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Reflection on White Supremacy in Our UUA

Posted by T. Resnikoff // March 28th 2017 // Issues and Trends, Mosaic, UUA // 37 comments

From the staff of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries

UPDATED 3/31/17. [Since the publication of this post from our office, the President of the UUA has resigned (read the reporting of this event on UU World here), and the Leadership Council of the UUA released this statement.] – ed.

A very important conversation has been happening about the insidious white supremacy in our Unitarian Universalist Association, centering currently around our hiring practices. We encourage you to do some digging and read multiple perspectives in this conversation. A good place to start is the 3/27 UUWorld article, statement from Black Lives of UU and this Compilation of Responses.

With gratitude to those reminding us to do this work, we in the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries (YaYA Office) have been thinking about how white supremacy manifests in our corner of this institution. In this country and within Unitarian Universalism, white supremacy is one of our collective sins. As Unitarian Universalists and a Buddhist, we recognize that our interdependence means that none of us are free until we are all free. We practice our value of interdependence by struggling together for collective liberation.

The YaYA office has six staff members: five white people, Rev. Annie Gonzalez Milliken, Bart Frost, Deborah Neisel-Sanders, Jennica Davis-Hockett, and Ted Resnikoff, and one person of color, Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen. Rev. Nguyen is the only person of color on our team and was hired specifically to support youth and young adults of color. She does amazing work with limited resources and continually pushes our office toward more accountability and dismantling white supremacy in all our work. But supporting youth and young adults of color and committing to anti-racist and anti-oppressive work is not only Elizabeth’s work, it’s all of ours. At the same time, there is currently no portfolio dedicated to providing white youth and young adults with anti-racist and anti-oppressive identity development and organizing skills. While each of us integrates anti-racism into our work, we acknowledge that for those of us whose portfolio doesn’t focus primarily on youth and young adults of color, we could be doing a lot more to support the spiritual and leadership development of young people of color and to dismantle supremacy of all kinds in our office, our UUA and the world.

The first step in healing from the damage white supremacy does to our spirit is to face our reality, process our defensiveness as it arises, so that we can be truly honest about our starting place. As James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Many are finding his words useful in this moment, and are grateful for this reflection from Kimberly R. Hampton M.Div that also uses these words.

So here’s the reality of white supremacy in the YaYA Office as we can currently see it. We recognize that some of these things are within our control, some of these things are part of our institutional history which we did not determine, but which is still ours to own.

  • Five out of six staff members are currently white and the one person of color on staff supports youth and young adults of color specifically. This position is part time. This staff configuration sends a message that ministering to Unitarian Universalist young folks, generally, means ministering to young white folks and that ministering to young people of color should only be handled by people of color and that it’s ok to devote fewer resources to this ministry than others we serve.
  • Our supervisor is a white male, replacing a person of color in 2014, and he supervises a team which is 80% women. White supremacy and patriarchy support each other, so it is necessary to name both the racial and gender dynamics around power in our office.
  • On UUA.org we have resource pages for identity development for young people of color but haven’t yet created identity development resources for young white people, which sends the message that young white people don’t have work to do regarding their racial identity.
  • We have not prioritized ensuring the voices of people of color are equitably represented in leadership in YA@GA panels, Youth Caucus Staff or Youth Observer candidates and do not prioritize removing barriers for youth and young adults of color to participate in leadership. We have also failed to publicly acknowledge the absence of people of color, which again erases the white supremacy at play.
  • White staff members benefit from the relational capital of staff and volunteer leaders of color by asking them to identify other people of color to participate in our programs, speak on workshop panels and serve in leadership positions, which are often volunteer. These asks can feel like we want token people of color, or can feel risky to leaders of color who are not sure if they can trust white staff to treat people of color well.
  • White staff generally default to centering whiteness, are not proactive in calling colleagues in when they center whiteness in our resources and ministries and need reminding from colleagues of color to include voices of people of color.
  • White staff rely on reminders from colleagues of color to include ancestors of color in our stories about Unitarians, Universalists and UUs.
  • We prioritize the visibility of people of color in the images on UUA.org and Blue Boat Blog, but do not prioritize giving power to people of color.
  • We put the burden on people who experience oppression to advocate for changes, name microaggressions and push for resource redistribution.

That’s a long and incomplete list of where our office has fallen short. We name these instances in order to face them; we face them in order to change. Together we must forge a culture of care for all, which includes reparations and reallocation of resources. We need a culture of risk and vulnerability, of speaking truth to power, of paying attention to who is not at the table, and of celebration that also acknowledges our work is not done. As we forge this new way, we lean on our ancestors for guidance and walk with our young people, the inheritors of our faith.

We have the power to resist white supremacy from wherever we are. As UUA employees in the Youth and Young Adult office we struggle against our wider culture that rewards us for going along with the status quo, pushes us to look out for ourselves more than our kindred, and seduces us to believing that business as usual is neutral. It’s easy to say “not us,” “we’re not the ones who are the decision-makers.”

