipeline. The term ‘Pipeline’ is intended to convey that a lot of ground is covered. White Fragility doctrine wasn’t imposed on America by some edict by Robin DiAngelo out of the blue in mid-2020. As such the process cannot really be reduced to (blamed on) the actions of single actors along the way. All the same, individuals do fill certain roles at different stages of The Pipeline and it would help to understand these people. Who fills these roles? Who are these people? What motivates them?
There are several brief portraits of individuals along different stages of The Pipeline process (ascent cycle) for White Fragility, but none is more important than the term’s coiner and popularizer, ROBIN DiANGELO. This study is about her.
Who is this woman? What lessons might a close look at her background yield as to how/why she ended up devoting her life to the promotion of an aggressive strain of ethnomasochism with religious-cult tendencies? In other words, Who (or ‘what’) radicalized Robin DiAngelo?Continue reading