"Do your best until you know better, then do better." -Maya Angelou
Me & White Supremacy. Combat Racism, Change the World and Be a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad, read by Layla F. Saad.
I've been working my way up to this book. Working my way through a myriad of historical, opinion, memoir and social justice works that have led me to the place where I felt ready to "Do the Work". I chose to listen to the audiobook-my method was to listen to the chapter and the journaling prompts and then go back later and re-listen to the prompts, writing the answers one by one.
Even as I write this post, my anxiety about getting it wrong or sounding sanctimonious or contrite, well...it's raging. If you know me (and I'm assuming you know me because I have about 20 followers), you know that anxiety is my lifelong companion. You might not know that anxiety, shame spirals, and perfectionism commonly align to form the trifecta of inaction. These cornerstones of my personality have made me the poster child for "I need more information", "I'm not ready", "After I read this Next Book", "After I Talk to an Expert", "After I Watch This TED Talk". I feel like I'll be ready to do things when I am 100% sure I will get it right.
Guess What? I'm not going to get it right. This book made me understand that my shame is making me defensive and prickly. It doesn't let me soften into the process. What was meant to be a 28-day journaling and thoughtfulness exercise became a 2-month book-club, deep-dive, deeply personal journey I took with my skip-sister. I'm so glad we took it at the pace we did. Some of the exercises were incredibly painful and difficult. I am absolutely certain that left to my own devices, I would have put the book aside and said I'd deal with it later. Or I'd face that issue when I felt stronger, or more capable. But, when somebody is going to be there, with their truth...you have to show up with your truth as well.
Me & White Supremacy is hard. It requires the reader to engage honestly and with true intention. If I had read this book with skepticism or wanting to see ugliness, I could not have made the realizations I made nor been ready to gratefully, humbly move forward in search of and with intent to be truly Anti-Racist. Before reading this book, I would have told you I am "Not that Kind of White Person", that "Other White Women" were to blame, and that "I Am an Ally". I have all the right intentions. But I am not showing up in the right way. The world we live in today-the world of the Proud Boys and White Supremacists storming the US Capital? That is not the world I WANT to live in. I want to be somebody that DOES something to make it better.
This is one step toward pulling the ugliness into the light. For only if we see it, name it and decry it can we actually begin to UNDO it. I encourage EVERY. SINGLE. WHITE. WOMAN. to read this book. Take as long as you need. Get a partner. If you cannot find a partner, I will be your accountability buddy. I will go back and do it again. I am that invested and engaged and committed. I am eager and hopeful that my white friends will take me up on this challenge. I am not saying this for credit, or a button. I'm not writing this review to lecture you or make you feel guilty or any other thing.
Truly, I'd love it if this was the jumping off point for a movement of my extended circle of book-friends to engage in this work and start an online book club of women interested in diving into the Anti Racism Work and showing up with me. Tell me what you think. Call me out. Call me in.
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For my original Goodreads review of this book, please click on the link.