Episode 59

Published on:

2nd Nov 2022

Robin DiAngelo: Matt and Chris struggle with their fragility

Racism is all around. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds white people together. And if you try to deny it, it only makes it stronger. That's Robin DiAngelo's thesis, anyway, and she calls this dark force (and the book that made her famous) White Fragility. You know you've got white fragility if you refuse to accept the truth of white fragility. Also, all white people have it. So that's pretty straightforward at least. How do you fight the curse of whiteness? Well, it's a lifelong journey of 'Doing the Work', but one thing's for sure: it starts with reading books like White Fragility and attending seminars well... like hers.

DiAngelo's been out of the discourse recently, as far as we can tell, busy beavering away on new books like Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm and dismantling white supremacy via corporate group therapy sessions. However, in our original show blurb, we promised to cover 'gurus from Jordan Peterson to Robin DiAngelo', so here we are. Now she's no longer this week's hot culture war topic that's getting people (...racists probably) all riled up, it's the perfect time to cross this particular Pokemon off our list. We listened to a lecture she gave in 2018, where she helpfully lays out the key aspects of her theory.

There's so much in store for listeners this week. You'll be able to thrill to the anecdote of how DiAngelo herself was disgustingly racist to a colleague, be shocked as Chris once again references Northern Ireland's colourful history and tries to deflect his people's obvious guilt onto the English, be amazed as Matthew courageously confronts his settler-colonial privilege, and learn the real story of the first African American baseball player to cross the colour line (as told by DiAngelo).

So join the intrepid duo as they embark on this neverending journey to interrogate their whiteness. And maybe - verrrry carefully - try to be just a little bit critical of DiAngelo's arguments without axiomatically proving themselves hopelessly racist. Listen in and judge for yourself!


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About the Podcast

Decoding the Gurus
A psychologist and an anthropologist try to make sense of the world's greatest self-declared Gurus.
An exiled Northern Irish anthropologist and a hitchhiking Australian psychologist take a close look at the contemporary crop of 'secular gurus', iconoclasts, and other exiles from the mainstream, offering their own brands of unique takes and special insights.

Leveraging two of the most diverse accents in modern podcasting, Chris and Matt dig deep into the claims, peek behind the psychological curtains, and try to figure out once and for all... What's it all About?

Join us, as we try to puzzle our way through and talk some smart-sounding smack about the intellectual giants of our age, from Jordan Peterson to Robin DiAngelo. Are they revolutionary thinkers or just grifters with delusions of grandeur?

Join us and let's find out!
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About your hosts

Christopher Kavanagh

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A Northern Irish cognitive anthropologist who occasionally moonlights as a social psychologist. Chris has long standing interests in the psychology of conspiracy theorists and pseudoscience. His academic research focuses on the Cognitive Science of Religion and ritual psychology. He lives happily in Japan with his family.

Matthew Browne

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An Australian psychologist and numbers-guy. He does research on all kinds of stuff, but particularly enjoys looking into why people believe the things they do: religion, conspiracy theories, alternative medicine and stuff. He's into social media in the same way people slow down for car accidents.