White Lives Matter Most— A Publishers Weekly Review

White Lives Matter Most: And Other “Little” White Lies

Publishers Weekly
October 2018

This slim collection of essays by activist and teacher Meyer, who is white, and adapted speeches by activists of color seeks a right way for white allies to engage in meaningful political activism, especially when “no person raised white under white supremacy, like no one raised male under patriarchy, can… completely extinguish from every fiber of our psyche all forms of supremacist attitudes.” Meyer begins by testifying to the unwarranted amount of focus white narratives can take up, obscuring and obfuscating the lives, histories, and voices of people of color. “From the genocidal policies of the Middle Passage and Manifest Destiny,” he writes, “America has always meant White Lives Matter Most.” He outlines threats to meaningful dismantling of racially oppressive systems and international solidarity, from the oppression of indigenous peoples to bipartisan political support for war, which he argues not only diverts resources from helping the marginalized but also foments xenophobia. Meyer calls for whites to engage in “extreme solidarity,” learning more deeply than is typical about the roles and teachings of oppressed people in the struggle for racial justice, leaving the ivory tower to join that struggle, and ensuring the struggle is not inappropriately dominated by white people. Given the focus of the book, it seems odd to put only the white Meyer’s name on the cover as author, rather than editor, when four of the 12 pieces were coauthored or authored by activists of color. Ultimately, this questionable packaging decision underscores the book’s very cogent argument that whiteness is often inappropriately centered.

Back to Matt Meyer’s Author Page