Whitesplaining Usually Leads to White Fragility


I admit I haven’t seen that many videos in the series MTV Decoded, hosted by Franchesca Ramsey but when I do, I either learn something, am amused or both. The ones I like in particular are those that point out Whitesplaining and White privilege because both invariably lead to discussions about White Fragility. This morning I found myself in a discussion on Facebook on the subject of White Fragility. No, it didn’t start out talking about White Fragility. The topic was Whitesplaining. The OP, who’s my cousin and White, posted the MTV Decoded about Whitesplaining. Most of her friends are White but not all of them are Beckies. In fact, most aren’t. As was par for the course though, when certain White people get involved in these discussions, the conversation invariably turns to White Fragility … and I break out the smallest violin in the world.

Why am I capitalizing White Fragility? Because it’s now a thing, like a first and last name that certain White people embody. Whether they identify with it / recognize it or not is another story. From where I sit, it no longer requires an explanation but I can’t say the same for all White people. White people have one of two reactions to the term White Privilege: “I agree. It exists. I recognize it and while others may see it as White bashing, I don’t. Pointing it out doesn’t mean you’re pointing the finger at me or being a racist. It means you’re pointing it out and the best thing I can do is shut up or be the best ally I can be. The best thing I can do is let PoC take the lead.”

Unfortunately, all too often when White privilege is pointed out or that certain White people are Whitesplaining again, certain White people turn the discussion to themselves, point out how unfair it is that we’re White bashing or worse: they do more Whitesplaining. I’m honestly not sure which is worse. That’s what happened in this discussion. Jason did everything he could to turn the discussion around to him. He committed two obnoxious crimes:

  1. He Whitesplained
  2. He embodied White Fragility

This was the video that started it:

White Fragility Explained Using a Facebook Discussion

I’m going to let the comments do the talking for me.

White Fragility

Huge thanks to Heidi for having my back. She’s a White person who gets it. I actually had to check her profile because I thought for a moment she was a sistah. But then it all made sense. Jason ghosted me while engaging her. Of course she was White and of course he would ignore me. He fits the description.

Anyway, my intention wasn’t to get into a long and heavy discussion about Whitesplaning, White privilege and White Fragility. It was merely to state the obvious. I was intending on talking about something entirely else for my monthly column but I saw this thread and I felt I needed to talk about it. I rarely ever blog about White privilege and White Fragility. It felt good to get it out of my system.

And for those of you who take offense to the terms White privilege, Whitesplaining and White Fragility, apart from me breaking out my smallest violin in the world again, you remind me of a song by Carly Simon from 1972. It’s rumored You’re So Vain was written about Warren Beatty. But it fits here as well.

Happy Monday!


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Published on: July 2, 2018

Filed Under: Voices of the Community

Views: 554

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2 Responses to Whitesplaining Usually Leads to White Fragility

  1. Avatar Lyn says:

    There’s a serious issue here. Jason Lang clearly said something before Heidi Maas, but you haven’t shown what it is he said that caused Heidi to respond to him. Also, the fact that you use terms like Becky, white fragility, and whiteplaining is very telling of racist prejudice. I had a friend who automatically mentioned this guy’s race whom I was having issues with and referred to his behavior as white fragility. Instead of responding to this guy as an individual, he called on this “white fragility” term, “oh that’s just because he’s white” when in reality, the issues were not about his phenotype but his lack of character as an individual. From the racism I’ve been seeing from black Americans and other Americanized people of color, it’s no surprise to me that some white people have stopped wanting to listen. It’s the same with feminism”. So many women who claim to be feminist speak about men as if they’re inferior and are downright sexist. People talking about white privilege often begin with racist prejudice, assuming that the white person is immediately going to think or react a certain way. And so white some white people no longer want to hear it. To tell someone that they shut up or be an ally sounds very Nazi like. Alas, the only religions in America are narcissism and hypocrisy.

    But back to the original point: the most off-putting thing with your comments section is that you cut off what Jason first posted, so the whole story isn’t there. If you can’t reveal the whole conversation, you may as well refrain from putting it up at all because this isn’t telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

  2. Avatar Jason M says:

    Judging people by their race and sex is wrong. I wish you privileged white men would get that…

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