Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
Each chapter introduces a concept such as white fragility and ends with questions designed to get you to reflect on your relationship with the issue. It’s a workbook focused on acknowledging the racism within ourselves, not others. And we all have it. I want to think I don’t play a role in racism, but I do. This book makes you uncomfortable, and that’s a good thing.
Non-fiction, antiracism, social justice
Me and White Supremacy teaches readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of colour, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.
When Layla Saad began an Instagram challenge called #MeAndWhiteSupremacy, she never predicted it would spread as widely as it did. She encouraged people to own up and share their racist behaviors, big and small. She was looking for truth, and she got it. Thousands of people participated in the challenge, and over 90,000 people downloaded the Me and White Supremacy Workbook.
The updated and expanded Me and White Supremacy takes the work deeper by adding more historical and cultural contexts, sharing moving stories and anecdotes, and including expanded definitions, examples, and further resources.
Awareness leads to action, and action leads to change. The numbers show that readers are ready to do this work - let's give it to them.
Your desire to be seen as good can actually prevent you from doing good, because if you do not see yourself as part of the problem, you cannot be part of the solution.
So many people, including me, want to pin blatant racists as the enemy, with “good white people” isolated from them. But racism isn’t just blatant. It’s woven into all of us.
Dismantling white supremacy is not a charitable cause. It is not a social media awareness campaign or a fund-raising Kickstarter.
We can’t just spread awareness when something big happens and then not make more effort to educate ourselves. So I’m going to educate myself. I’m not an antiracist just because I want equality. I have to work and learn and grow. That takes a lifetime.
Our first instinct is to get defensive when someone calls them out or in. Some people use harsh tones when they call you out. It’s because they’ve spent their whole lives in a racist society.
You can’t expect someone to talk about their human rights being violated without anger. So when someone calls me out I need to listen and reflect on what they’re saying.
It will happen to all of us. These are just some of the things I’ve learned and reflected on. Even if we think we understand all this and are perfect allies, we aren’t. We always need to learn and self-reflect. This book is a great tool for that.
However, it’s definitely only an introduction. It doesn’t delve deep into the topics, and is more a gateway into reflection. It encourages you to seek out more tools, not just expect to be an antiracist because you read the book. I would recommend it as a great starting point in antiracism work.