I have been a white supremacist all of my adult life.
I am a white woman who grew up in a (white) suburb of Boston, went to a (white) women’s college, and earned an MBA in a nearly all-white Ivy League graduate program. I have since lived in many places but rarely in a multi-racial environment where I worked or socialized with blacks or Latinos or Asians or Native Americans.
The social environments of my life have not been a result of intentional white supremacy or conscious racism I would claim to be free of racism in my mind and heart. I have no intellectual or emotional racist tendencies that I know of.
But…I finally get it.
I finally see that my white detachment and my white sympathy-without-action have been a result of white racial conditioning which has sustained the white supremacist system in which we live in America today.
I didn’t create the system. But I am a product of the system. And now I know that.
Just a week ago I wrote this to someone in response to the killing of George Floyd and the resulting protests:
“I don’t know what to do to help dismantle societal structures that are inherently unequal, unjust, and wrong. I can vote for politicians I believe will work for justice, but that’s not enough. I make charitable contributions but that’s not enough. I stop anyone I know from being callous or even the tiniest bit disrespectful (especially when they were ‘only joking’), but that’s not enough. I sense that this cancer of racism needs me to be or do something different. But, what?”
Then someone offered me a roadmap. This roadmap provides the ‘what.’ And I humbly offer it to you.
Please buy and read this book: Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad.
(Here’s an Amazon link: https://amzn.to/2XYrTg0).
Buy it right now.
And read it today, please.
This book has begun to dissolve the unconscious belief system that I’ve lived in all my life. The author gently but firmly draws out the elements of the white conditioning I have not been aware of or understood before: the white silence, the realities of white privilege (not just the obvious benefits of better schools and housing, but the subtle benefit of not growing up afraid because of skin color.) She has made me see the shocking reality of my unconscious beliefs about white superiority, white exceptionalism, white centering, and racist stereotypes.
Most abhorrent to me has been my realization of my complicity in maintaining the white supremacist system by my white apathy.
A appreciate the author’s loving approach to this radical education. The invitation is to see the system for what it is and to begin to question, challenge, and ultimately dismantle the system.
“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 you want it or agree with it.” —Layla Saad.
I finally understand that I have to participate in dismantling the system. I can no longer live my life believing that I don’t contribute to the cancer of racism in this country despite my professed non-racist identity.
If I’m not actively working to dissolve racism, then I’m helping to sustain its existence.
I have reached out to my family, my friends, my team, and my colleagues as I am now reaching out to you. I invite you to begin your own journey. If you have been, like me, unconnected to or effectively untouched by racism, please consider looking more deeply for answers to ‘what can I do?’
“If you are a person who believes in love, justice, integrity and equity for all people, then you know that this work is nonnegotiable.” —Layla Saad
I finally understand that unless I am actively anti-racist, I am effectively and truly racist. It’s that simple.
I invite you to join me as an active antiracist.