Author of ‘White Fragility’ describes classic painting as ‘promoting white supremacy’

In 2020, author Robin DiAngelo was renowned for her work in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), commanding a substantial six-figure income for lecturing and advising white people about their privilege. However, her influence has now waned, as she shares nonsensical views in obscure corners of the internet.

During a recent podcast appearance, DiAngelo criticized Michelangelo’s portrayal of God creating man as “white supremacist,” repeatedly misidentifying the Old Testament’s Adam as David in the process.

She remarked that the celebrated painting “The Creation of Adam” symbolizes the concept of white supremacy in her eyes.

As she described the masterpiece to the podcast’s few subscribers, DiAngelo made a significant error: “God is in a cloud and there’s all these angels, and he’s reaching out and he’s touching — I don’t know who that is, David or something?”

According to DiAngelo, Michelangelo’s work is a “perfect convergence” of white supremacy and patriarchy. savcoco – stock.adobe.com

Despite the mistake, she continued, stating “And God is white and David is white and the angels are white — that, that is the perfect convergence of white supremacy, of patriarchy.”

She goes on to share her upbringing in a Catholic environment and recalls how she never considered God to be white, asserting “I didn’t think to myself that God is white, but that, in a lot of ways, is power. I don’t need to. God just reflects me … I always belong racially to what is depicted as the human ideal.”

Her views are expressed using academic terminology such as “patriarchy” and “white supremacy,” and a strangely self-indulgent portrayal of herself as the “human ideal.”

Did it not occur to DiAngelo that, as a 16th-century Italian artist, Michelangelo might not have had racial animosity in his heart as he painted works such as the Sistine Chapel? Mistervlad – stock.adobe.com

Even a centuries-old masterpiece is interpreted through a lens of modern white supremacy when viewed through DiAngelo’s perspective.

Her fall from grace is notable, transitioning from a leader in the DEI movement to a figure misidentifying supposedly white supremacist biblical figures on minor podcasts.

In 2020, DiAngelo, a relatively unknown whiteness studies professor at the University of Washington, gained widespread recognition when her 2018 book “White Fragility” soared to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. This was amidst the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder.

DiAngelo reportedly makes more than $700,000 from speaking engagements and workshops in a year. JasonPToews/Wiki Commons

Her message — that all white people are inherently racist — led to a wave of white liberal self-criticism, greatly enriching her.

“The question that white people need to ask ourselves is not if we were shaped by the forces of racism, but how,” she wrote. “The antidote to white fragility is ongoing and lifelong and includes sustained engagement, humility, and education.”

She then leveraged social unrest to establish herself as a leading expert in racial justice training in the corporate and educational sectors.

Reports suggest that in the year following George Floyd’s murder, she made over $700,000 from speeches and workshops. Not to mention, her earnings from book royalties and her salary as a professor.

“White Fragility” shot to the top of the bestseller charts following George Floyd’s death. Linda Jrita Mason/Facebook

For a 2020 speaking engagement at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Diversity Forum, she reportedly received $12,750, whereas black speaker Austin Channing Brown was paid only $7,500 for the same event.

Despite her achievements, DiAngelo’s rise to fame was largely attributed to her finger-wagging at other liberal white people, monetizing their guilt, without significantly contributing to the fight against racism or improvement of black lives in America.

But it appears that being labeled a racist loses its appeal quickly, and DiAngelo’s prominence has diminished.

Notably, key figures in the business world have started to challenge DEI programs.

Business leaders like Bill Ackman and Elon Musk have taken aim at DEI. REUTERS

Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman criticized DEI as racist, stating that reverse racism is racism, even if directed against white people. Meanwhile, Elon Musk rearranged the letters of DEI—which stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion—to DIE on X.

Despite a 55% increase in demand for DEI roles in 2020, 76% of which were filled by white individuals like DiAngelo, and only 3.8% by black employees, many corporations have scaled back their DEI initiatives.

Zoom, which laid off its DEI team, is one of many companies to scale back. Getty Images

There has been a 44% decrease in diversity job postings compared to the previous year, and companies such as Google and Meta reduced their budget for external DEI consultants by up to 90% in 2023. Zoom, too, recently laid off its DEI team.

It seems that paying consultants like DiAngelo to declare companies irredeemably racist is not a winning business strategy.

Just as the DEI industry has undergone a rise and fall, so has DiAngelo — a critic of white people whose fame was propelled by a momentary moral panic, and whose knowledge of biblical and cultural references seems lacking.

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