Bevin, thank you for writing.
Prompted by your note, I just went and found the book author’s own summary of her book, White Fragility, so I could understand it better.
Robin J. DiAngelo
White fragility is the phenomenon by which white people become angry, defensive, or hostile when confronted with the idea that they are complicit in systemic racism. In White Fragility, author Robin DiAngelo examines its origins in the failure of white society to understand the structural nature of racism, explores the history of the existing racial hierarchy, and makes a powerful case for why it is incumbent upon white people to accept their individual and collective responsibility for white supremacy — and to do the difficult work of challenging it.
I’m sorry that my story comes across as racist. I do not consider myself racist but now I see the point (brought forth above) that all Whites are “complicit in systemic racism.”
I viewed the video that went viral and because I realized I knew the woman labeled a “Karen” — and she had not responded to requests for comments in The Cut regarding the heated, public conflict with the Hayats — I wanted to show another side of her. Did I see my White self in her shoes? Possibly. But I would like to think that if this were a Black acquaintance I knew from town, I would have reacted the same way. It was the idea of one neighbor standing alone amidst many others.
I also expressed that after living in Montclair for 30 years (first in an apartment, then our house), I have known people all over town who have had opinions about their neighbors’ home upgrades and questioned and aired them, publicly or not. Mostly, I guess, they were White people commenting on White people.
I do see now that calling the police is different from calling the town. When I saw the video, I heard the mention of calling the police come from the Hayats. The whole thing was very confusing. And then to hear Susan — whom I know vaguely, but like — called the beer-pong Mom in The Cut, that bothered me. A lot of judging. I sought to show another side of her, pure and simple. She was not a stranger to me but a real person with real dimensions.
Since then, I have been informed of my White privilege and have taken the comments to heart and mulled them over carefully. I did not write or publish this story here as an act of White privilege or intended White supremacy, but I hear you say it has been interpreted and received that way.
Thank you for advancing this discussion, as it is very important for all of us, White and Black. I did think Susan/Karen deserved to be heard and seen as a decent person in this heated conflict.