[chrysalis.activism] Book Group: Me and White Supremacy

Anna McFall annasmcfall at gmail.com
Wed Aug 26 23:06:27 CDT 2020

David - Facilitator
Anna - Note-taker
Topher - Guardian
Stacey - Santa Barbarian

*White Exceptionalism*
PC culture = color-blindness, "smoothing over" instead of addressing it as
a problem
Young children = whaaaaat do? other than diverse books? what happens when
they don't interact with non-white people?
How to be in touch with wider society while still remaining close with
immediate community?
Attempting to be the Best White Person can shield self with white
exceptionalism from seeing how to be a Better White Person
"I am 'Standard Issue Product of White Supremacy'!"
--> How to deconstruct voice that wants to perpetuate feeling of
*Be okay with discomfort
*Understand that something gained is also something lost
*Ask yourself what you'd like to have done as part of the Civil Rights era,
then do that!
*Be empowered by other people taking action

Yay! For next week, Week 2 Intro + Day 8.

On Sun, Aug 23, 2020 at 8:48 PM Anna McFall <annasmcfall at gmail.com> wrote:

> Maybe for this Wednesday, if we meet, we can agree to finish both day 6
> and day 7 (week 1 review)? That will speed us up slightly but not add much
> extra work.
> 8/19 roles for the record:
> Anna - Facilitator
> David - Present
> Stacey - Guardian
> Topher - Note-taking
> On Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 10:13 PM David Ginsburg <dav9dg at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 7/1:
>> Anna - Guardian
>> David - Note-taker
>> Stacey - absent
>> Topher - Facilitator
>> - overlaps with white exceptionalism ("I'm a good white person")
>> - from last time: people tend to focus on the individual but we're being
>> asked to look at the system we live in and our role in that
>> - people get defensive because they want to be a good person
>> - what does white fragility mean to BIPOC? white fragility makes a white
>> person an unreliable ally
>>    - On tactical basis (not just not the right thing): e.g. can't rely on
>> them, have to be wary of what it means emotionally to engage with them
>> - part of self dismissing existence of being complicit in systemic
>> oppression ("maybe we don't know the context [for a given situation]")
>> - what to do when there is an individual who is toxic?
>> - parallel to "believe the victim" -> just believe the BIPOC
>> - "white people" as shorthand for "the group of people who benefit from
>> white privilege"
>> - fear of BIPOC because of possibility of fucking up an interaction
>> - moderating discussions of racism in a classroom was easier than
>> figuring out racism and antiracism in your own social life: the "classroom
>> discussion" is a known genre of discussion and involves challenging
>> students to confront it but not yourself doing it on a personal level
>>   - teacher knows it's their responsibility to play a certain role in
>> that context (define your own roles vs having the roles set up for you)
>> - "white people": frustrated to be lumped in a group, but it also exists!
>> - legitimately proud of being a white person by using my whiteness (e.g.
>> white privilege, etc.) for good
>>   - proud of using this power effectively
>> - Dissociate identity to feel less attacked on a personal level
>>   - I am a white person vs I have whiteness
>>   - I have whiteness
>>   - I have whiteness: covers white passing (about how people perceive
>> you; it's not personal)
>> How to become more resilient:
>> - Accountability: how to address avoidance?
>>   - celebrate wins (e.g. share stories when we were able to have
>> mindfulness around defensiveness)
>> - Noticing/mindfulness: when feeling a feeling with another person,
>> notice having the feeling and deciding what to do with it
>>   - would like to notice feeling of defensiveness and decide to calm
>> myself, not act, stop & listen, maybe ask questions, don't jump into
>> defensiveness
>>   - positive reenforcement: celebrate whenever you can do this in small
>> ways
>> - "Don't be sorry, be better"
>>   - be proactive, carve out time to do the right thing
>> - What to do about performative allyship? Antidote: *listening* without
>> needing to signal wokeness, and *amplify* others
>>   - seek out more opportunities to *listen*
>> - witnessing/listening/observing regular things (e.g. art, music, joy,
>> beauty) from BIPOC sources
>> - Be curious! Antidote to nervousness and social anxiety
>> - Creating safe space for risky challenges? Risky challenges are not
>> safe, but having a circle to process emotions in a safe space can support
>> you taking risks
>> - Process your emotions! Cry, etc. But don't do it in the moment in a
>> burdensome way for BIPOC.
>> - Show up as an adult and not a child trying to please (performative
>> allyship is childish)
