Guest post by Darryl K. Henderson, J.D. of Keith Consulting Group

Has Dr. Michael Eric Dyson endorsed a proponent of racism – someone purposely or inadvertently acting against the best interests of Black and brown people?

Robin DiAngelo, PhD. is the author of the book, “White Fragility,” which was published in 2018 and jumped to the top of the New York Times best-seller list, and is one of the most widely read books in the world, amid the protests following the death of George Floyd and the ensuing national reckoning with the lingering effects of the 1619 virus in America – racism.  A summary of Robin’s book, in her own voice, can be viewed in the video at this link: .

Robin is a white woman.  Her book is receiving ever-increasing praise and criticism.  As for the criticism, some are arguing that Robin is not the first or only advocate for justice, life, liberty, equity and inclusion (hereinafter referred to as “inclusion”) for Black and brown people, and that, in fact, her approach promotes racism.  For one example of Robin’s critics, see the July 15th article by John McWhorter, who is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a linguistics professor at Columbia University, .

In this article, I am speaking from the perspective of a business professional.  However, I acknowledge the need for better inclusion of Black and brown people (as well as other demographic groups) in every aspect of society, not just business – including education, health care, housing, community development, etc.

Since Frederick Douglass, through today, Black and brown people have had numerous eloquent, brilliant and poignant advocates amongst us who have argued for our rights to inclusion.  Among the current-day anti-racism and inclusion advocates, I specifically acknowledge a few:  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Danger of A Single Story” + Verna Myers, J.D., founder of The Verna Myers Company + Ijeoma Oluo, “So You Want To Talk About Race” + Daryl Davis, “Why I, as a Black man, attend KKK rallies” + Ibram X. Kendi, “Anti-Racism” + Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, “Tears We Cannot Stop” + Carol Anderson, “White Rage” + Bryan Stevenson, J.D., “Just Mercy” + Michelle Alexander, “The New Jim Crow” + Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Water Dancer” + Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, “Birth of A Nation” sermon + Rev. Al Sharpton, the National Action Network.

I conscientiously endorse the approach of Robin DiAngelo. If she can help move the rock up the hill – the eradication of systemic racism in America by heightening awareness, education and anti-racist behaviors of white people – we must embrace her influence.  Robin does acknowledge other advocates of anti-racism, both contemporary and historical.  In fact, the foreword of her book was written by Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. 

Robin does a good job of pointing out that most of us have racist prejudgments, due to our culturation in an American society that has been infected with systemic racism since 1619.  She emphasizes, however, that how we manage our racist prejudgments and the power, privilege and influence of our racist prejudgments is where the rubber meets the road.

I respectfully reject the views of those who argue that Robin is espousing a new packaged white racism; that she is a camouflaged “Karen.” My 30-years of scar-tissue from promoting inclusion in corporate America undergird my confidence in the legitimacy of Robin’s approach. I also take comfort in knowing that Dr. Michael Eric Dyson would never endorse a proponent of racism.

Robin’s approach does not negate the advocacy of Dr. Dyson and the others highlighted above.  To the extent that her approach is slightly different from their advocacy, as long as her approach drives “inclusion leadership” and fosters positive, material and sustainable inclusion results, I say, “All hands on deck and let’s go!”  Besides, cooked to a gumbo roux, aren’t we espousing the virtue and value of diverse thinking?

Here is an excerpt from Dr. Dyson’s foreword to Robin’s book:

“White Fragility is a vital, necessary and beautiful book, a bracing call to white folk everywhere to see their whiteness for what it is and to seize the opportunity to make things better now. DiAngelo joins the front ranks of white anti-racist thinkers with a stirring call to conscience, and most important, consciousness, in her white brothers. White fragility is a truly generative idea… an idea whose time has come.”

Here are excerpts from Professor McWhorter’s criticism of Robin’s book:

“DiAngelo is an education professor and—most prominently today—a diversity consultant who argues that whites in America must face the racist bias implanted in them by a racist society. Their resistance to acknowledging this, she maintains, constitutes a “white fragility” that they must overcome in order for meaningful progress on both interpersonal and societal racism to happen.  …  The sad truth is that anyone falling under the sway of this blinkered, self-satisfied, punitive stunt of a primer has been taught, by a well-intentioned but tragically misguided pastor, how to be racist in a whole new way.”

I am reminded of the spiritual warfare between good and evil that is going on in this world.  Who is the author of confusion and conflict?  Stir that thought for a moment.

Nevertheless, if Robin’s approach proves to be a Trojan horse for white supremacy, I will be one of the first to yell, “Burn that horse to the ground!”  I suspect that Dr. Dyson will be ahead of me.

It is time for “enhanced DEI leadership.”  (DEI is a business acronym for diversity, equity and inclusion.)  It is time to move beyond concepts and theories – even beyond DEI awareness, education and training – towards specific tactics (or behaviors) to foster and sustain inclusion in every aspect of society, especially business.  Tactics to foster inclusion must be snapped onto tactics that drive employee engagement for all, so as to drive customer engagement, which drives organizational productivity, profitability and growth. 

Let’s keep pushing and pulling for the desired behavior change.  DEI uplifts humanity and makes good business cents.  Let’s collaborate.  Let’s leverage every tool available to create that world we desire.  We can do this, y’all.  No excuses.  No distractions.  No mischaracterization of legitimate allies.


I really like this discussion between Robin DiAngelo, Resmaa Menakem and Krista Tippett: 

About the author:

Darryl K. Henderson, J.D. is the president of Keith Consulting Group (KCG), a business management consulting firm that delivers advisory, project management and staff augmentation services. He has amassed a broad range of knowledge and skills in a variety of roles, including HR executive, chief diversity officer, chief employment compliance officer, operations executive, executive coach, entrepreneur, business management consultant, and employment and commercial lawyer. Darryl has worked with businesses within the biotech, financial services, technology, fuel, professional services, retail, grocery, restaurant, and U.S. legal cannabis and hemp industries. Globally, he has served businesses located in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Italy, Ireland, and the UK. For six years, Darryl served as an Executive Coach in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School Leadership Capstone Program, where he coached 2nd year MBA students to be more effective leaders, managers and team members. He earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Georgia School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics degree from Emory University.  His LinkedIn profile: 

  1. Well, whatever else one may say about Rodin DiAngelo’s “anti-racism” efforts I think we can all say that she’s been quite successful in monetizing them.

  2. What? You conscientiously endorse Robin Diangelo’s idea that black people are inherently inferior to white people? Her book you endorse repeatedly states that she believes black are inherently inferior to whites. She’s perpetuating racism to a degree that she’s no different from Jim Crow racists and Klan members while at the same time appointing herself as the savior of black people. And you support that? Reinforcing systematic racism and racism in general shouldn’t be tolerated, but I guess Jeff Thomas thinks it’s perfectly acceptable and should be encouraged. What year is this? 1875? This is sad.

  3. Carl Banks Jr. raps to the honorable Darryl K. Henderson,
    thank you for a beautifully written article. I would like to bring to your attention that you did not mention Mr. Carl Banks Jr. in the above group! I truly hope that you get the opportunity to read my message. I am 77 years of age and i have been fighting for over 60 years trying to eliminate racism. With all due respect to all people fighting to end racism, i have the best program that will change our world. I have written hundreds of letters to many influential scholars but they are unwilling to help me with my program! It is time for the best program to receive recognition. My program is the program that goes beyond just talking. Honorable Darryl Henderson, are you ready to help me eliminate racism? Contact me please, and i am going to write Robin DeAngelo to thank her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.