Members Only | May 5, 2021 | Reading Time: 4 minutes
Nikki Haley’s illustration of white fragility
She's made a career of comforting white people, writes Issac J. Bailey.
White fragility is real. Whatever else you think about educator Robin DiAngelo, she has correctly identified one of the most persistent and pernicious phenomena of 21st-century American life, the discomfort and defensiveness white people feel when they are exposed to information or discussions about racial inequality and injustice. It’s a major threat to furthering racial progress. But I’m not sure she even realizes just how noxious the phenomenon is because like white supremacy, it doesn’t only affect white people, even though it is almost always deployed in service of white people.
“I don’t blame Haley for deciding not to use the full name her parents gave her at birth—Nimrata Nikki Randhawa Haley,” writes Editorial Board member Issac J. Bailey. “But I do fault her for continuing to perpetuate myths about this country.”
Take a recent exchange between former South Carolina Governor and Republican Nikki Haley, an Asian American, and Dennis Prager, a white American whose brainchild, something called Prager University, alludes to higher education but actually just dumbs things down and distorts history. In fact, Prager “university” is white fragility in its purest form. It is a safe space for mostly white people, though not exclusively, who’d rather hold fast to American creation myths than have to grapple with harsher truths. Haley was so proud of the exchange that she tweeted out a video of it under the heading “Critical race theory is harmful to children’s education.”