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

David Ginsburg dav9dg at gmail.com
Thu Jul 2 00:12:50 CDT 2020

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
  - 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
- 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
>>>>> _______________________________________________
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