Have you heard of 'white fragility'? Here's a fake PSA to hilariously explain it.

Can you read this whole article without feeling a little defensive? I think you can.

This satirical video from AJ+ called "How to Protect White People's Feelings in the Workplace" is hilarious — but, if you're white, it might make you feel uncomfortable.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I'm white. What about you? Do you find it hilarious? Let's talk after you watch it.

Did watching this video make you feel defensive? If so, there's a reason for that.

Don't panic. I want to explain something to you, white person to white person.


That little grumble in your gut that makes you feel uncomfortable when I bring up racism? There's a term for that. The term for that feeling might also make you feel uncomfortable or defensive. But it's just a term. It's called "white fragility." It's what happens when a white person prioritizes how it feels to be called racist over how a person of color might feel experiencing racism.

To be clear, it doesn't mean you're fragile, but if hearing that term makes you feel like closing this browser window or rolling your eyes, you might be experiencing it. The good news is, there's a pretty simple solution to feeling this way.

When you feel yourself getting defensive, tell that feeling to take a seat and try just listening to what's being said.

Unlike people of color, who are often confronted with conversations about race and have their interactions in the world affected by their skin color, white people aren't ever really forced to talk about race and racism unless they have to — usually after they've said something insensitive or, dare I say, racist, even if we didn't mean to come across that way.

Don't feel the need to rebut their argument; just think on it.

So if you do feel yourself getting defensive, try to imagine how the other person is feeling.

Think about all the hoops people who aren't white have to jump through in their head before they try to talk to a white person about things like race. If a coworker who is a person of color isn't reassuring enough when telling their white coworker to stop touching their hair, their white coworker might feel bad and think they're being called racist. Which many white people feel is the worst thing they can be called. But, it's not the same as experiencing racism, and, frankly, people of color shouldn't have be afraid to keep it real with us.

We as white people shouldn't take it personally when someone explains things to us. You're smarter than that. I believe in you! Grown-up conversations and challenging ideas are super fun!

When you feel yourself getting defensive, you could try researching the issue before responding.

If you watched the video above and felt the urge to be defensive, maybe it's time to take a step back. Don't be the white people in this COMPLETELY SATIRICAL video. Learn. Adapt. If you do, those conversations might improve in the future, which is the whole point of talking about them anyway. We can't fix it if we don't talk about it.

The next time you say to yourself, "This person of color friend speaking to me is making me confront uncomfortable ideas," I highly recommend you do three things.

  1. Stop talking like a after-school special robot in your head. No one talks like that. You'll thank me later.
  2. Resist the urge to get defensive and rebut what said person is saying. Just take it in, process it, go google about it and learn.
  3. If you think they are being divisive because they ask you to consider their perspective about racism, then you need to ask yourself, "When my mechanic says my car is broken, is he making it worse by telling me about it?" Answer that rhetorical question and repeat step 2.

Now could you maybe also share or tweet this with people and urge them not to be defensive? Because it's hilarious. And horrible. Please?

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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