Even 'Good Allies' Are Probably Complicit: Layla Saad on Countering White Supremacy


It’s not a Black person’s job to teach white people how to be less racist, but advocates like Layla Saad continue to guide people through the process.

Saad’s new book, Me & White Supremacy is based on an Instagram challenge she created of the same name, where she asked white and white-passing participants to reflect on a series of questions and prompts about their own complicity in maintaining a system of white supremacy.

I knew that it had to go beyond Instagram,” Saad told Jezebel. “So the Me & White Supremacy Instagram challenge evolved into the Me & White Supremacy workbook, which has now evolved into the Me & White Supremacy published hardcover book.”

In the book, Saad encourages readers to investigate their relationship to a number of topics, including cultural appropriation, white-centric feminism, and racist stereotypes. Saad’s text lets no one off the hook; it insists that it is especially useful tool for those who feel that they are already good enough allies. Her prompts about white exceptionalism (thinking that you are less complicit in white supremacy than other less-liberal white people), white saviorism (wanting to be viewed as a hero instead of listening to actual Black and PoC leaders), and optical allyship (for example, sharing posts on social media without actually doing grassroots activism) challenge those who define themselves as allies to further interrogate the depth of their anti-racism work.

Ultimately, Saad believes that everyone has the potential to benefit from her work.

“Some people might think that there are some people who are too far gone, that they are so racist or so proud in their racism that they could never receive this kind of work or they could never be open to this kind of transformation. And what I say to that is, every human being was created equally and all of us have an opportunity to learn if we choose to”

Watch the video above for Saad on dismantling white saviorist narratives and how to be an actually good ally—and not just on Twitter.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin