Guest Blogger, Jaeda Lee, returns to the Dear LiL blog and reflects on her takeaways as a white woman reading Layla F. Saad’s pertinent guide to dismantling racism, “Me and White Supremacy”.
I just finished reading the highly praised “Me and White Supremacy” authored by Layla F. Saad., antiracist educator. Briefly, this book is structured as a 28-day anti-racism guide that specifically targets readers that are white, or white-passing. The guide aims to help readers identify the impact of and navigate the often-hidden mechanisms of white supremacy and systemic racism in our own lives. I strongly urge all who have committed their life to combating racism to not only read this book, but to do this book. I did, and I will tell you that it was a necessary learning experience for me.
Three key things I have learned from this book are:
1. It is not enough to not be racist and if you think it is, this book is written for you.
2. If you bought this book because you think you are “one of the good ones”, I would specifically recommend “day 6” of the guide, which explains the concept of white exceptionalism. Before this book, I always conceptualized racism as intentional and deliberate acts of hatred. I always thought, because I am nice, because I am good, surely this conversation is not for me. How could it be – I am not racist. Because I am nice.
I’ve since learned this work is not about my inherent “goodness” as a person; rather, it is learning about the ways I was unaware that I was causing harm to other people. Because I was not aware. And this book brought that to light. This book forced me to dig deep and reflect on how I have treated Black people, and what I do, whether consciously or not, that shows Black people their lives matter to me.
3. Anti-racist work takes discipline. It is a daily commitment to identifying how white supremacy shows up in your life and in your everyday interactions with people, even if unconsciously. If you are white, or white-passing, it can be upsetting and uncomfortable to confront your own privilege, but it is necessary that we do so.