POC Can't Take A Break From Racism, That's Why Recognizing White Fragility Is So Important
Politics and Activism

POC Can't Take A Break From Racism, That's Why Recognizing White Fragility Is So Important

Your activism and involvement is something you can put down at the end of the day. Your white skin is not in danger here.

POC Can't Take A Break From Racism, That's Why Recognizing White Fragility Is So Important
Photo by Anna Hernández-Buces

Hello again, friends!

It's me, your Friendly Neighborhood Chicana. In my last article, I spoke to you about white privilege and what it actually means. Your feedback was greatly appreciated (even the swearing!). I understand the confusion about the concept, trust me. Like I said, conversations surrounding topics like white privilege force a group of people to consider something they never have before: their skin color. And for those of you who hated that conversation, you might not like this one so much either, but I promise it's worth it.

So, picture this: You've seen all your social media feeds inundated with black squares, passionate opinions, and Black Lives Matter signs. Maybe you liked a post, maybe you put a black square on Instagram and that was that. Or maybe you didn't do any of that. Either way, your feeds are still busy with protest signs and petitions and Angela Davis quotes, and frankly, it is freaking you out. Does that sounds familiar? Do you just want it all to stop and "go back to normal"? Maybe if you avoid it, it will all go away. And it will. For a few months at least, until something else happens and the cycle starts again.

But it's stressful, isn't it?

I mean, here you are, a white person who may or may not see how they are connected to all this, suddenly being demanded by others to say something and speak out and do something. And that's scary. You might be into it and involved or you might not. You might want to think it's better if you stay out of it and stay silent. Why?

Well, La Chicana here is also a political science major, so I'm about to introduce another concept, so hang on tight! As we covered last time, there is a great privilege in being able to live your life without constantly considering your skin color. Even as a light-skinned Latina, I have that option sometimes.

But even so, my skin and last name are things I have to consider in ordinary situations where white people don't. For example, I got a scholarship to my university and my first thought is, "What did I do to deserve this? Was it my grades or my ethnicity?" Or in a group of friends, we get stopped by a white cop who is far more hostile to me than my white friends I think, "Answer his questions calmly, when you say your name, don't say it with a Spanish accent, don't get upset when he asks 'where are you really from?'"

These are just a few examples of fairly normal situations. If you're white, those same thoughts don't race through your head like they do mine. And that's because society is catered towards white people. As author Robin DiAngelo states, "White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress." This quote comes from her paper on white fragility, an absolutely fantastic read.

So... what IS white fragility?

Basically, if you're white in America, you never have to consider your race the way American POC do. So in social climates like today's, outsiders are forcing you to consider yourself in a way you never have, and sometimes, it can be too much to handle. And that's OK! It's understandable, really. The whole world is forcing you to see yourself in a new way and it can be really weird.

To put in a different perspective, that would be like white people demanding I no longer see myself as Mexican before American. (To all those who like to say "I don't see color," that was aimed at you.) Of course, no one is asking you to disregard your whiteness. And don't take the term "fragility" as an insult either.

(I get that these phrases were poorly conceived because they all sound highly insulting.)

And again, lovely white people: no one is blaming you for your whiteness. And yes, we realize that asking you to be active in these social movements is a lot to ask of you, but nonetheless, we ask. We know this tires you out, we know this is stressful, and trust me, we know burnout is real.

But your activism and involvement is something you can put down at the end of the day. Your white skin is not in danger here.

For people of color, we cannot shed our skin, and it is our skin that is being targeted. Our activism cannot be confined to a black square on Instagram, because, excuse me for the dramatics, but if we don't speak up, we die. And we know you're tired of seeing post after post, watching cities burn, and reading articles like these, but they will only keep coming. And you don't have to be in the front lines of every protest.

We are not asking you to save us. We are asking you to realize that as white people in a society catered to white people, you have power. And it's exhausting, isn't it? That's OK. Take some time if you need it. You don't need to defend your whiteness to anyone, you don't need to get angry or retaliate when someone mentions your whiteness. Just understand that it is yours, and when you feel ready, do something with it.

The term might be fragility, but trust me, none of us are fragile.

See you soon,

Anna La Chicana

Report this Content

-Having struggled with acne prone skin for years, I was cautious to try a new serum on top of the other products I've come to trust.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Your Social Activism May Actually Benefit From A Cleansing Social Media Detox

In the craziest year of our lives, sometimes there's value in taking a break.

