College of Law

Dean’s Book Review ~ Nice Racism

Dean's Book Review ~ Nice Racism: How progressive white people perpetuate racial harm

DATE: Thursday, January 20 2022
TIME: 8:00 am - 9:00 am
LOCATION: Virtual Event
COST: Free and open to the public
1 hour CLE (pending)

Please join Dean Elizabeth Kronk Warner for this book review and discussion with Dean Martell Teasley, College of Social Work. The book they will be reviewing is, Nice Racism: How progressive white people perpetuate racial harm by Dr. Robin DiAngelo for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This New York Times bestseller explores how a culture of niceness inadvertently promotes racism.

In DiAngelo’s book, White Fragility, she explained how racism is a system into which all white people are socialized and challenged the belief that racism is a simple matter of good people versus bad. DiAngelo also made a provocative claim: white progressives cause the most daily harm to people of color. In Nice Racism, her follow-up work, she explains how they do so. Drawing on her background as a sociologist and over 25 years working as an anti-racist educator, she picks up where White Fragility left off and moves the conversation forward.

Writing directly to white people as a white person, DiAngelo identifies many common white racial patterns and breaks down how well-intentioned white people unknowingly perpetuate racial harm. These patterns include:

  • rushing to prove that we are “not racist”
  • downplaying white advantage
  • romanticizing Black, Indigenous, and other peoples of color (BIPOC)
  • pretending white segregation “just happens”
  • expecting BIPOC people to teach us about racism
  • carefulness
  • and feeling immobilized by shame

DiAngelo explains how spiritual white progressives seeking community by co-opting Indigenous and other groups’ rituals create separation, not connection. She challenges the ideology of individualism and explains why it is OK to generalize about white people, and she demonstrates how white people who experience other oppressions still benefit from systemic racism. Writing candidly about her own missteps and struggles, she models a path forward, encouraging white readers to continually face their complicity and embrace courage, lifelong commitment, and accountability.

Nice Racism is an essential work for any white person who recognizes the existence of systemic racism and white supremacy and wants to take steps to align their values with their actual practice. BIPOC readers may also find the “insiders” perspective useful for navigating whiteness.

A digital copy of this book is available at the library for University of Utah students, faculty and staff.



Dean Elizabeth Kronk Warner, Jefferson B. & Rita E. Fordham Presidential Dean and Professor of Law, The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law

Dean Martell L. Teasley, MSW, PhD, Professor
The University of Utah, College of Social Work



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