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Robin Diangelo’s book, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (Boston: Beacon Press, 2018), became a bestseller and in short order put her on the high-rent corporate training circuit. 

The book first hit the market to tepid response, then racial matters exploded in the U.S. following George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, May 25, 2020. Soon thereafter, Diangelo and her catchy phrase “white fragility” were all the rage.

Diagnelo is smart, no question, and she writes from extensive experience talking to seminars about race and racism, so she offers many illustrations and she’s learned how to respond based upon her ideological filter to virtually every reaction or comment about race and racism.

Diangelo says identity politics is how the nation works and that “implicit bias is always at play because all humans have bias.” The book, she says in the introduction, “is unapologetically rooted in identity politics.”  She leaves no room for growth or change, just you-are-who-you-are. Everything for Diangelo boils down to a person’s race.

She claims whites are ongoing victims of white fragility because they are schooled into racism from birth, they are defensive (silent), uninformed and ignorant (argumentation, certitude, other forms of pushback – her words, not mine, e.g., “If you are white, your opinions on racism are most likely ignorant.”

We are in the United States, according to Diangelo, trapped in social forces that prevent us from attaining racial knowledge—our individualism, meritocracy, depictions of whiteness as the ideal, jokes, truncated history, white solidarity, and more – even "objectivity," which she says argues it is possible to be free of bias, something she rejects. Again, you-are-who-you-are and there’s no out.

Diangelo argues the US economy was based on abduction and enslavement of Africans, displacement and genocide of indigenous people, and annexation of Mexico. Americans are ipso facto “colonizers.”

She rejects the idea of a melting pot, saying only European immigrants were allowed to melt. She offers no evidence for this assertion.

Racism as a system for Diangelo is somehow rooted in individualism, capitalism, democracy, consumerism, and meritocracy. –Read this again.  Diangelo is saying American ideals that have produced the freest and most prosperous country in the history of the world, one with racial sins and struggles for sure but one that fought a Civil War to end slavery and eventually established civil rights for all individuals, is somehow at its core, racist. For Diangelo, American ideals are the precursors of systemic racism.

Since people of color do not hold power—Diangelo’s broad brush—they basically cannot be racist, only whites are racist.  

Whites, she says, may be against racism but still benefit from it; this is “White privilege.” In turn, “Whiteness,” a spin-off of white privilege, is rooted in self-worth, positive expectations, psychological freedom, freedom of movement, belonging, sense of entitlement. White privilege leads to whiteness which leads to “White supremacy” and finally “White solidarity.”

Diangelo specifically rejects Martin Luther King, Jr’s “colorblind” approach to civil rights and says any white that uses this is hiding racism. No one in her view can be colorblind in a “racist society.”

Any idealization of the past is nostalgia for white privilege. White privilege is a form of bullying, even if unintentional or unaware.

In the name of “anti-racism” backed by pithy phrases, Diangelo has and is making a lot of money in corporate training, but she is ironically propagating a new form of racism. For her, everything is about conflict, oppressor and victim, and race along with gender are key victim groups. 

Diangelo says all knowledge is socially constructed. Nothing is objective, so she conveniently omits any reference to or potential for God and religion and absolute truths. She does not believe any white can really ever change, so there is not room for grace or forgiveness or change. She does not allow for Whites or Blacks or others to experience spiritual transformation. In the end, she doesn’t offer much hope for constructive change, not even for her own life. Ultimately, she just strives to act with “less white identity.”

Diangelo’s analysis and prescriptions yield to reductionism, all things are determined by race, her views are rooted in Marxist critical theory, thus her assumptions and worldview clash with a Christian worldview. She provides no space for considering human beings made in the image of God, capable of and indeed inevitably given to sin (there is nothing in the book about sin or evil), but able to respond in faith to experience redemption and restoration. None of this is found in White Fragility. 

Diangelo dehumanizes whites and blacks, considering people simple products of their environment and racial biology. Strangely, and inconsistently, she argues favorably for LGBTQ+, suggesting biology does not reign supreme over social constructs, yet when it comes to race, she is a determinist, either/or, no alteration possible.

