Willoughby Hills
Willoughby Hills with Heath Racela
108. Activist Saira Rao on American Racism and Gun Violence

108. Activist Saira Rao on American Racism and Gun Violence

Welcome to another episode of the Willoughby Hills podcast!

Saira Rao (photo by Jaymie Alexander)

My guest today is author, filmmaker, and activist Saira Rao. Along with Regina Jackson, Saira founded the group Race 2 Dinner in 2019, which encourages white women to have radically honest conversations about race. The dinners were so popular that Saira and Regina distilled their essence into the book White Women: Everything You Already Know About Your Own Racism and How to Do Better and the film Deconstructing Karen.

I became introduced to Saira’s work through the book White Women. I joined a book club at my kids’ school which was reading and discussing the book. Reading the book was an eye-opening experience, though as the subtitle implies, it was also familiar if unacknowledged.

In Saira and Regina’s telling, America has a racial hierarchy with white men at the top, Black women at the bottom, and everybody else falling somewhere in between. This caste system helps white men retain power and exploits those lower in the pecking order. While it may sound radical, it also succinctly describes the origin of nearly every challenge of our times, including things like climate change and environmental justice.

Saira’s advocacy has recently turned to gun violence. She is one of the founders of Here 4 the Kids, a group working to end gun violence.

During our conversation, Saira talked about how race and guns are intertwined and how solving for gun violence is the first step in beginning to dismantle racism.

This was an intense, far-reaching conversation about the racial issues that plague our country and how small action can make a big difference towards dismantling the power structures at work in America.

If you’re new to Saira’s work, I hope this episode will be the beginning of your learning and will encourage you to begin reading more on these issues. Thank you for listening!

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Willoughby Hills
Willoughby Hills with Heath Racela
Quarantine Creatives is now Willoughby Hills. Join TV producer/director Heath Racela as he chats with interesting guests with unique perspectives on our ever evolving relationships to work, home, community, culture, food, the environment, and more.