We are living through, unequivocally, one of the most dangerous, unstable, chaotic periods of any of our lives. From COVID-19 to crises of police brutality to the mass exploitation of the poor by mega-corporations, the world outside seems to be looking more dystopic every day. What can be done about it? For many, activism involves heavily posting on social media to keep others aware. However, this comes with a net negative cost — increased levels of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness about the state of the world. Why might this be? After all, in past eras activists have endured comparable and greater levels of abuse and relentless torment from oppressors. Why, now, are people getting so easily burnt out?

Keep Reading... Show less

Reading is a relaxing activity that provides many benefits. Everybody reads books (when they are not watching Netflix, chatting on social media, or making Tik Tok videos) to distract themselves from reality for a while. Many do not realize the positive impact that books have like reducing stress, assisting with sleep, improving cognitively, and strengthening the mind. In honor of National Book Day, there are many great novels that you can read to mark this special holiday. Here are the best ones to check out.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Things You Need To Know Before You Watch 'Arrested Development' On Netflix

"Her?" Yes, she's an amazing show! (You'll get this joke after you watch the show).


"Arrested Development" is an award-winning sitcom that aired for three seasons on Fox beginning in 2003, and then was picked up by Netflix for a fourth season in 2013, and then again for a final season in 2018.

However, it seems to remain one of the world's most underrated and under-appreciated shows of all time. Although this article alone won't be enough to skyrocket the show to Netflix's top 10, I hope that it will open people's eyes to the value and quality of the show.

Keep Reading... Show less

I have always felt left out because of how I look and who I am. I have always felt like the elephant in the room, literally. I have always been shamed for my size. For the longest time, I cared so much about what I wear and who I wore certain things in front of. I never wanted to wear shirts that would show a lot of my arm, located above my elbow. I wouldn't wear shorts that didn't go to the tip of my knees, at least. I never wore anything remotely tight, where you could see every curve, roll, or imperfection. I was so insecure about myself, and not many of my friends knew.

Keep Reading... Show less

Being a pharmacy technician never held as many risks as it does now. Exposure too hazardous conditions were little to none, and garbing up was only conducted in IV compounding. But, now, in order to give nurses the medications they need to help their patients, they need us, pharmacy technicians.

Keep Reading... Show less

I Asked My Boyfriend His Opinion On Liking Other Girls’ Pictures, And, Spoiler Alert, It's Cheating

"When you get into a relationship and you're in love, you have to realize that liking photos is for the single lifestyle."

Ladies, listen up. If you are in a relationship with a guy and he is liking other girls' pictures on social media, then it's a red flag. A man who can look at someone else and show interest by liking it means he doesn't care about your feelings AT ALL.

Keep Reading... Show less

Celebrities Stealing Designs From Small Fashion Labels Is NOT A Good Look, And They Need To Pay Up

When larger, more established figures or brands steal from lesser-known independent creators, they are taking opportunities away from these creators while also profiting from someone else's work and claiming it as their own.

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B recently collaborated on their new single "WAP," with the music video also being released on Friday. Both Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B posted photos of themselves on Instagram to celebrate the premiere of "WAP." An independent designer quickly noticed that the rappers' matching tops were copies of a top she had designed last year.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

When You Have A Disability, Finding A Job Is Twice As Hard, Believe Me, I Know

We have got to create a safer work environment for people with disabilities.

"My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn't prevent you from doing well, and don't regret the things it interferes with. Don't be disabled in spirit as well as physically." – Stephen Hawking

Keep Reading... Show less

7 Books That Are NOT In The Young Adult Genre That Will Change Your Life

Young Adult isn't the only genre that exists, so here are seven books that any book lover wanting to try something new will love.

One of the most popular genres in literature that everyone has read at least one book from is Young Adult fiction. Now, I personally can say that, in the past, I have been one of those people that only read from the YA section of the bookstore.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with just reading one genre, it's good sometimes to venture out of your reading comfort zone into the other book genres of the literary world.

In a previous article, I discussed the importance and power of words. The perfect example of this is literature and its impact on the world. Books have always played a crucial part in human lives, from how we are able to expand our knowledge to how we pass our time.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments