Reinventing Racism

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* Book: Jonathan D. Church. Reinventing Racism: Why “White Fragility” Is the Wrong Way to Think about Racial Inequality. Rowman & Littlefield, 250 pages (December 2020)

Samuel Kronen:

"Economist and prolific writer Jonathan D. Church’s forthcoming book Reinventing Racism: Why “White Fragility” Is the Wrong Way to Think about Racial Inequality provides a definitive and fair-minded analysis of White Fragility, and a powerful bulwark against DiAngelo’s most poisonous claims. If DiAngelo “makes her prescriptions from beneath a blanket of Ativan,” as one reviewer put it, Church approaches them like a surgeon at the operating table. The writer Wesley Yang has pointed out that White Fragility may well be the perfect memetic weapon in the culture war, and DiAngelo’s clerical, slightly unnerving manner is the perfect vessel for its transmission. But Church, a brain cancer survivor who embraces a philosophy of stoicism, is unfazed, approaching White Fragility as a set of ideas to be explained and examined like any other piece of scholarship. Readers will walk away from this book knowing exactly what the concept of “white fragility” is about and what’s wrong with it. They will also walk away with a better understanding of racial inequality today.

Reinventing Racism is heavy on data analysis and probably isn’t meant for your average lay reader without at least some prior knowledge of the subject. And although Church untangles the logical issues with White Fragility with laudable precision, the question of why people buy into this worldview is hardly explained. Be that as it may, by carefully slicing White Fragility into its constituent parts and specifying the problems with each, step-by-step, Church provides a valuable service—teachers, journalists, parents, and concerned citizens alike now have a toolkit with which to counter the promulgation of DiAngelo’s pernicious ideas. Taken together, the theory’s logical circularity, its rejection of science, its religiosity, racial atavism, intellectual arrogance, bullying tactics, smug certainty, unapologetic myopia, and reinvention of racism from an identifiable action or belief to an anthropomorphic structural force that is nowhere and everywhere at once, betrays the DiAngelo doctrine for what it is: a house of cards." (