In the end, while Diangelo’s book points to some genuine race problems in American society, ones about which Americans should hold honest and open conversations, her prescription for well-being offers no real transformative power, just try to do and be better.  

So, her book will likely do more harm than good, especially for those who a) want to disrupt American society for their own partisan political ends, b) those who use it as a springboard for seeing racism in everything that happens, c) those who reject American ideals, for ideological reasons, in favor of promoting radicalism, and d) those who want to virtue signal their new woke bona fides.

I do not endorse or recommend this book.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2021    

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As a Christmas gift, our Son #2 gave me A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story by William C. Martin, the 2018 commemorative update of the original biography published in 1991. It is, as they say, a “Good read.” 

William C. Martin is an able writer, scholarly, fair, thorough, telling the story chinks-in-the-armor-and-all. The Rev. Billy Graham passed Feb 21, 2018, at 99, some 12 years after his wife, Ruth.

Given Rev. Billy Graham’s impact and religious significance worldwide in the 20th Century, I’ll always be glad I heard him in person at least once. It was July 1972, Cleveland Municipal Stadium, in the middle of my undergrad years when I was 19. We rode two hours from southeast Ohio up and back on Ohio’s I-77 in a no-AC “church bus”—meaning a repurposed ancient yellow school bus—with other Guernsey/Noble County, Ohio travelers. 

I remember the packed stadium. Believe it or not, Rev. Graham preached from John 3:16, and I remember him using his trademark phrase, “The Bible says.” I also recall his later invitation to people to come forward and decide to accept Christ.  He did this, then abruptly stopped talking while he stood with bowed head, an elbow in his opposite hand with fist under his chin, and several hundred walked the aisles responding to the “invitation.” Pretty interesting, amazing experience, one I am glad to remember.

I first read this book when it came out in 1991, so some of the read this time was familiar, but of course there’s more of Rev. Graham’s special life added in this edition and it was more than enjoyable to read again. Clearly God had his hand on this man’s life, even and especially through some human missteps along the way like getting “too close” to President Richard M. Nixon, only to be embarrassed by what emerged later.  Dr. Graham in his humility owned it all, said publicly he’d made a mistake, and refocused his efforts on sharing the Gospel.

It’s more than a little interesting today to see his son Franklin Graham position himself so publicly and vigorously in association with President Donald Trump.

Whatever Rev. Graham’s missteps, he and his team avoided the “really big ones” through 50-60 years of public ministry. There was never a moral or financial scandal named among them. For Christian leaders this should not be remarkable, but in today’s terms, it is.

I highly recommend this book.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2019   

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Steve and Jackie Green, part of the Hobby Lobby family and the founding family of the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, write about the Bible—it’s claims to truth as the inspired Word of God, its content, and its impact. Released by Zondervan, 2017, with National Christian Foundation Heartland CEO Bill High, “This Dangerous Book: How the Bible Has Shaped Our World And Why It Still Matters Today” makes the statement early in the book, “Like it or not, the Bible simply cannot be ignored.”

“The Bible,” the authors note, “is more than an ancient artifact; its voice possesses the power to shape the world for good.”

The book is part anecdotes and memories of God’s work in Steve’s and Jackie’s life, part narrative describing how and why the family began collecting biblical artifacts, their amazement at how many such artifacts exist, and details about how the idea for a world class Museum of the Bible (MOTB) came about. MOTB opened in Washington, DC, November 17, 2017.

With well over 5 billion printed and sold, the Bible is by far the best-selling book in world history. It’s been translated into more languages than any book, ever. With the YouVersion app, a Bible reading and onlinw download and mobile platform available on smart phones, the Bible is accessible worldwide to even more millions via 1492 Bible versions in 1074 languages. Other Bible apps like Bible.Is are also now available.

The authors note that the Bible is honest with its heroes, sharing both their accomplishments in the Lord’s service and their failures and sin as human beings. No one, they note, is fully good, or ever has been except Jesus Christ.

While the writers don’t make this observation, it’s worth noting that this sort of “warts and all” honesty is decidedly different from what we experience today re many celebrities, political and business leaders, et al. Too often we’re given a sanitized, unreal version of these peoples’ lives, all with the purpose of advancing them or whoever is supporting them.

