“You have the chance to change the story.
You have the privilege to do the work that those who came before you did not do.
You have the potential to change yourself, and to change the world.”
Layla F Saad
Earlier this year, Quercus acquired Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad – an incredibly important book that we are proud to be publishing in February 2020. Hachette published it’s Ethnicity Pay Gap Report earlier this year and the conversations around that, Reni Eddo-Lodge and others’ brilliant writing and the work of THRIVE, Hachette’s BAME employee network, have highlighted why it is so important that we recognise racism not just as individual acts, but as something more systemic, embedded in the social structures, institutions and social relations of our world – and that those of us with white privilege all play a role in that. In November, members of Quercus and Hachette, including our CEO David Shelley and our HR Director Melanie Tansey, will be learning about white supremacy, our role in it and how to be a better ally by embarking on the 28-day challenge contained in Me and White Supremacy.
- Me and White Supremacy began as a 28-day challenge on Layla’s Instagram page for people with white privilege to unflinchingly examine what privilege really means – and the ways in which they’re (often subconsciously) complicit in upholding oppressive systems.
- It quickly went viral, with thousands of people from around the world taking the challenge. When Layla self-published the workbook it was downloaded over 90,000 times in the first three months alone.
- The chapters of this book focus on the different manifestations of white supremacy, including white privilege, white fragility, tone policing and white silence. Each chapter is followed by a set of reflective questions for the reader to think about and raise with their peers.
- This book is intended for everyone with white privilege and the interactive ‘challenge’ format puts the onus on white people to educate themselves and make change, rather than this becoming the emotional labour of people of colour.
- It answers the questions that white people have when they finish books like Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race: “What can I do?”
The work of dismantling the oppressive systems of white supremacy and racism is too often put on people of colour, but it is those who benefit from these systems that need to wake up and make the change. Below is a checklist for white privilege, taken from Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh. If you can answer yes to these questions, then Me and White Supremacy is for you.
We will be sharing our work and reflections, and you can follow our journey – and that of others doing the work – under the #MeandWhiteSupremacy hashtag.
Me and White Supremacy is available to pre-order here