me and white supremacy by Layla F. Saad

“If we don’t challenge each other to use our platforms for better than our niches or what our quote-unquote brand is, what are we doing as influencers? If we can’t activate our audiences at the times it’s important or needed, then what do we have these platforms for?”

p. 181, Luvvie Ajayi

Hello everyone! Many people I know use social media on a daily basis; for business and/or personal reasons. Now, I’m not an influencer as defined by the social media industry, but I can influence my family, friends, and followers; and share my thoughts on the #blacklivesmatter movement, antiracism, and other issues related to the BIPOC community. “Now understand that no matter who you are, no matter what level of power, influence, or authority you hold, your voice is needed.” (p. 58, Saad). This book opened my eyes to the harm caused by white supremacy and my role in white supremacy. She talks about the notion of being a “good white person” and how this label is actually dangerous. She talks about how white people can be involved in antiracism, but how you have to put in real work—it’s HARD to do, but the right thing to do. “There is much work to be done. And it begins with getting honest with yourself, getting educated, becoming more conscious about what is really going on, and getting uncomfortable as you question your core paradigms about race” (p. 5, Saad). Everyone, especially white people, should read this book and do the work outlined in this book to learn how to be proactive in the antiracism movement. “This book is for people who are ready to do the work, people who want to create change in the world by activating change within themselves first” (p. 4, Saad). This is an enlightening book that I will continue to refer back to time and again along my lifelong journey of antiracism work; I hope you pick up a copy and go forth on your own antiracism work journey during your own life adventure :). ❤

I hope you enjoy these quotes and that they inspire you to read the book for yourself!

“Building the racial stamina required to challenge the racist status quo is thus a critical part of our work as white people. Rushing ahead to solutions—especially when we have barely begun to think critically about the problem—bypasses the necessary personal work and reflection and distances us from understanding our own complicity. In fact, racial discomfort is inherent to an authentic examination of white supremacy.” (p. 2)

“The system of white supremacy was not created by anyone who is alive today. But it is maintained and upheld by everyone who holds white privilege–whether or not you want it or agree with it.” (p. 3)

“Black girls matter. Everywhere.” (p. 8)

“I do this work because People of Color everywhere deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, something that white supremacy strips them of.” (p. 10)

“White supremacy is an ideology, a paradigm, an institutional system, and a worldview that you have been born into by virtue of your white privilege.” (p. 13)

“[What] you can do is wake up to what is really going on. I invite you to challenge your complicity in this system and work to dismantle it within yourself and the world.” (p. 14)

“[You] do this work because you believe in something greater than your own self-gain. It means you do this work because you believe that every human being deserves dignity, freedom, and equality. It means you do this work because you desire wholeness for yourself and for the world. […] It means you do this work because love is not a verb to you but an action. it means you do this work because you no longer want to intentionally or unintentionally harm BIPOC.” (p. 18)

“White supremacy is an evil. It is a system of oppression that has been designed to give you benefits at the expense of the lives of BIPOC, and it is living inside you as unconscious thoughts and beliefs. The process of examining it and dismantling it will necessarily be painful. It will feel like waking up to a virus that has been living inside you all these years that you never knew was there. And when you begin to interrogate it, it will fight back to protect itself and maintain its position.” (p. 19)

“There is no feel-good reward at the end other than the knowledge that you are doing this because it’s the right thing to do.” (p. 25)

“[There] is no greater reward than being in integrity with your values and living your life in such as way that it makes the world a better place now and for the future.” (p. 26)

“Conversations around race and white supremacy are by their very nature uncomfortable.” (p. 43)

“If you cannot talk about racism, especially about the ways in which you have been unintentionally complicit in racism, then you will never be able to go beyond a mere superficial understanding of racism.” (p. 43)

“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.” (p. 43)

“[If] our friends cannot show up for us, what does that mean for how safe we can feel around other people with white privilege?” (p. 55)

“You need to look at white superiority so that you can begin to unravel it within yourself and dismantle it within the spaces around you.” (p. 66)

“While you experience hardships and oppression in your life from other identities and experiences, you do not experience these things because of your skin color.” (p. 68)

“You are not an exceptional white person, meaning you are not exempt from the conditioning of white supremacy, from the benefits of white privilege, and from the responsibility to keep doing this work for the rest of your life.” (p. 71)

“The aim of this work is truth–seeing it, owning it, and figuring out what to do with it. This is lifelong work. Avoid the shortcuts, and be wary of the easy answers. Avoid the breaking down into white fragility. Question yourself when you think you have finally figured it out–there are always deeper layers, and you will continue to reflect even more as you continue on with this work.” (p. 74)

“The promise of the Church of Color Blindness is that if we stop seeing race, then racism goes away.” (p. 78)

“When you refuse to look at color, you refuse to look at yourself as a person with white privilege.” (p. 82)

“I say all this to say anti-Blackness is ugly. It hurts. And it is necessary to name it for what it is, for without naming it and confronting it face-to-face, all this work remains an exercise in intellectualizing and theorizing. Antiracism work that does not break the heart open cannot move people toward meaningful change.” (p. 85)

“When whiteness is decentered, white supremacy loses its power.” (p. 140)

“While optical allyship centers people with privilege, actual allyship centers those who are marginalized.” (p. 160)

“[Because] there is such a focus on being perfect and doing antiracism perfectly and on being seen as [a] good person, people with white privilege often cause more harm when being called out/in because their white fragility causes them not to receive the feedback necessary to listen, apologize, and do better going forward.” (p. 164)

“While call outs and calls in never feel good, they are an invitation to become aware of behaviors and beliefs that are hidden to you, and they are an opportunity to do better so that you can stop doing harm and make amends for the pain caused.” (p. 164)

“You will be called out/in as you do antiracism work. Making mistakes is how you learn and do better going forward. Being called out/in is not a deterrent to the work. It is part of the work. And there is no safety in this work.” (p. 167)

“Maya Angelou famously said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” (43) When it comes to racial conversations, that means beginning with the willingness to lay down white fragility and unconscious bias, listen to the feedback being offered, reflect on your actions and unconscious beliefs, educate yourself, apologize, make amends through changed behavior, and do better in the future.” (p. 170)

“I am talking about the privileges, advantages, and comforts you must be willing to let go of so that BIPOC can have more dignity in their lives. White privilege is a bubble that protects you, rewards you with the unearned advantages, gives you the belief that you are entitled to be in all spaces all the time, shields you from showing up for BIPOC, and grants you a feeling of authority and power.” (p. 195)

“[Speak] to the good ancestor who lies within you, the person inside you who came to this book with questions about dismantling white supremacy and who leaves this book knowing that you are a part of the problem and that you are simultaneously also part of the answer. There is great power and responsibility in that knowledge. But knowledge without action is meaningless.” (p. 210)

“[You] can intentionally choose to disrupt and dismantle white supremacy within yourself and your communities so that BIPOC can live free of racism and oppression. The choice is yours. The moment is now. Help change the world. Become a good ancestor.” (p. 210)

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