How to Explain White Fragility to Your Mom Without Making Her Cry

It can be hard to show your mom the ways she tacitly upholds white racial domination in her everyday life. And while explaining her own white fragility to her is probably going to upset her general fragility, it’s not an impossible task! Even though she really needs to hear it either way, here’s how to explain white fragility to your mom without making her cry.


Open with Good News, and Appetizers!

Begin by delivering some news that will put your mom in a jaunty mood. Surprise her with tickets to a Joni Mitchell concert, or tell her you’ve been rethinking your decision to not have kids. Then, order some appetizers and ask her if she has considered how our criminal justice system is a form of racialized social control. She’ll be so hyped up on Joni and the spicy coconut shrimp that she won’t realize you’re diving into a potentially uncomfortable, emotional conversation. Nice!


Get a Mani/Pedi

What could be more relaxing than a mother-daughter spa day? Pampering your mom is a great lead-in to a heavy conversation about endemic white supremacy and black empowerment politics that she wasn’t expecting. Not only will she be getting a nice foot rub, she’ll be trapped next to you unable to cry in this salon surrounded by strangers while you list some very harrowing statistics.


Take Yoga Together

Taking her to a gentle yoga class will put her in a relaxed headspace, allowing her to receive the idea that avoidance of these vital conversations can be as insidious as blatant racism and equates to complicity in entrenched discrimination to protect the emotional delicacy of a historically oppressive and advantaged racial group. She’ll be too relaxed to feel personally victimized by these realities and you’ll avoid the usual watershed moment!


Sprinkle in Affirmations

Pad the conversation with reassurances that your mom is a strong, resilient woman who raised children capable of identifying her jarringly problematic suggestion that the success of Obama and Oprah is evidence that racism has been solved in this country. Affirming her will stop her from crying and feeling attacked by you, which she doesn’t deserve because she has had a hard life! Uh oh, she’s crying! Don’t give up now!!



Use these techniques to teach your mom about white fragility, but in such a way that doesn’t make her weep. Remember, if you’re ever going to be able to have a conversation with an actual Trump supporter, shouldn’t you at least be able to explain white fragility to your sweet old mom without making her cry?