The Greens and High are Bible-believers. They say the Bible presents the grand narrative of God’s rescue mission to the world. They believe the principles of the Bible can be applied by anyone, not just Christians, and that the Bible offers what might be called universal values, applicable by anyone anywhere. But they make very clear the MOTB—one floor historical overview, one floor impact, one floor stories of the Bible—is not about proselytizing or evangelizing. It’s not about presenting only an Evangelical interpretation but includes Catholicism, Judaism, and more. Rather, MOTB is about inviting people to consider the Book, to interact with its content and decide for themselves its merit.

For example, regarding Creation, which Christians and others debate in terms of time, God’s work, and more, is presented as the Bible presents it, “In the beginning God created." But MOTB does not take a position on when God created.

The MOTB’s founding family, the Greens, as explained in this book, want to present the facts about the Bible’s history, content, and impact. They want others to explore and to learn.

“When we follow the principles found in the Bible, our lives will look different. Maybe even counter-cultural.”  Following the Bible’s principles changes a person’s life, so there’s an element of risk, what the authors call “dangerous.” Some have pursued their commitment to the point of martyrdom.

In God’s providence, the Bible has made an impact in the world and upon Western civilization in particular, like no other book or philosophy. It is significant and important, whether or not people believe its words.

“This Dangerous Book” is an interesting and informative read.


Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2017    

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If you’ve never understood why Theodore Roosevelt is on Mt Rushmore reading his autobiography, published in 1913, will give you a clue. I’ve read several Roosevelt biographies, but this is the first time I read his words, and I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

President “T.R.” Roosevelt left us in 1919, too young at age 60, but he packed into his adult life an incredible amount of achievements, any one of which could have brought him legitimate acclaim. People remember Roosevelt came to the presidency through tragedy, President William McKinley’s assassination. Some remember he was only 42 years of age, the youngest president ever. Some may even remember his “Rough Rider” days during the Spanish American War of 1898 or his later guiding the construction of the Panama Canal. Maybe some remember him as a big game hunter and the founder of the Boone and Crockett Club. 

Most probably don’t remember Roosevelt was a prolific writer, authoring the most books of any president until surpassed by Jimmy Carter. Or do people remember this list of achievements? Roosevelt was nominated by several and should have (but for politics) won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his part in battles in Cuba. As Civil Service Commissioner and later as Commissioner of the New York City Police he led extensive reforms replacing the old spoils system with a merit system for employment. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for brokering the end of the Russo-Japanese War.

Note: in 2001, Roosevelt was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, making him the only person, let alone president, ever to have won both the nation’s top award for bravery in combat and the globally recognized top award for peace.

Yet beyond all this, perhaps Roosevelt’s greatest legacy can be summarized in the word “conservation.” Roosevelt contemporary Senator Robert LaFollete paid tribute: “And then, there is the great and statesmanlike movement for the conservation of our National resources, into which Roosevelt so energetically threw himself at a time when the Nation as a whole knew not that we are ruining and bankrupting ourselves as fast as we can. This is probably the greatest thing Roosevelt did, undoubtedly.”

For the record: Roosevelt established the United States Forest Service, 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reservations, 5 national parks, 4 national game preserves, 18 national monuments, 24 reclamation projects, and 7 conservation commissions. He placed approximately 230,000,000 acres of land under public protection, an increase during his presidency of over 400%. As importantly, he nearly single-handedly launched the forest movement, which became the conservation movement, which later developed into the environmental movement. In a word, his record on conservation alone is astounding.

Interestingly, several times in his autobiography Roosevelt referred to what he called the “right stuff,” a set of virtues he believed made people ready to care for their families, to contribute to society, and when the opportunity arose, to lead. In this he predated Tom Wolfe’s popularization of the term, The Right Stuff, in his 1979 book on the space program.

There’s much about Roosevelt’s theory and practice of leadership in this book. He speaks at length about taking action, even in the face of risk, and about adopting what he calls a Lincoln-Jackson school as opposed to a Buchanan-Taft view of power, the latter being what today we’d call “strict constructionists.” 

