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Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad is an essential step on your journey to becoming anti-racist. I dare say it is the first step you should take. Ms. Saad’s approach toward confronting white supremacy and ingrained racism is most powerful if you have not done any previous anti-racism work. That being said, the journey Ms. Saad lays out is vital for everyone everywhere, regardless of gender identity, creed, ethnicity, skin color, and every other way we categorize ourselves.

Ms. Saad’s general attitude in Me and White Supremacy is that everyone is guilty of supporting white supremacy. She does not consider those who have already confronted their prejudices, nor does she care what color your skin is. She has separate instructions for white people, people of color, and people of color who are light-skinned or may pass as white. That is the only distinction she makes as she guides readers.

Ms. Saad’s attitude, that we are all guilty of condoning and supporting white supremacy, may be offputting for some readers. Honestly, I struggled to accept this attitude at first because there is no space within Ms. Saad’s instructions for those who have already started confronting their inner demons and who have started to do the work. After all, I can’t be as bad as someone who hasn’t done any introspection on this topic, right? I shouldn’t have to do the same work they do. But the simplicity of Me and White Supremacy is that we all have to do the work regardless of who we are when we come to Ms. Saad’s guidance. No matter how enlightened you might be, there is always work we need to do. White supremacy is as systemic as democracy in the United States; to combat it, you must be conscious of this fact and remain vigilant against falling back into a way of thinking that is so acceptable.

Another unique touch Ms. Saad brings to Me and White Supremacy is the lack of focus on white supremacy in the United States. Instead, Ms. Saad puts forth examples of white supremacy around the globe, showing that racism is rampant worldwide, even in places you would not consider. By positioning white supremacy as a global issue, she eliminates some of the standard, geocentric false narratives people tell themselves when trying to convince themselves, or others, that they are not racist. Also, it is refreshing to read an anti-racism book that does not limit itself to racism in the United States only. The U.S. is no longer the leading global superpower, no matter how many Americans may wish it were still valid, and it is time we expand our scope beyond our borders.

Set to last 28 days, Me and White Supremacy and Ms. Saad break each day of reflection into smaller chunks. Some of the topics you must reflect on are upsetting, and the emotional and mental toll they can take each day can be significant. Ms. Saad also does this because it ensures that no aspect of white supremacy goes unreflected along the journey. The important thing is to do the work and write down your answers to the journal prompts. Take it seriously and work through each scenario she presents. When you do that, no matter how wrenching the topic or disturbing you find your answers, you will make good progress on becoming an anti-racist.

As the narrator, Ms. Saad’s voice is pleasant to listen to. Her diction is crisp, and her words are clear. I found her voice a little too soothing and was glad each chapter is relatively short, as I know she could easily lull me to sleep with a little more time. I also believe her demeanor throughout the audiobook is uncompromising. She doesn’t hesitate to state hard truths, nor does she equivocate or try to ease her message. Her unapologetic messaging within the workbook and the strict demeanor she maintains while narrating can be a bit overwhelming. The trick is to remember that Ms. Saad is not here to judge us but rather to help us become better friends, neighbors, partners, coworkers, parents, siblings, and people.

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad is not for people who aren’t willing to take the time each day to sit down and reflect on their answers to such topics as white privilege, male privilege, racism against Black women, Black girls, Black boys, and Black men, among others. When you reflect on such topics and write down your answers, your brain makes a connection that you will be less likely to forget. This means that the next time you run into such a situation, you are less likely to respond in a racist manner or a manner that supports the systemic racism that already exists. I recommend this workbook if you are beginning to learn what it means to be anti-racist or practice good allyship. People who have already started that journey can still learn a lot about themselves, too, and therefore should not be quick to ignore this powerful workbook. We owe it to future generations to make the world a better place for them, which means confronting and breaking down white supremacy wherever it exists.

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