Me and White Supremacy, by Layla Saad – Day 1: Me & White Privilege

content warning: racism, mention of police brutality

Kia ora team,

I am working through Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy. From her website:

Me and White Supremacy: A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor leads readers through a journey of understanding their white privilege and participation in white supremacy, so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on black, indigenous and people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.

I highly recommend the book. Each chapter discusses a set of issues and includes prompts for daily reflection. For accountability and to invite some dialogue, I am sharing my responses to the prompts here. You can access all the prompts I’ve responded to so far under the #meandwhitesupremacy tag on this blog. I won’t be copying her whole prompts, as she needs to paid for the work she has done, and I think it is helpful to read them in context of the book. It is available at many independent booksellers, libraries, and even on Amazon Kindle if you are not able to get the physical book (which is sadly what I had to do, though supporting Amazon is my last resort!) Please feel free to join the dialogue below or send me a message. Thank you!

Day 1 Me & White Privilege
White privilege allowed me to join this challenge late and on my terms. White privilege allowed me to make it till college before I realised that police brutality against BIPOC in the USA was common, rather than the shocking exception I’d thought it was. White privilege allowed me to be ignorant of it until it started being covered by major news outlets, because it was not affecting my personal life. When I was quite little, I felt safe around police officers and was taught to go to an officer in uniform if I ever needed help. Even today, white privilege allows me to be uncomfortable and wary around police rather than fear for my life or the lives of my family members. I can walk around a neighbourhood I don’t live in, even in a country in which I don’t speak the language, wearing a hoodie without people assuming I’m a criminal. White privilege caused me to be welcomed as a traveller and potential immigrant without experiencing the xenophobia and racism that POC who have lived here their entire lives experience regularly. White privilege means that though I am a minority ethnicity that has not been considered white historically, I get to choose if, when, where and how to disclose that information. When I am criticised for my looks or my actions, I know it will not be because of the colour of my skin. My accomplishments will not be played down because people think I got where I am because of affirmative action – while in reality, I got where I am largely due to connections and opportunities that I would not likely have had had I not been white. Growing up, most of my teachers, storybook characters, film stars, classmates, political representatives, and other role models looked like me and my family. I can always go to a drug store and find hair products designed for my hair type. “Skin colour” crayons resemble my skin colour. My white privilege means that confronting white privilege will always be a choice for me, and that is why it is my responsibility.

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