Back to All Events

SURJ Bay Area: Antidotes to White Fragility

Practice tools to transform white fragility into resilient action toward racial justice through embodiment, play and accountable inquiry. 


White Fragility is defined by Robin DiAngelo as “A state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation (2011).”

What skills, tools and approaches are useful in encouraging white people to sustain balanced engagement with anti-racism/racial justice education and work? How can we cultivate resilience (as opposed to white fragility) in ourselves, our communities, and our movements? Resilience is, in part, defined as:

  1. Staying with the conversation
  2. Giving and receiving information and feedback from facilitators and peers without becoming highly defensive, reactive, or shut down/dissociated for long periods of time
  3. Managing the guilt and shame that can arise in learning about the history and current reality of race and racism in the US.

This workshop will explore the role of the body, community, spirituality, intellectual knowledge and other themes that you bring from your experience. We will cover basic information about how the brain and body responds to perceived threats, and explore how to work with this toward greater resilience in moments of challenge.

About the workshop leaders: Zara Zimbardo is a co-founder of White Noise Collective, an anti-racist feminist training and resource organization and is faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies. Katherine Roubos, MSW, completed their masters thesis "Cultivating Resilience: Antidotes to White Fragility in Racial Justice Education" in collaboration with the White Noise Collective in Oakland. They teach mindfulness at Kaiser and other locations and are dedicated to bringing embodied awareness into racial justice work.