Part 1 Summary
The foreword, written by American author and educator Robin DiAngelo, begins with the question most white people ask when confronted about their privilege: “What do I do?” As a white anti-racist educator, DiAngelo delves into the mindset of a white person just beginning to commit to battling racism. She asserts that asking the question “What do I do?” is a problematic and defensive response, as it rushes towards a quick and easy solution without first reflecting on or gaining critical knowledge of the situation. Moreover, asking Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) that question also unfairly shifts the weight of responsibility from the perpetrators to the victims. DiAngelo says that the counter question “How have you managed not to know?” is an effective way of getting white people to confront their initial apathy or indifference toward racism. Given that we live in an age of information, it takes minimal effort for someone to educate themselves about racism—should they take that initiative. DiAngelo describes Saad’s Me and White Supremacy as an excellent resource white people can utilize to educate themselves about racism and white supremacy. According to DiAngelo, the book functions as a roadmap that guides one to personal liberation from racist beliefs, mindsets, and behaviors—whether conscious or unconscious.
Part 1 of Me and White Supremacy begins with a personal note from the author, Layla Saad, who welcomes the reader and outlines what they may expect from the book. She describes Me and White Supremacy as a personal anti-racism tool designed to facilitate an awareness of the ways in which one is complicit in race-based oppression and white supremacy. It aims to hold the reader accountable for how racism has manifested both in their personal life and in their own community. She then explains that her primary motivation for writing Me and White Supremacy was her desire to become a better “ancestor” to future generations by helping to dismantle racism from within the system. Me and White Supremacy originally started out as a free 28-day Instagram challenge, which then evolved into a workbook. Saad admits that while her book can be a difficult and emotionally challenging read, working through the pain and discomfort is imperative to building a better world.
In the next section, Saad introduces herself and provides some information regarding her upbringing. Growing up, her family originally resided in Cardiff, Wales, before moving to Swindon, England, and then to Doha, Qatar. Her parents, who immigrated to the United Kingdom from Zanzibar and Kenya, dedicated themselves to raising Saad and her two younger brothers in a loving and nurturing environment. Despite this, Saad still experienced racism (sometimes overt but most times subtle) whenever she interacted with the rest of the world. She recognizes, however, that despite being a Black Muslim woman, she still holds certain privileges—including socio-economic, cis-gender, heterosexual, able-bodied, neuro-typical, and educational privileges. Finally, Saad reveals that it is her experiences as a Black Muslim woman and her deep sympathy for the pain of other BIPOC that pushed her into doing anti-racist work.
The next section, entitled “What is White Supremacy?” addresses Saad’s choice to use the term “white supremacy” rather than less controversial terms such as “white privilege” or “unconscious bias.” She explains that the idea that white supremacy is an extreme ideology held only by a small group of people is incorrect and dangerous, as it erases the fact that white supremacy is the dominant paradigm under which our...
(The entire section is 887 words.)