This response is an attempt to model, however imperfectly, looking in the mirror ourselves and taking responsibility for what is ours – where we have missed the mark and let the violence of white supremacy harm ourselves and the youth and young adults we serve. We invite others to join us in reflecting on how you and the organizations in which you have power are complicit in white supremacy and what your sites of resistance are.

Gratitude is one of our spiritual practices so we want to share gratitude to Christina Rivera, the Black Lives of UU organizing collective, DRUUMM, UU leaders of color – lay, youth and young adult, ministers, religious educators, musicians and music directors, and UUA staff who have put their often unpaid labor, heart, spirit, attention to the work of liberation.

With gratitude and ongoing commitment,

Annie, Bart, Deborah, Elizabeth, Jennica, and Ted

About the Author

Ted Resnikoff is the Digital Communications Editor at the Unitarian Universalist Association.
37 Responses to “Reflection on White Supremacy in Our UUA”
  1. Tet Gallardo says:

    People from the global majorities need not be represented but be present.
    Processing white defensiveness is slow and should not determine the speed of justice.
    Two questions are important, are leaders willing or not? Are leaders able or not?
    If leaders are wiling but not able – diversity intelligence is not their competence and must seek help with experts. If they are able but not willing, they are not our allies and must work out their issues outside of the timeline at which the presence of global majorities must be realized.
    Do the right thing, then process your ego instead of stay the same and process your readiness.
    We are a church of proof and we need evidence that we are capable of welcome now.

  2. Clyde Grubbs says:

    This is a very good Reflection.

    A White institution is an institution that is founded with White Supremacist ideas and practices, so it can not simply stop being White Supremacist. That requires transformation, re-establishment, deep renewal.

    The history of our Association of Congregations indicates to me that it began as openly racist, and then when it no longer was polite to be openly racist it became liberally tolerant. In the last two decades we have made a concerted effort to raise the issue of White supremacy in the UUA, and the leadership has managed the conversation but there has been no transformation, no deep renewal.

    Thank you for your reflection, it took courage and it is honest.

  3. Joe Cherry says:

    Thank you for your reflection and the light it sheds on this subject which is painful, confusing, hard to process and vitally important. As ever I experience this interaction with the leadership that is the YaYA Office to be bold, brave and on the forefront. Thank you for teaching.

  4. Nancy Reid-McKee says:

    This is provocative and well stated. Thank you. It is easy for me, coming from white privilege, to view the whiteness around me as normal. Your statement is a reminder that this perpetuates an inaccurate worldview. It is hard to stay in a location of continually recognizing the benefit I gain from white supremacy and striving to move away from a position of comfort, but it is part of the work to displace myself as I recognize the harm being done by complacency.

  5. Michael Tino says:

    Thank you, my colleagues, for this reflection.

  6. MarySue Foster says:

    Thank you for taking the time and the loving attention to write this. It is quite provocative. I am taking the time to study it.

  7. Qiyamah A. Rahman says:

    How many times have we mouthed the words, “Our youth are our future.” This generation of UU youth and young adults are speaking truth while they shine the light of knowledge and justice in the dark places of white supremacy which has proven to be one of the most insidious legacies of slavery. Whites, white males in particular, are reluctant to release their power and control. It does not matter what the source of the resistance is, as one of those “old heads” that have been laboring long in the vineyard of Unitarian Universalism, that stayed because this is my chosen faith tribe, I am sorely displeased to hear that some of the work, the sweat and tears invested in this movement and denomination by myself and others has been eroded and that our youth and young adults of color have to re-do the work that we so lovingly and patiently did. Painful as it often was, we did it. I did not fight for the survival of myself and my children to leave this world and my Beloved Community no better than what I inherited or to see my grandchildren suffer the same dis-eases of mental slavery. I have a message for those of you that continue to halt the progress of Beloved Community. A day will come when you will have to give an account for your every action and deed. This is how the chapter in the Quran, Al-Qiyamah, the Final Resurrection states it. It states that on the Day of Judgment all knees will bow and every tongue will confess to the knowledge that the inherent worth and dignity of each and every human being is the only truth (God is One) and that truth will prevail in the end. And we will be judged by how we supported or resisted that truth. Which side do you want to fall on? No one has returned to speak of the consequences. I believe it is merely our own conscious that will be rewarded or suffer. It is an honor system. No one is standing around (besides Big Brother), watching to see if we are good or bad. But if we want to know the truth look at our results. I pray for us and I work for the day when our hearts do not break from news that our youth and young adults are still compelled to fight tired old battles with tired old white supremacists. I have to hold all in prayer or my warrior ancestry will want to kick ass instead!

