July 20, 2020
Melissa sent me a post from NPR several days ago that I just got around to reading over the weekend. This was a conversation with Layla Saad, an East African, Arab, British, Black, Muslim woman living in Qatar. She has come up with a 28-day process designed to teach those with white privilege how systemic racism works. More importantly, how to stop contributing to white supremacy in the world. This began as a PDF digital workbook but has now become a New York Times bestseller called, Me and White Supremacy.
The burning question asked in her interview was, “What do you think is the biggest obstacle or the toughest challenge for white people when they decide they want to take this challenge?” Her response, “People get stumped on white exceptionalism.” Saad went on to explain white exceptionalism as the idea that as a white person, I am one of the good ones. She went on to explain there is no good or bad. What we are talking about is being unaware of the ways you are causing harm to other people. That is the purpose of her book.
I was intrigued by the article, looked the book up on Amazon, and read the introductory pages provided. This made me more curious. One of the suggestions was to complete this book as part of a group where you could (honestly) discuss your responses to the daily questions. Melissa had already mentioned she would like to be able to find a resource like this, and we decided to go through the book together. I saw the book was offered in a Kindle format for half the cost (I am my father’s son), and we downloaded the book and began the journey last weekend. We are two days in.
THOUGHTS: Like Acho’s Uncomfortable Conversations, Saad’s White Supremacy is intended to get the conversation started. When we answered the first day’s questions it reinforced the limited interaction with BICOP (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) we both had growing up. Arkansas was part of the segregated South and Kansas lacked the cities and large-scale manufacturing that fostered migration. Saad promised in her introduction that the book would make me mad. It is a learning experience. Change is coming and it starts with you.