Preparing for the UU White Supremacy Teach-in

This Sunday, May 7th, UUFR will be joining over 600 other Unitarian Universalist congregations in the UU White Supremacy Teach-in, an opportunity for Unitarian Univeraslists around the nation to “look critically *within* our faith communities–including hiring practices, power brokers, and cultural habits–for the ways racism, sexism, and white supremacy live.”

Rev. Sasha has compiled a list of materials, many of them recommended by the national teach-in organizers, to help those who are interested go deeper than is possible during our one hour together on Sunday. Materials include articles, images, videos and more.

Materials are divided into several sections. You are encouraged to read through everything in sequence, but can also jump to certain questions or materials that interest you at leisure.

Feel free to use the comments section if you wish to contribute reflections on what you are learning along the way. Please note that because racial justice conversations can often contain material that is very hurtful to people of color, whatever our intent, comments will be monitored carefully and removed if they contain microaggressions or other harmful material. What is a microaggression? You can learn about racial microaggressions here.

 

1. WHAT IS THE UU WHITE SUPREMACY TEACH-IN?

READ: UU White Supremacy Teach-in page on the Black Lives of UU website

READ: Rev. Sasha’s announcement on the UUFR website

Question for reflection #1: Organizers have asked congregations participating in the teach-ins to refrain from asking people of color to teach about white supremacy, Why might it be problematic to ask people of color to take responsibility for doing this work in UU congregations?

2. WHY HAVE PEOPLE OF COLOR AND WHITE ALLIES CALLED FOR A UU WHITE SUPREMACY TEACH-IN?

READ: UU World article “Critics see white supremacy in UUA hiring practices”

READ: Christina Rivera’s blog post “On being a good ‘fit’ for the UUA”

READ: Aisha Hauser’s letter to the UUA Board of Trustees

WATCH: Aisha Hauser’s video address to UUs uncomfortable with the use of the term “white supremacy”

ADDITIONAL READING: Regional Lead Hiring Response Compilation, with a timeline and links to a wealth of documents

Question for reflection #2: What do you hope might come out of the teach-in here at UUFR and out of the many teach-ins taking place around the nation, and what do you fear? What becomes possible for our faith community if we engage in this work?

3. WHAT DO WE MEAN WHEN WE USE THE TERM “WHITE SUPREMACY”?

WATCH: a short video by Dr. Monica Cummings about racial/ethnic identity formation among white people and people of color in the United States

READ: Alex Kapitan’s article “What’s in a Word: white supremacy”

TAKE: Harvard’s implicit bias tests for race and skin tone. (Please note: the race test only considers 2 racial identities).

READ: Tema Okun and Kenneth Jones’s article “White Supremacy Culture”

ADVANCED READING: Andrea Smith’s chapter “Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy”

Question for reflection #3: Can you think of any examples of white supremacy culture at UUFR or in the UUA or other UU institutions?

Image is of an unknown origin. If you know the origin, please provide details in the comments below.

Image Description: Triangle bisected near the top by a horizontal line. The area above the line is labeled “Overt White Supremacy (Socially Unacceptable)” and the area below the line is labeled “Covert White Supremacy (Socially Acceptable)”. Within and around the triangle are several phrases, arranged from the top down to the bottom. The area above the line, for socially unacceptable examples of overt white supremacy, from the top down to the bottom, are lynching, hate crimes, swastikas, KKK, the n-word, burning crosses, racial slurs, racist jokes and neo-nazis. The area below the line, for socially acceptable examples of covert white supremacy, from the top to the bottom, are “make America great again”, hiring discrimination, police murdering POC, school-to-prison pipeline, confederate flags, discriminatory lending, not believing experiences of POC, mass incarceration, racial profiling, police brutality, paternalism, virtuous victim narrative, euro-centric curriculum, anti-immigration policies/practices, assuming good intentions are enough, denial of white privilege, English-only initiatives, housing discrimination, fearing people of color, self-appointed white ally, expecting POC to teach white people, believing we are “post-racial”, ‘”don’t blame me, I never owned slaves”, celebration of Columbus Day, denial of racism, “but what about me?”, blaming the victim, “but we’re just one human family”, bootstrap theory, tokenism, racist mascots, cultural appropriation, colorblindness, claiming reverse racism, white savior complex, “it is just a joke!” and not challenging racist jokes
 

4. WHAT CAN WE DO TO CONFRONT AND DISMANTLE WHITE SUPREMACY IN OUR FAITH COMMUNITY?

REFLECT: Please take a full week after Sunday’s teach-in to reflect and continue reading through these materials before approaching any people of color, particularly Sunday’s participants, to offer commentary, questions, explanations, or other responses or feedback to what you hear during the teach-in.

REVIEW: this document about microaggressions before approaching people of color to talk about the teach-in. Remember that the experiences shared with you on Sunday may be very painful for the people who shared them. Let’s not add to folks’ pain by unintentionally committing microaggressions.

PARTICIPATE: in the May Wednesday Wellsprings offerings on stereotypes, “Race the Power of an Illusion” and power mapping May 10th, 17th and 24th.

READ: Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr.’s article “PWB: Preaching While Black!: Ten Indicators of Racism in Predominantly White Church Bodies and What You Can Do To Address Them”

JOIN: Allies for Racial Equity (ARE), the UU national white anti-racist group, or Diverse & Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM), the national UU people of color group. ARE is accountable to DRUUMM.

TRAIN: Attend a training with the Racial Equity Institute 

SHOW UP: for racial justice when the rights of people of color are being denied

SUPPORT: The 8th Principle Project, a movement to add a new Principle to our covenant between UU congregations.

SUBSCRIBE: Pay for a subscription to the Safety Pin Box, which the website describes as “a monthly subscription box for white people striving to be allies in the fight for Black Liberation. Box memberships are a way to not only financially support Black femme freedom fighters, but also complete measurable tasks in the fight against white supremacy.”

Question for reflection #4: What are you personally willing to do to confront and dismantle white supremacy in our faith community, and what do you hope our congregation and our religious movement will do?

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