Roosevelt said, “I declined to adopt the view that what was imperatively necessary for the Nation could not be done by the President unless he could find some specific authorization to do it. My belief was that it was not only his right but his duty to do anything that the needs of the Nation demanded unless such action was forbidden by the Constitution or by the laws…I did not usurp power, but I did greatly broaden the use of executive power. In other words, I acted for the public welfare, I acted for the common well-being of all our people, whenever and in whatever manner was necessary, unless prevented by direct constitutional or legislative prohibition.”

Roosevelt also said, “I bound myself more than ever to treat the Constitution, after the manner of Abraham Lincoln, as a document which put human rights above property rights when the two conflicted.” Together with his expansive view of the use of executive power, this concern for the common man, Roosevelt’s desire to assure them a “Square Deal,” and his lifelong interest in helping people—children with physical limitations, Indians, immigrants, and laborers—makes Roosevelt a different sort of Republican than those who dominate the party today. When Roosevelt fought the big trusts and monopolies he noted that he supported corporate leaders when they were “right” and departed from them when they were “wrong.” In other words, he aligned himself with principle, not given categories or groups of people, regardless of what they did or how they behaved. Contemporary pols on both sides of the aisle could learn from this.

Perhaps the oddest thing about Roosevelt’s autobiography is what’s missing. While he refers to his family and names at least one of his children and while he speaks glowingly of family life, there’s nothing in this account about his losing his first wife and mother on the same day when he was in his mid-twenties. There’s nothing about his leaving his daughter, Alice, behind with his sister when he went west to ranch in North Dakota and nothing about later marrying Edith or the five children coming from that union. In contemporary autobiographies family plays a central role. Perhaps in the day when Roosevelt wrote this was not the case. In any event I consider this the one major flaw in the record because readers are not permitted to glimpse how his family life influenced the man or his achievements.

My favorite quote: “A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.”

Contemporary Republicans could learn from Roosevelt: while he affirmed individualism, he did not believe in unfettered individualism or laissez faire. Roosevelt was not afraid to align, when needed, with labor versus management, and he stood up for the common man. He said he’d rather government help a poor man feed his family better than to help a rich man earn more profit for his company. He worked to protect minorities like Indians and immigrants and he had a soft spot for children.

Roosevelt’s autobiography contains long renditions of things that don’t carry present-day import, but mostly it’s an engaging read offering some timeless wisdom about politics, leadership, the greatness of America, and the public welfare. I recommend it heartily.

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

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In our cynical world the word “hero” sounds quaint. But former Senator, former Astronaut, former test and combat pilot John Glenn is—yes, in August 2012 he’s still living at age 91 with his wife Annie age 92—an American hero. John Glenn: A Memoir is his story.

Whether or not one agrees with John Glenn’s positions during his political career, his pioneering spirit, courage, patriotism, and willingness to serve or even sacrifice for his country demand respect. From relatively humble beginnings in a small town during the Great Depression John Glenn’s love for flying took him to the Marines and ultimately world acclaim as a space pioneer.

Glenn learned faith, so-called middle class values, a work ethic, and integrity, all forming his character, from his parents, friends, and teachers in the village of New Concord. Then, like many others in the Greatest Generation, he rose to the challenge and his metal was tested in the crucible of World War II. For Glenn this meant flying scores of missions as a fighter pilot in the South Pacific. Later, he flew scores more missions in the Korean War and shot down 3 MiGs in the process.

As a test pilot in 1957 he set a supersonic speed record for flying coast to coast, gaining his first taste of unsought fame. Then Glenn became one of the original 7 NASA astronauts, the men with the “right stuff,” and the first man to orbit the earth, February 20, 1962 in “Friendship 7,” in what became a galvanizing moment worldwide.

Colonel Glenn eventually resigned his military commission, earned a living by working several years in corporate leadership, and then pioneered again, at least personally, stepping into politics. He eventually served 24 years as United States Senator from the state of Ohio and was a serious consideration for Vice President in several presidential elections.

If this wasn’t enough, on October 29, 1998, Glenn returned to space at age 77 as a member of the crew for Space Shuttle “Discovery.” Critics called it a NASA publicity stunt, but for the agency, Glenn, and the scientists his flight was about studying the affects of space travel upon aging.

