“I speak out of direct and particular anger at an academic conference, and a white woman says, “Tell me how you feel but don’t say it too harshly or I cannot hear you.” But is it my manner that keeps her from hearing, or the threat of a message that her life may change?” – Audre Lorde
Me and White Supremacy // by Layla F. Saad
Pub Day: February 04, 2020
Based off the original workbook, 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 color, 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 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.
In my search for more anti-racism literature, I found this title on NetGalley. Perfect! I thought. It starts out with a foreword by Robin DiAngelo who wrote White Fragility, which I listen to on audio about a month or two ago, and is followed by Layla F. Saad introducing herself. While it is not absolutely necessary always, I do appreciate when an author introduces themselves and tells us why she thinks she she feels qualified to present on the topic of the book. It is an easy way to acquaint yourselves as well as appreciate someone’s passion for their work.
This introduction is followed with an explanation of what white supremacy is, who should be doing the work that is talked about in this book (anybody who holds white privilege), what is needed to do this work (truth, love, and commitment), and how to use the book. It also reminds us that this is hard and challenging work, and that it is important to prioritize self-care, support, and sustainability throughout. While this book is written as a 28 day journaling journey, you can of course go at your own pace as fast or as slow as you need, though it is obviously recommended to not rush through this and really work through your thoughts on everything.
What I liked right from the start is that this is a book that can be used by people that have already started educating themselves in this area as well as those that are just starting out because Week 1 is all about the Basics. For the first seven days, we dive into the foundations of White Supremacy. Each day she shows us a new term, explains it, and then gives us writing prompts to explore their presence in our own lives. White fragility and privilege are two that many are by now familiar with but there are also some that aren’t spoken of as often, such as white superiority and exceptionalism. On day 7, there is a review of the work done throughout that week.
The rest of the weeks are much more personal than that first week that is meant to focus on definitions and setting a foundational knowledge about racism in every day life. There is so much content in this book that is so useful and applicable to all of us on our journey to become true allies in this fight for true equality. Realizing that while sometimes our intentions may be good, our actual behaviors, thoughts, and actions may be more harmful can be difficult. This is addressed several times throughout this book and I beg you to push through this discomfort and do the necessary work anyways. If it was that easy to improve ourselves and change the system, then I doubt this book would be necessary at all. But it is not that easy, which is why we need to suck up our discomfort and emotions and get this work done.
While racism is a systemic issue on a large scale, Saad believes that if everybody does their own work individually on recognizing and reducing their white privilege as well as working towards a permanent solution, eventually the system itself may be dismantled as well. It is hard but oh so necessary work. Please do get yourself an actual journal and do the work in writing. While it may seem enough to just think about each prompt, doing the physical work of writing everything down will assist you in taking that necessary time to think, recognize your own privilege and role in the current system, and do what is needed to work towards real equality.
Extra for Audiobook:
This is another book that I was late on for the review and it became available at the library for me to listen to. Layla F. Saad narrates this book herself and does a great job at it. You can tell that she really cares about this topic and educating people on how to be better allies. While I am usually a big fan of audiobooks though, I would recommend reading this as an ebook or physical copy at least the first time around though, because it is easy to rush through an audiobook without pausing and really focusing on the prompts that she gives you. With this book, it really is worth taking the time and slowing down regularly to do the work that needs to be done.
About the Author:
Layla Saad is an author, speaker & teacher on the topics of race, identity, leadership, personal transformation & social change.
As a widely read writer, a globally sought speaker, and a popular podcast host, Layla is passionate about creating Inspiration, Education & Activation for personal and collective change in the world. Layla’s work is driven by a powerful desire to become a good ancestor; to live and work in ways that leave a legacy of healing and liberation, especially for black girls and black women.
Layla is unapologetically confronting the oppressive systems of white supremacy and patriarchy, while offering important teachings and tools for transforming consciousness, cultivating personal anti-racism practice and taking responsibility for our individual and collective healing.
She is the host of the Good Ancestor Podcast: https://www.instagram.com/goodancestorpodcast/
She is also the founder of Good Ancestry Academy: http://laylafsaad.com/good-ancestor-academy
About the Publisher:
Sourcebooks is creating the next evolution of a book publishing company. We are committed to innovative publishing, to exploring every platform and creating breakthrough models. We truly believe that books have the power to touch people and change lives. Sourcebooks is home to 120 enthusiastic book-loving employees who are dedicated to finding new ways to connect with authors, readers, and ideas. We publish over 300 new titles each year, and are honored to have 44 New York Times bestsellers.
Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.