White Fragility: A Book Discussion

As the current environment makes clear, there is a need for everyone to join the anti-racism effort and to become more aware of their own contribution, both positive and negative. This book discussion will provide a venue for individuals to consider the historical impacts of systemic racism and white privilege; and how to move the needle from an issue for Black people to solve to asking what role white people must play for change to occur.

About the Book

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to bad people” (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear and guilt as well as behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.

Program Notes

Introduction by:

Sonya Jacobs, Chief Organizational Learning Officer and Senior Director, Michigan Medicine Faculty and Leadership Development

Discussion led by:

Brian Cole, Associate Director of Operations, Organizational Learning 

Space is limited to 30 participants per session 

We encourage you to purchase books from local bookstores or utilize your local library. Most library systems also provide access to e-book versions of most of their titles at no charge. We strive to share this opportunity with faculty and staff at the University of Michigan regardless of financial situation. If you require financial assistance to purchase this book, please reach out to orglearningemail@umich.edu and we will be happy to assist you. 


Anyone who would like to understand why it’s difficult for white people to talk about racism and how we all can approach racial discussions with humility and courage

Additional Notes:

This book discussion will be broken down into two parts. Part one will cover chapters 1-5. Part two will cover chapters 6-12. 

These sessions are being delivered in an online webinar format. Links for the sessions will be provided in the registration confirmation email.

Topic Area

  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Self Development

Domain and Expectation

  • Create a shared vision
  • Lead innovation and change
  • Foster and promote diverse teams
  • Collaborate and build inclusive relationships
  • Act with courage and confidence
  • Communicate


  • Member of a Team
  • Leading a Team
  • Leading Multiple Teams
  • Leading the Organization


Code: DEI2109

Presenter: Brian Cole

  • Thu 8/20/20 8:00 am to 10:00 am
    Location: Online Webinar
  • Thu 10/1/20 8:30 am to 10:30 am
    Location: Online Webinar

Code: DEI2110

Presenter: Brian Cole

  • Tue 9/22/20 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
    Location: Online Webinar
  • Tue 11/10/20 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
    Location: Online Webinar