Throughout his life, Glenn has been sided by his childhood sweetheart and wife Annie. Her resolve and courage in struggling with stuttering and her mid-life development of better speech patterns via new physical therapies is a remarkable story in itself. Theirs has been a model romance and relationship.

John Glenn was born in Cambridge, Ohio and grew up in nearby New Concord. I grew up in Byesville, Ohio, four miles from Cambridge and about fifteen miles from New Concord. My grandparents knew and thought very highly of John Glenn’s parents and often went to church meetings with them. I remember meeting them when I was a boy. I also have the memory of annual trips to homecoming parades at Muskingum College in New Concord where Glenn and his wife attended school. By the time I got into postsecondary John Glenn High School in New Concord was one of our local rivals.

While I never met John Glenn I’ve known of him and his exploits since my youth and he served as Senator during what was my first twenty-four years of adult and married life. This was a time I followed national politics carefully, including Senator Glenn’s service. Because of all this I feel some connection to the man and have certainly appreciated his example of patriotic service, proactive outlook, and leadership.

In part because of my connections with Glenn’s hometown and family, in part because Glenn’s remarkable accomplishments, and in part because this memoir is well written and relatively fast-paced for an autobiography, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’m going to recommend it immediately to my father, who grew up and still lives in the next county. Dad’s about ten years younger than the Senator but he’s close enough to be a contemporary and remember in personal terms much about Glenn’s story.

I highly recommend this book as “a good read,” as a book about “science,” and as a book about character and leadership.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

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Aesop’s Fables have been with us since the 6th Century B.C. The fables’ fame is rooted in their antiquity, story-telling form, and common sense.

Whether Aesop, reputedly a slave who later became a free man, wrote the fables or wrote some, compiled some (scholars lean to the latter) is still debated. Either way, the canon has been settled upon some 656 fables Aesop apparently told in his lifetime.

Not long ago I set out to read some of the classics, books I’d heard about all my life but never got around to reading. Aesop’s Fables made the list.

Aesop’s stories relate to common experiences in everyday life often as seen or spoken through the vantage point of animals, two attributes of his writing that have allowed the fables to translate easily across languages and cultures and most especially into the lives of children. And, the stories are an illustrator’s dream.

Some of the fables are what we’d call “lame,” not very weighty or convincing and not particularly useful. Then again, many are interesting for their universal appeal or for their surprising insight.

“The Fox and the Grapes,” that is to say “sour grapes,” has entered the conversational lexicon. So has “The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs,” the ill-fated bird killed by a farmer’s greed. In “The Tortoise and the Hare” we see that “slow and steady wins the race.”

In “The Mischievous Dog” we learn that “notoriety is often mistaken for fame,” something our celebrity-mad culture could do to relearn. “The Crow and the Pitcher” teaches “necessity is the mother of invention.” This, our pioneer forefathers handed down to us, though such initiative and creativity are waning in contemporary culture.

“The Gnat and the Bull” teaches “we may often be of more consequence in our own eyes than in the eyes of our neighbors.” While “The Shepherd’s Boy and the Wolf”—remember the boy who cried “Wolf?”—warns “you cannot believe a liar even when he tells the truth.” This is applicable in today’s bloodsport national politics if not also in office politics. Another refresher we need in our politics is listed in “The Boy Bathing,” wherein the moral is “give assistance, not advice, in a crisis.”

“The Two Bags,” like several other fables, is reminiscent of Scripture. In this story we’re told that every person carries two bags, one in front and one behind, both packed full of faults. The bag in front contains our neighbor’s faults while the one behind contains our own. So, you guessed it, we always see our neighbor’s faults but never our own. Matthew 7:3 asks why we look at the speck of sawdust in our brother’s eye but fail to see the plank in our own.

“The Dog and the Shadow” addresses greed, while “The Crow and the Raven” is about the cost of pretentiousness.

Some of the reading was slow and, to me, nonsensical. But I can see why the fables have earned global acclaim. Aesop’s fables aren’t the proverbs of Proverbs, but they are interesting and thought provoking. I enjoyed reading them.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at