White people, we’ve got work to do

April 1, 2021

When events like the recent murder of six Asian American women in Atlanta occur, it’s not unusual to have an emotional response. We may feel grief, fear, confusion, anxiety, hopelessness, anger, and more – and sometimes all at once. We grapple with difficult questions, asking ourselves, “How could this happen, and what can I do about it? How can I disrupt racism?”

For those of us who identify or are perceived as white, the answer to that question is simple, but not at all easy or straightforward. We live in a society that was designed to benefit us at the expense of others. We’ve been taught to accept this as simply “the way things are” — to the point that we often don’t even recognize the ways that we end up reinforcing this design. If we want to build an equitable future, it is essential to commit ourselves to the lifelong work of excavating the racism that lives deep within us.  

In Neighborhood House’s White Ally Affinity Group (WAAG) we are supporting one another in this lifelong work of unlearning internalized racism and racial superiority. While on this journey, we want to develop accountable relationships with other affinity groups to advance NH’s racial equity and social justice goals. We endeavor to be anti-racist in our work at Neighborhood House and in all parts of our lives. We know that we don’t get to call ourselves “allies” but we hope that we continually show up in the restorative ways that are needed to support our colleagues and communities.

Beginning in March, WAAG is reading and reflecting on Me and White Supremacy (by Layla Saad) together using The Circle Way. The book and journal prompts will lead us to “challenge our complicity in this system (of white supremacy) and work to dismantle it within ourselves and the world.” All are welcome. Advanced reading and reflection are encouraged but not required to participate, and we share the discussion questions ahead of each meeting. We meet on the 4th Monday of each month, from 1:30-3pm.  

By NH White Ally Affinity Group