Saturday, June 27, 2020

Me and White Supremacy ~ by Layla F. Saad

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor ~ by Layla F. Saad, 2020, race relations
This book challenges white people to do the essential work of unpacking our biases, and helps us dismantle the privilege within ourselves so that we can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color.  And it shows us, in turn, how to help other white people do better, too.  It gives us the language to understand racism and to dismantle our own biases by walking step-by-step through the work of individually examining:
  • My own white privilege
  • What allyship really means
  • Anti-blackness, racial stereotypes, and cultural appropriation
  • How to change the way I view and respond to race
  • How to continue the work to create social change
Table of Contents
Foreword ~ by Robin DiAngelo
Part I:  Welcome to the Work
  • A Little about Me
  • What Is White Supremacy?
  • Who Is This Work For?
  • What You Will Need to Do This Work
  • How to Use This Book
  • Self-Care, Support, and Sustainability
Part II:  The Work
Appendix:  Working in Groups: Me and White Supremacy Book Circles

  • Glossary
  • Further Learning
About the Author

Links to the book's website, author's page, and her blog.


Emily said...

The idea of 'becoming a good ancestor' by 'helping to create change, facilitate healing, and seed new possibilities for those who will come after I am gone' right there slaps me in the face of white privilege as it never crossed my mind that my children would need me to do something now to insure their future. whoa

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Emily and I are ready to work through this book together. We have seen a massive surge of awareness of systemic racial injustice recently. As people all over the world are protesting, many are also working to educate themselves about the history and persistence of systemic racism.

After getting the book and reading through the first 29 pages to see how this works, we'll spend four weeks doing "The Work" in four parts. (See the Table of Contents in the blog post.) As we start each "Week," I'll create a separate blog post, linking them all back to this post by making the "weeks" into blue links. Even years from now, you can find this discussion on the sidebar and can add your comment. (Notice I've been facilitating book discussions here since 2007.)

Although this is designed for "white people to do the essential work," anyone is welcome to join us by commenting. This is NOT a closed group, but comments are moderated (by me). I won't approve SPAM or anything not respectful of others. This blog will be here until Blogger/Google deletes their whole system, though comments will obviously stop when I die. Who else is interested in reading this book with Emily and me?

Bonnie Jacobs said...

To start our discussion, I noticed that "BIPOC" is used 285 times in this book. (It's on my Kindle, which tells me such stuff.) Here's what BIPOC means:


The acronym BIPOC stands for "Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color." Its aim is to emphasize historic oppression of all people of color.

POC stands for "People of Color" and is primarily used to describe any persons who are not considered white in the United States. It emphasizes common experiences of systemic racism. POC was in dictionaries as early as 1796 and, thus, is a much older term than BIPOC.

Many people prefer BIPOC over POC because they view the use of POC as lumping all people of color togther. BIPOC acknowledges that people in Black and Indigenous communities face different, and often more severe, forms of oppression and erasure, especially when it comes to the racial oppression that permeates the history of the United States.


Bonnie Jacobs said...

I have read and pondered Part I: Welcome to the Work. Here's a summary of "How to Use This Book":
1. Keep a journal.
2. Go at your own pace.
3. Don't generalize.
4. For your first time, work sequentially.
5. After your first time, work intuitively.
6. Work alone or with a group.
7. Keep asking questions.
Because my Kindle is too small to read the words of the illustration on page 217 of the book, I found it online and added it to the bottom of our blog post.

So now, I'll start the weekly sequence, adding a new blog post each Monday to cover the 28 days of our journey together. Tomorrow morning, I'll post Week 1: The Basics. This does NOT mean you have to start it now. It means our discussion (in the comments) will be in the right "place." Whenever YOU are ready, you can move on to the next "week" just as Layla Saad set it up for us. Take "the next step" when you reach it.

Another thing — I commented a few days ago about BIPOC (see above). I looked it up online and combined all the things I read, unaware that the author had already put BIPOC and 28 other words and concepts in the Glossary (pp. 226-230). I suggest we all read through the Glossary to understand these terms as we begin the process.

The author also tells us to keep a journal (#1 on the list above). A few pages later, she emphasizes that point: "This is a book that is designed for you not just to read but to work through. The best way to do that is to purchase a journal to use for working through each day's journal prompts" (p. 21). Skimming the pages, I see there are "Reflective Journaling Prompts" every day. Okay, folks, step #1, let's all get journals.

Emily said...

I have acquired a journal to use with this book. I can tell this will be a thoughtful process and a journal will be appreciated. Thanks for setting this up on the blog, Bonnie.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Thanks for joining me in the discussion, Emily.