Blog Book Review

Book Review: White Fragility & The 5 People You Meet in Heaven

The Five People You Met in Heaven by Mitch Albom

I heard about this book in middle school. I want to say we read it, or it was read to us by our English teacher; that exact detail I cannot remember, but I remember watching the movie right after we read the book. I remember the movie being good, so I wanted to reread the book.  

The story is about Eddie and the five people he meets in heaven. Each person gives him a life lesson. He realizes that everyone is connected in one way or another, although some didn’t know each other. And that everyone’s life mattered to him in some way.

It was a good book with a good life lesson that makes you realize each person we come across within our lifetime is for a reason. The sequel to this book is – The next person you meet in heaven, which I’ve added to my list to read.

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

My husband’s brother’s wife recommended this book, and I bought it last summer but didn’t come around to read it until now. How many of my book worms can relate? Anyways, I posted on Instagram asking if any of my followers had read it and a friend of mine told me she did and to take my time because it was a lot of information.

Well, it was a lot, and here are the few things that stood out to me.

She writes that racism is an institution placed by people in power, which were white males.
She uses the example of women’s right to vote. The only people who could give women the right to vote were white males because they were the only ones who could vote. But not all women got that right; it was only white women.

And to understand racism, we have to understand prejudice and discrimination. On page 20, she writes, “When a racial group’s collective prejudice is backed by the power of legal authority and institutional control, it is transformed into racism, a far-reaching system that functions independently from the intentions or self-images of individual actors.” She mentions how Thomas Jefferson wanted scientists to find natural differences between the races, but of course, there were none. But that in less than a century, his suggestion of racial difference became accepted as a scientific “fact” (Pg. 16). Jefferson needed this to be true to justify the enslavement of African Americans.

Because she writes that racism is institutionalized, this line on page 73 stood out to me; it says, “The simplistic idea that racism is limited to individual intentional act committed by unkind people is at the root of virtually all white defensiveness on this topic.” Which is probably why many white people say they aren’t racist or say, “I have friends that are black, so I cannot be racist.” They are the ones who really need to read this book to understand white fragility.

She addresses a myth of affirmative action that people think quotas or requirements are needed to be fulfilled by corporations, but what it really is a “tool to ensure that qualified minority applicants are given the same employment opportunities as white people” (pg. 92). But white women have been the ones who primarily benefit from affirmative action.

After reading this book, I realized this book falls in alignment with Critical race theory. According to, “the core idea is that race is a social construct and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.” This is an academic concept that is over 40 years old. And no, it’s not taught in K-12 schools.

This book did teach me a lot, but I feel that those who really need to read it won’t. I am hopeful that changes will come to the US in regards to social justice and equality; however, those changes will happen slowly.

With Love, Heidy

Have you read this book? What was your take on it?

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