Social Status and White Fragility: Gender and Socioeconomic Variations


Purpose – Although recent work has made significant contributions to our theoretical understanding of white fragility, more empirical work is needed to establish the social causes of this particular form of racial stress. Our chapter builds on previous research by assessing gender and socioeconomic variations in white fragility. \ Methodology/Approach – Data come from the 2018 Survey of White Fragility, a convenience sample of 279 non-Hispanic white undergraduate students aged 18 years and over attending two large public universities in the southeastern and southwestern United States. \ Findings – Results indicate that women tend to exhibit higher levels of remorse fragility (feeling sad, guilty, and angry). There were no gender differences in depletion fragility (feeling drained/exhausted, unsafe, attacked, and confused). Parental education was unrelated to levels of white fragility. Overall parental socioeconomic status was initially associated with lower levels of remorse and depletion fragility, but these associations were confounded by a general measure of nonspecific psychological distress.

Research in the Sociology of Health Care, Vol 38
Kelsey E. Gonzalez
Kelsey E. Gonzalez
PhD Candidate

I’m a computational social scientist interested in using social data in new and innovative ways.