Robin DiAngelo, author of the 2018 smash hit White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, may soon relinquish her title as America's preeminent "antiracist" influencer.
DiAngelo's much anticipated second title, Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm, sold just 3,500 copies in its first week of publication and barely made the New York Times bestseller list during what one literary executive described as an "unusually slow" period for book sales. For the sake of comparison, disgraced governor Andrew Cuomo's pandemic memoir, American Crisis, sold nearly 12,000 copies in its first week.
Published on June 29, Nice Racism debuted at number 13 (out of 15) on the Times list of hardcover nonfiction titles, behind older works such as Bill O'Reilly's Killing The Mob and Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey's memoir, Greenlights. By contrast, White Fragility spent well over a year on the Times bestseller list and surged to number one following the George Floyd protests in May 2020.
Most white liberals adored White Fragility, or at least publicly signaled their adoration for it. The book, however, was not universally celebrated as a vital antidote to the scourge of white supremacy. Columbia University professor John McWhorter, who is black, called it a work of "dehumanizing condescension."
DiAngelo's star has been fading since September 2020, when she was conspicuously absent from Time magazine's list of the 100 "most influential people" in the world, despite being one of the most highly paid participants in the increasingly lucrative antiracism consultancy racket. Between 2019 and 2021, for example, DiAngelo's typical speaking fee increased from $15,000 to $20,000.
Perhaps the underwhelming sales figures for Nice Racism did not come as a surprise to DiAngelo, who argues in the book that white progressives do not actually care enough about so-called racial justice to do anything beyond voting for Democratic politicians and feeling morally superior about it. White progressives already helped Joe Biden defeat Donald Trump, so they are unlikely to bother with a book that implicates them as key players in the perpetuation of systemic racism.
DiAngelo is unlikely to suffer financially as a result. She has already raked in millions thanks to the success of White Fragility and earns at least $1.5 million annually on the speaking circuit, according to a Washington Free Beacon estimate. As of July 2020, she owned three homes in Washington state worth a combined $1.6 million. Demand for her antiracism lectures is likely to keep pace as universities and corporations pour millions into a "diversity" industry that was worth an estimated $8 billion in 2003.
Righteous progressives need not fret. DiAngelo and the like-minded schlubby white dudes at the Lincoln Project are still well on their way to achieving generational wealth.