>> - Personal development is your own time and space. White fragility has
>> impact on BIPOC, so yes you should process your emotions
>> - How to use privilege for good? Economic: redirect money to black-owned
>> businesses
>> - We feel tendencies to step away and not look at this, so what's the
>> motivation? What are the benefits for us of addressing our white fragility?
>>   - Helps us be more free
>>     - Fragility: largely about avoidance and fear. So addressing it helps
>> us be more free!
>>   - Feel a sense of alienation from BIPOC, so addressing our fragility
>> fosters more authentic connection
>>   - Want to feel good (source of fragility is not wanting to feel bad),
>> so we are defensive, but that feels worse!
>> - How can we detach and make it not personal?
>>   - Remember that it's about the other person. Curiosity and refocusing
>> on how the other person is feeling.
>>   - Refocus on the actual problem.
>>   - Say "this is not about me"
>> On Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 9:57 PM Anna McFall <annasmcfall at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> 6/24:
>>> Anna - Note-taker
>>> David - Facilitator
>>> Stacey - absent
>>> Topher - Guardian
>>> - Perfectionism as an attribute of white supremacy, patriarchy,
>>> capitalism
>>> --> being "called out" hurts more in this framework, and isn't as
>>> productive
>>> - "I can ignore racial injustice and care for my intimate group of
>>> friends, and it's not incongruent."
>>> --> Don't have to fight big systems if not Black or brown, if focused on
>>> just taking care of loved ones.
>>> --> Same set of concerns means something completely different about how
>>> you have to engage with systemic issues.
>>> - "There's a way you can be authoritative and take care of business
>>> without being a fucking asshole!"
>>> - Our deep learning models show us our own biases
>>> <333
>>> On Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 9:05 PM Anna McFall <annasmcfall at gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> Next time (6/24):
>>>> To do:
>>>> *Day 1 - Reading + journal reflections
>>>> *Read appendix section on Circle Way process (if desired)
>>>> *Review the two PDFs Saad mentions from the Resources section of
>>>> thecircleway.net.
>>>> Anna or David (if present) - Facilitator
>>>> David
>>>> Stacey (if present) - Note-taker (takeaways at the end, any questions
>>>> or themes (opt-in notes))
>>>> Topher - Guardian
>>>> On Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 5:40 PM Anna McFall <annasmcfall at gmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Hi all!  I have a bunch of composition and tiny spiral-bound notebooks
>>>>> if you need a journal.  I'll bring them tonight.
>>>>> <3
>>>>> On Mon, Jun 15, 2020 at 10:37 AM Anna McFall <annasmcfall at gmail.com>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> I just mean all of Part 1, though we could do Day 1 also, to initiate
>>>>>> the structure.
>>>>>> On Mon, Jun 15, 2020, 9:40 AM Christopher Lin <
>>>>>> powertothepenguins at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>>>> Thanks, Anna!
>>>>>>> 30 pages works for me. Just to be clear, because page numbers are
>>>>>>> always wonky for me with ebooks, does that mean all of Part I and some of
>>>>>>> Part II, Week 1?
>>>>>>> On Mon, Jun 15, 2020 at 9:37 AM Anna McFall <annasmcfall at gmail.com>
>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>> We've decided to hold up to an hour of book group work after a
>>>>>>>> dinner break following our Wednesday evening activism committee meetings.
>>>>>>>> We will be starting with *Layla Saad's Me and White Supremacy*, a
>>>>>>>> full-length book of guided reflection based on Saad's original 2018
>>>>>>>> workbook, which grew out of an instagram challenge she created for white
>>>>>>>> folks to reflect on their experiences.
>>>>>>>> I'm working on ordering a hard copy of the book for the house; in
>>>>>>>> the mean time, I've attached an epub, and you can shoot her some dollars at
>>>>>>>> her PayPal below.
>>>>>>>> Layla Saad's Paypal <https://www.paypal.me/laylasaad>
>>>>>>>> It seems fitting to *read the first part--about 30 pages--before
>>>>>>>> our first meeting*.  Does that work?
>>>>>>>> In our first meeting, we can take a look at the structure and
>>>>>>>> decide how many "days" we want to do per week.
>>>>>>>> <333 Looking forward to this!
>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>> chrysalis.activism mailing list
>>>>>>>> chrysalis.activism at moomers.org
>>>>>>>> https://mailman.moomers.org/listinfo/chrysalis.activism
>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>> chrysalis.activism mailing list
>>> chrysalis.activism at moomers.org
>>> https://mailman.moomers.org/listinfo/chrysalis.activism
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