Critics of the current book du jour, “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo, have used adjectives such as circular, entangled, and white-race muzzling to describe the narrative.

Black Professor John McWhorter, Columbia University, frames it in a different way. As to racial bias, “the solutions are going to be more subtle than the kind of mental and spiritual straitjacketing that DiAngelo seems to think are necessary.”

Professor McWhorter hit the nail on the head! In last week’s Star Observer (July 23), I was reprimanded, between the lines of course, for tossing off that straitjacket, in the prior week, and daring to delineate an historical chronology -- 332 years of white efforts to help Black people in their racial struggles.

“Roseanne Olsen … might enjoy reading … ‘White Fragility…” stated a local academic.

I have, in fact, read “White Fragility” and am not a fan. For well over a year, I have wrangled with a primary assertion and takeaway: whites unwittingly confirm their conscious or subconscious racial bias by what they say, by what they do, by their body language, and even by their silence. (With “body language” tossed into the mix, the straitjacketing becomes literally physical as well.) Whites must educate themselves out of all such behavior – innate or not!

The flaw in this thinking is, that while education is necessary and valuable, common sense also has value.

It was common sense to share a positive historical chronology honoring white efforts, in deference to all the white people being spanked everywhere and, who are indeed spanking themselves for not having done enough.

Books can play tricks on their authors. The unintended consequence of “White Fragility” is the muzzling of the white race. “White Fragility” is a perilous narrative because silencing one race to uplift another is, essentially, what the book decries.

Dare to speak. Dare to write.

Roseanne Olsen

River Falls