I know it has been said about a zillion times before, but I feel like some UUs have taken on being anti-racist, anti-oppression, etc. as a hobby. It is ALL OVER the GA schedule. There must be 6000 workshops on how to organize anti-oppressive stuff, how to be anti-racist, how to develop anti-racist policies. As if if you have enough workshops on it or say anti-racist enough that will somehow fix the institutionalized racism that is all over the place including in each and every one of our lives when we live in our nice white neighborhoods, send our kids to private schools, and do all the millions of other things that privileged middle class UUs do every day. I know I need to think a lot more about this to articulate something clear and coherent about it, but I’m sure that having ten zillion workshops on anti-racist, anti-oppression work will not make a lot of difference. A tad maybe, but not much. The thing is that supporting equality for everyone is hard. A lot harder than organizing trainings, making manuals, passing resolutions, and having meetings and worships theme around anti-oppression. And I just don’t think that UUs in general (like most middle class people in general) are willing to do the hard stuff it would take to transform institutional racism. While I am not claiming to have the answer, I’d say somehow interacting with black and Hispanic people and communities would be a good start. (Which brings this bizarre image to my mind of white UUs going out to try to recruit people of color just to have diversity, which of course doesn’t work so well either in so many ways… which of course points out that it is a difficult thing when you want to be diverse but somehow don’t manage to attract the diverse people you want to have in your group….) . Which is why I think that the urban ministry work is a step in the right direction. You don’t have to run around with anti-racist stamped on your forehead for that. Rather, the work of engaging and working together with communities where people are different and substantially less privileged speaks for itself. It is work of solidarity. Work with other people and communities rather than working about them somehow. It brings to mind my all time favorite quote, “If you have come to help me, don’t waste your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, let us work together.” Which I’m sure applies to the anti-racist work of UUs except the small thing of “working together” since most UU communities are very removed from most communities of people of color. I hope this isn’t too politically incorrect by UU standards. OBVIOUSLY, I am not against equality for all people and the hard work and focused work it takes to get there. I am just suspicious of all the UU stuff where lots of white, pretty well off people seem to chant anti-racism, anti-oppression stuff together, to each other, until they are blue in the face. Maybe there is some sort of account out there of the difference this actually makes. I’m sure it makes some. I would just like to read more about how this is actually the best way to go. I could be convinced. I am just not there yet. The thing that gets me (I’ll stop after this) is what the black and hispanic and other people of color and other oppressed peoples would think of all this. If I showed this to B, one of the amazing young men I’ve mentored from Dayton, OH…and now I think you would say we are friends or pseudo-family rather than mentor/mentee since he is 19 now and we’ve known each other for 12 years.. but anyway, I think he would just crack up and think it was weird if he saw all the workshop titles and statements. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll have nice things to say about the GA program soon. And I’ll attend some of these anti-racist things to see what they are all about. Don’t knock it until you try it, as they say.
Thou doth protest too much, methinks