Me and White Supremacy: Day 23 Journal Questions

4 min readFeb 22, 2023


“Me and White Supremacy” by Layla F. Saad

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 23 Questions (from the text):

1. Knowing what you now know about white supremacist behaviors across
Days 1–22, how do you respond when you witness white leaders
behaving in these white supremacist ways:
• When white leaders tone police BIPOC?
• When white leaders claim color blindness?
• When white leaders use anti-Black tropes or racist stereotypes?
• When white leaders practice cultural appropriation?
• When white leaders practice optical allyship and white saviorism?

2. When you have witnessed white leaders practicing these behaviors, how
do your own white fragility and white silence get in the way of you asking
them to do better?

3. How does your fear of loss of privilege and comfort hold you back from
asking white leaders to do better?

4. How aware have you been of whether white leaders you follow are doing
deeper antiracism work? How much of a priority has it been for you to
push them to go beyond the visual effect of diversity?

5. If you are in a leadership position, how do you plan to respond to your
own behaviors going forward? How do you plan to hold yourself
accountable to doing better?

In the final week, it would seem the author is giving us a bit of a reprieve. Perhaps that’s because we did a lot of the heavier lifting early on. If the first three weeks were about going deep, this one is about spreading wide what we’ve learned, and making sure our impact in our anti-racism journey resonates as far as possible.

- — -

I’ve already written plenty about how the voices of white people in a system that prioritizes them mean that they have a great responsibility to take action to help eliminate white supremacy, and how when enough white folks want racism to be over in this country, it will be.

These things are what come to mind when I think about white leaders and the potential impact they might have, especially in non-activist spaces. In an ideal world, the work I do and the examples I hopefully set help these leaders realize that they too can move past their fear, hesitation, and inertia regarding the opposition of normalized white supremacy, and inspire them to continuing to learn how they can best be effective in doing so.

I will say that my experience with white leaders in activist spaces has taught me a great deal, not only in how to go about this work, but also about myself. It’s helped me to better pinpoint and recognize my own blind spots as someone who struggles with internalized racism and has spent a lifetime being overly influenced by the needs and opinions of white authority figures.

I remember one white activist in a position of leadership invited me to speak at an NAACP vigil for the one year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. I had a conflict that day and explained that I could be there at the very beginning but would need to leave the vigil early, so if possible I would like to deliver my speech close to the beginning of the vigil. I remember asking her “would that be ok?”

She responded with a chuckle and said “Would it be ok? I am not going to tell a Black man how to spend the anniversary of Floyd’s death.” She could have simply said “yes”, but her yes was framed in a way that left me with something to think about regarding my own autonomy.

I let that sink in in that moment, and still think about it from time to time.

“I am not going to tell a black man what do do on the anniversary of George Floyd’s death” is exactly what mindful and racially conscious leadership from a white person looks like.

As far as pushing white leaders to do better, I like to think I am already doing that. As someone who began their activism with the slogan “no excuse, do better” I only hope that this is the case not just for any leaders or would-be leaders, but for everyone.

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