“The past was great for white people (and white men in particular) because their positions went largely unchallenged. In understanding the power of white fragility, we have to notice that the mere questioning of those positions triggered the white fragility that Trump capitalized on. There has been no actual loss of power for the white elite, who have always controlled our institutions and continue to do so by a very wide margin. Of the fifty richest people on earth, twenty-nine are American. Of these twenty-nine, all are white, and all but two are men (Lauren Jobs inherited her husband’s wealth, and Alice Walton her father’s).
Similarly, the white working class has always held the top positions within blue-collar fields (the overseers, labor leaders, and fire and police chiefs). And although globalization and the erosion of workers’ rights has had a profound impact on the white working class, white fragility enabled the white elite to direct the white working class’s resentment toward people of color. The resentment is clearly misdirected, given that the people who control the economy and who have managed to concentrate more wealth into fewer (white) hands than ever before in human history are the white elite.
The call to Make America Great Again worked powerfully in service of the racial manipulation of white people, diverting blame away from the white elite and toward various peoples of color—for example, undocumented workers, immigrants, and the Chinese—for the current conditions of the white working class.”
Excerpt from White Fragility, written by Robin DiAngelo.