Top Intelligence Official Promoted ‘White Fragility’ Recommendation

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
July 14, 2020Updated: July 16, 2020

The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) passed on a recommendation to read “White Fragility,” whose author argues that any gains the United States has made since its founding have come “through identity politics.”

Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley Jr., the DIA director, mentioned in a recent townhall and in his weekly email to employees that a DIA officer recommended reading “White Fragility,” a spokesman for the agency told The Epoch Times in an email.

“Ashley in turn thought it might be of interest to members of the DIA workforce seeking to learn about the perspectives the book highlights,” the spokesman said.

Leaders recommend books that might be of interest to officers and officers highlight books they believe might be of interest to fellow officers, he explained.

“White Fragility” was not included on Ashley’s annual reading list. The list and other recommendations are part of encouraging the DIA workforce to “to read widely to achieve a greater understanding about many issues,” the spokesman wrote, adding, “No books on any topic are required reading.”

“White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism,” written by Robin DiAngelo, promotes the idea that white people are insulated from race-based stress.

“This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress, leading to what I refer to as White Fragility,” DiAngelo wrote in a research paper (pdf) about the notion in 2011.

In the book, published in 2018, DiAngelo argues that any gains the United States has made since its founding “have come through identity politics.”

“The identities of those sitting at the tables of power in this country have remained remarkably similar: white, male, middle- and upper-class, able-bodied,” she wrote.

DiAngelo said on her publisher’s website that her book is primarily aimed at white people and that she wants white readers to become uncomfortable so they “can practice building [their] stamina for the critical examination of white identity—a necessary antidote to white fragility.”

DiAngelo received a PhD in multicultural education from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she currently teaches.

Her area of research, she says on her website, is in “Whiteness Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis, tracing how whiteness is reproduced in everyday narratives.”