Me and White Supremacy Analysis
Much like other contemporary anti-racist texts such as Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race, Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, and Ibram X Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist, Layla F. Saad’s Me and White Supremacy saw a surge in sales following the killing of George Floyd in May 2020 and subsequent mass civil rights protests that swept across the United States. Originally published on January 28, 2020, Saad’s Me and White Supremacy joins the ranks of books that aim to address, educate about, and hold white people accountable for racism and white supremacy.
Saad first committed wrote about white supremacist thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors in a 2017 blog post titled “I Need to Talk to Spiritual White Women About White Supremacy.” In 2018, she started a 28–day Instagram challenge under the hashtag #MeAndWhiteSupremacy which quickly went viral. The challenge encouraged people holding white privilege to reflect on their relationship with white supremacy for 28 days. Each “day” of the challenge tackled a different issue, such as white fragility, white superiority, white exceptionalism, and so on. Shortly after, Saad wrote and released for free the digital Me and White Supremacy Workbook, which saw over 100,000 downloads in its first six months. Finally, this workbook was developed into a full-length book titled Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor.
What separates Me and White Supremacy from other anti-racist texts is that it is, at its core, a personal workbook. It is designed to elicit active participation from its readers through personal reflection sections which can be found at the end of each “day” of the workbook. These sections can be considered to be just as important as Saad’s explanations of each issue or problem, as in order to maximize both the educational and emancipatory potential of Me and White Supremacy, readers must engage with its questions wholeheartedly and in good faith. By combining educational material with personal journaling, Saad eliminates distance between herself and the reader, rendering her role as a mentor just as important as her role as an educator. Saad advises the reader to work through the book with truth, love, and commitment, and in “Now What? Continuing the Work After Day 28,” she reminds her readers to revisit their journals time after time.
Aware that most white people believe that white supremacy is an extreme, outdated ideology limited to the KKK, skinheads, and neo-Nazis, Saad wishes to raise awareness of how white supremacy still pervades our society today. The central argument of Saad’s Me and White Supremacy is that racism and racial oppression stem from white supremacy. White supremacy, the belief that white people and people who “pass” as white are inherently superior to other races, is the root of all the pain, humiliation, and degradation that race-based oppression causes BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). Acknowledging the fact that most white people may simply be unaware of their own white supremacist beliefs and behaviors, Saad nevertheless asserts that ignorance does not exempt one from the obligation of doing anti-racism work. Me and White Supremacy, therefore, is designed to aid people holding white privilege in examining and correcting their personal relationship with white supremacy.
Saad employs a variety of persuasive techniques to emphasize the points she makes throughout the book, which she knows will be hard for white people to hear. To strengthen her argument, she references academic works by other authors, cites famous social activists such as Martin Luther King Jr., draws upon data from government studies, and speaks on her own personal experiences. For example, in “You and Anti-Blackness Against Black Women,” Saad cites the findings of the CDC—that Black women die from pregnancy-related causes three to four times more than their white...
(The entire section is 966 words.)