On the first season finale of the AMV Pod, Tiffany sits down with Layla Saad, Racial Justice Advocate, Black Feminist writer, and creator of the “Me and White Supremacy” handbook. They go deep into the conversation of white supremacy, micro-aggressions, the trend of (false) activism, and how we can root the work we do in bettering the world for ourselves and future generations in ways previous generations have strived to do for us.
Layla is leading personal and collective change at the intersections of race, feminism, spirituality and leadership. Layla is the author of the viral open letter I need to talk to spiritual white women about white supremacy, as well as the creator of the 28-day #MeAndWhiteSupremacy Instagram challenge, which is soon to be published as a much anticipated self-guided workbook. Her work fiercely confronts the oppressive systems of white supremacy and patriarchy, while offering important teachings for transforming consciousness and powerful tools for anti-racist practice. Her work has helped thousands of people face and work to dismantle their internalized racism, and has simultaneously created industry-wide paradigm shifts in the spirituality, wellness and personal growth community, and beyond.
Layla is activating people around the world to step into greater leadership, wholeness and integrity within themselves, as well as in their relationships, workspaces, and industries. Layla stands at a diverse intersection of identities from which she is able to draw unique perspectives for collective change. She is a writer, a poet, and a teacher. She is also a Black Muslim woman, a feminist, a womanist, a mother, and a daughter of African-Arab immigrants, who was born and raised in the United Kingdom, currently living in Qatar, while writing and speaking to a global audience. These identities allow Layla to speak to people from around the world, while still reaching them at an intimately personal level. Layla’s refusal to fit into any easy boxes, her fiercely eloquent voice, and her unrelenting work to help dismantle and heal internalized oppression has made her a powerful thought-leader in the racial justice movement.
What the F@%k?
Tiffany starts of the conversation with and ice breaker, searching for Layla’s most recent life moment that’s made her go WTF. For Layla, it is seeing instances of white fragility and white centering, with its “victims” using these ideas as a way to avoid the real conversation of white supremacy.
What Brings You Joy
Layla counters her WTF moments with how important it is to her to center joy, and how this had developed for her into a form of resistance and self-love. She’s able to sustain her joy through an internal tracking of how far these WTF moments take from her away from her joy, and what she must do to get herself back.
Neither Servant nor Savior
Layla explains how her work is rooted in herself first, sustaining herself first and without the focus of changing and saving the world as that is sacrificing herself. For her, the idea of being the sacrificial lamb in some instances of social work is counterproductive, and can only reinforce the oppression that it is meant to work against.
Layla tells how she’s grown from being a life and business coach to an activist. The turning point for Layla include Charlottesville, writing an open letter (that went viral beyond what Layla had ever experienced) to white women about the silence that she has noticed coming from them in instances of injustice. This comes the blend of working with entrepreneurs in growing their business but also working on their spirituality and understanding of justice.
Where in the World is White Supremacy?
Tiffany and Layla discuss the real life instances where white supremacy show up, even in those who would consider themselves as being “Good White People™.” Layla thus challenges white people to really understand what it means to have white privilege, and instead of fighting the idea as “not all white people” or attempting to exclude themselves from it, embracing the unearned power that they have been given and using it to be the better white person that they claim to be.
Sparked from a night of sleeplessness mixed with writing, Layla was able to put together a 28 day challenge centered on understanding white supremacy, white privilege, and white fragility, and learning to harness that unearned power to build upon your integrity. Warning from the creator: While it will not feel good to go through the challenge, it is important that you do.
Let’s Be Real
Tiffany and Layla speak candidly about the real life instances in which white supremacy and its many facets come into play in our daily lives. They talk real life examples, sociological studies, and how it feels to have to go through life with everyday examples (both small and large) meant to remind them of their “otherness.”
A book for those who missed the 28-Day challenge but still want to put in the work, and then a lot of listening coming from Layla’s side.
Advice for the Future Leaders
Layla has a message specifically for POC leaders who do and do not want to incorporate the racial dialogue within their work. Either choice is okay for the work that POC leaders want to do, and it is important to disregard the pressured opinions of those who claim otherwise. Separately, Layla gives advice for non-POC leaders who want to implement racial justice into their work. First things first: pass the mic.
Someone who is really able to have an internal relationship with oneself, and is following that connection and working on that relationship, but also examining the outside world, blending the two and approaching the work with the idea of, “how can I become a good ancestor?’
“I just follow the next right thing.” (15:56)
“This has nothing to do with you being a good person or not.” (21:40)
“You are going to have to redefine your understanding and what it means to you to be a good white person.” (21:59)
“White supremacy grants you the advantage of unearned power.” (23:40)
“We cannot be blamed for what we’ve inherited, but we can change the trajectory for what comes after we are gone.” (39:02)
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