Robin DiAngelo accuses Michelangelo's 'Creation of Adam' of 'white supremacy and patriarchy'

'White Fragility' author confuses Adam with David

Michelangelo's 'Creation of Adam' fresco painting at the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Rome, Italy.
Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" fresco painting at the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Rome, Italy. | Getty Images

Author Robin DiAngelo recently claimed to believe Michelangelo's famous depiction of God creating Adam in the Sistine Chapel is the "perfect convergence of white supremacy and patriarchy," but misidentified Adam as David.

"The single image I use to capture white supremacy is Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, God creating man, where God is in a cloud and there's all these angels, and he's reaching out and He's touching — I don't know who that is, David or something?" DiAngelo said during a Jan. 15 interview on the podcast "Not Your Ordinary Parts."

DiAngelo, an affiliate associate professor of education at the University of Washington who specializes in antiracism and "whiteness studies," became famous for her 2018 book, White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. The book soared to the top of the bestseller list in 2020 amid the racial tensions in the wake of George Floyd's death.

DiAngelo first coined the term "white fragility" in 2011 to describe what she views as the defensive reactions white people experience when they're placed in situations where they have to reflect on their race. She posits in the book that "a positive white identity is an impossible goal. White identity is inherently racist; white people do not exist outside the system of white supremacy."

During the podcast last month, DiAngelo went on to note how God, Adam and the angels in Michelangelo's iconic fresco are all white, which she claimed is problematic.

"That is the perfect convergence of white supremacy, patriarchy," she said.

Recounting how she saw many similar images while she was being raised as a Roman Catholic, DiAngelo suggested white people take it for granted that whiteness is the ideal race because they are steeped in Christian art that typically depicts God and other figures as white.

"I was raised Catholic, so I saw many images like that as a child," she said. "So I'm sitting in church, and I'm looking up, and I see these images, I don't think to myself, 'Oh, God is white.' But that's, in a lot of ways, it's power, right? I don't need to: God just reflects me — doesn't reflect me gender-wise, but it's a non-issue. I always belong racially to what is seen what is depicted as a human ideal."

DiAngelo has raked in exorbitant speaking fees amid the success of her book, including $20,000 for a seminar she conducted at the University of Connecticut in 2020. She typically charges between $10,000 and $15,000 for her lectures and a phone call with her costs $320, according to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam," painted around the year 1512 on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, illustrates God giving life to Adam by stretching forth His finger. Some art critics have suggested that the shape of God's cloak is meant to resemble the human brain, and that the female figure nestled under God's other arm is Eve.

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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