Kenan Malik in Pandaemonium:
Are you racist? And, if so, how would I know? I used to think that a good gauge may be whether you call me a ‘Paki’, or assault me because of my skin colour, or deny me a job after seeing my name. But, no, these are just overt expressions of racism. Even if you show no hostility, or seek to discriminate, you’re probably still racist. You just don’t know it. Especially if you’re white. And if you protest about being labelled a racist, you are merely revealing what the US academic and diversity trainer Robin DiAngelo describes in the title of her bestselling book as your ‘white fragility’.
You either accept your racism, or reveal your racism by not accepting it. Indeed, as DiAngelo explains, it’s ‘progressives’ confronting racism who ‘cause the most damage to people of colour’ because they imagine that they are anti-racist. Racism is, as she puts it, ‘unavoidable’.
More than 30 years ago, Ambalavaner Sivanandan warned against ‘the sort of psychospiritual mumbo-jumbo which… by reducing social problems to individual solutions, passes off personal satisfaction for political liberation’. A radical whose writings influenced a generation of activists in the 1970s and 80s, Sivanandan was an early critic of what was then called ‘racial awareness training’.