I’m leading a group discussion circle on “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla F. Saad. I’m taking the journaling challenge daily throughout February even though I’m not white. If you happen to be white, why not take the challenge? If I can do it, you can do it too.
Day 21 Questions (from the text):
1. What more have you learned about yourself and your unique, personal brand of white supremacy?
2. In what ways have you realized behaviors you have thought were “not that bad” were actually very harmful?
3. Where are you beginning to see your biggest challenge is when it comes to your personal antiracism work?
4. Where are you starting to do your work, and where are you still holding back?
5. What other dots have you started connecting when reflecting on the work you have done so far?
In week 3 we’ve reached the section on allyship. As this section by definition cannot apply to me personally, I will share some observations that may be helpful for my allies and would-be allies.
- — -
Three weeks in. My place is even more of a mess than it was a week and two days ago. This journal entry is coming three days late — which means I am going to need to double time it this weekend if I am to finish the author’s challenge on time. But if she can commit to writing this book, I can commit to finishing her challenge on time. I suppose that’s what I need to work on. I see now the reason why she wants us to journal each day — so we can focus our attention on one of these concepts at a time, and let them marinate. Having had time to do this, and also at times, needing to write multiple entries in a day, I can see now how beneficial it is to do this challenge in smaller, more manageable bits. I am going to take this as an opportunity to forgive myself for this, and relinquish some of my latent perfectionism.
It is complicated. Based on the concepts and scenarios presented to us this week, this is getting ever more complex and potentially confusing. It’s hard to tell where the lines are between some of the concepts presented and others. Harder still to tell the difference between actually being a helpful ally/accomplice and falling into one of the pitfalls the author mentions. It’s almost as if this is a nuanced and rigorous field of study, just like any other.
It is ongoing. Allyship/Accompliceship needs to be as ongoing as the perpetuation of racism.
It is not self defined. You don’t get to choose it — like Excalibur or Mjolnir, it chooses you.
It is not and should not be an identity. This is tricky — to continually embody what it means to be an ally/accomplice, while not attaching your self-worth to it is a tightrope walk. Once we attach our ego to this practice, we risk not performing in order to protect the ego.
It is a skill. And just like any other skill, it will take practice if you wish to be proficient at it.