‘White Fragility’ Author Robin DiAngelo: Comedy ‘An Excuse To Be Racist’
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 1281E -- Pictured in this screengrab: Author Robin DiAngelo during an interview on June 17, 2020 -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Speaking on an interview in April, “White Fragility” author Robin DiAngelo posited that comedy is “an excuse to be racist.”

Speaking to interviewer Joseph Jaffe, DiAngelo stated, “So comedy is, I think it’s an excuse to get to be racist, right? Like irony. And I think TV shows like ‘Family Guy’ and ‘South Park,’ maybe a little bit ‘The Simpsons,’ right, allowed white people to be racist self-consciously, right?”

“Like I know I’m being racist and therefore it doesn’t count and it’s okay,” she continued. “And it’s a lot like what I exposed that couple to at dinner. I’m still reinforcing racist tropes and ideologies and stories. It’s still being reinforced in everybody’s mind who’s listening, and so I don’t think it’s benign to do it in a joking way. And there is a concept in comedy called punching up, not down. So you know, you want to punch up, there’s very different power dynamics and it doesn’t hurt in same way, it doesn’t invoke a deep deep centuries long history of oppression when you poke fun at say, white people, but it’s very very different when you poke fun at people of color.”

Prior to those comments, DiAngelo said, “One of the stories I open my book, ‘Nice Racism,’ with is going to dinner with another couple, a black couple that I hadn’t met before, and it my urgency to prove I wasn’t racist, immediately, as soon as I see this couple’s black, I need to prove to them I’m not racist. This happened back in the ‘90s, so I wouldn’t be doing this today. But, and so how did I attempt to show them I wasn’t racist? I told them how racist my family was, and I shared every joke and comment my family made, with a kind of ‘Can you believe they said that?’ I mean, I subjected that couple to racism all night long and thought I was showing that I wasn’t racist, right? But I would never have brought the conversation to racism if they were a white couple. There (sic) wouldn’t have even been on my radar.”

“So who I am, my true self, if you will, is changing based on the social conditions,” she admitted.

After “Nice Racism” was released earlier this month. The Daily Wire reported:

“White Fragility saw sales skyrocket after the death of George Floyd, but her follow-up has opened to negative reviews and poor sales. “Robin DiAngelo’s last book sold over a million copies. Her new title debuted with about 3,500 sold the first week,” according to Eric Nelson of Broadside Brooks. …

Without a media feeding frenzy or a racial conflagration to fuel its sales, her fourth book has experienced disappointingly low sales, which the media have largely chosen to ignore. The weak sales numbers show that her book did not benefit from her tour of the legacy media. During the week of June 29, when her book debuted, DiAngelo gave interviews to CNN, “CBS This Morning,” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” (where she said she had been doing this work for “20-plus decades”).

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