    • Lyonezz says:

      The structural and systemic white supremacist institution has been and continues to be the fall back card when open racist acts won’t do. It is a continuation of Jim Crow today. What is equally disturbing is white supremacy, like the abuser in intimate partner violence, uses the same tactics of totally dehumanizing people. This continued method of mental/emotional, battering including but not limited to financial abuse, sexual abuse, making people think they are crazy, incarceration, isolation, intimidation, using white privilege, using the children, and everything else that would complete the intention to dehumanize people of color so they are open to the ultimate crimes against them destroying their universal human rights to be rendered invisible as if they did not exist. What folks do not understand is if things to change and white supremacy continues running rampant on its destructive path, is the chickens will come home to roost.

  8. gunner c miller says:

    Confused a bit. I have a great respect for the UU community, but this is an odd post. Are you saying that simply because 5 of the 6 are white, it must be “insidious white supremacy”. Can it just be something as simple as they hired the best for these specific positions? I jokingly quote Freud. “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”…can this be something as simple as “sometimes 5 whites are just 5 whites and nothing more”?

    • T. Resnikoff says:

      Hi – thanks for your comment. In this case, we are reflecting on a specific and recent event that brings awareness of how, we feel, we must improve to realize the beloved community we seek, and better uphold the tenants of Unitarian Universalist faith. Read this story in UU World for context: https://www.uuworld.org/articles/critics-challenge-uua-hiring-practices?utm_source=uuworld&utm_medium=front&utm_campaign=stories. Again, thanks for your question – we greatly appreciate the conversation! -ed.

      • gunner c miller says:

        The article does point out the issue in more detail, but I still cringe at the nature of the claim. Can there be unconscious racism? This I find a better question then a claim of ‘insidious white privilege’. The local UU here in Middle Tennessee that I follow and listen to their speakers online, are for the most part all white. I would not ever view them, outside of the loving term I use humorously “my lefties’, as being part of the problem. I just get uncomfortable with a claim that can cause much heartache and yet leads to little in the way of answers. I just hope the claim is to bring justice to an issue and nothing more.

      • Bette Brunswick says:

        This is analysis paralysis in my opinion. I have stopped supporting the UUA because of the heightened political attributes to my faith. Please consider that removing the practices of God, love and true acceptance of the mature spirit and replacing it with this intelectualized and politicized anguish and negatively only further divides us. I know the thinking is that there can only be change when we “struggle ” with the truth, but whose “truth”? The UUA is attempting to change the world with a war on culture. Not good. Change happens on an individual basis, it always has and it always will. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Preach love, never hate or negativity and you will go further with transformation.

        • K. Kepler says:

          Bette Brunswick, I have not gone as far as stopping my support of the UUA. Its liberal faith is hard to duplicate. However, I am a white male from birth. I live in an integrated community where being white is a minority, and it’s fine. I tend to be color-blind and gender-blind as much as possible. I am now a senior and have more time (though not more money) to support causes and movements. Increasingly, I wonder if there is a place in the UUA for me or whether my presence is perceived as a liability or nuisance. But, I am not sure where to go if I no longer feel welcome.

          • Bette Brunswick says:

            Hello K…I remain a Friend of my Parish as I believe the ties I have with my fellow congregants are precious. I still support their operations and the good works we do in the community. If I remained a voting member then my church would have to send a portion of my pledge to the UUA (if we maintain the fair share giving). I agree with you that UUism is a fine example of a welcoming liberal faith. However, I think the UUA board needs to communicate better with the congregations when large sums of Association funds are given to groups such as the Black Lives of UU. What is their plan or goal? I know the sermon that was preached at my church on white supremacy caused a teenage girl in my church who has a white mother and black father a lot of angst. She doesn’t understand the tension that rises from this topic, and I also know that the Sunday school class that was taught about it that day did not give parents a time to see the material before it was taught. I find this very irresponsible.

  9. Chris B says:

    Been a POC UU since I was fairly young and just throwing some of my ideas and experience out here.

    1. 30 years ago, churches like the Southern Baptists and Mormons didn’t even allow Black members. Now they (according to Pew Research) as well as most every other church have significantly higher racial diversity than the UUA. Data on racial diversity don’t lie, we are among the most segregated churches in the USA and pretty much any other church has action done a better job of inclusion.

    2. Don’t trust in good intentions. Trust your eyes and math. If a church is attracting POC, they are doing something right. If they are repelling us, they are doing something wrong. My hometown church if you ask whites, thinks it is doing a wonderful job. If you ask the Blacks, almost all of whom left, you will know the church does a terrible job. Guys, trust your eyes and your instincts, not the public relations at the UUA or anywhere else.

    3. Trust accountability. Those who demand change and yes force change will succeed. Those who put faith in an segregated institutions desire for change (especially 53 years after the civil rights act) are at best wasting their efforts

    4. Many whites will demand the change if given the opportunity. Many won’t but will tell you that they do. The fun is to learn to spot the difference.

    5. Many people of color in this denomination are quite comfortable with white power. If they weren’t they go elsewhere. They are the ones often promoted to positions of power because they look the part but won’t press for change. The fun is also spot those POC in the religion who are appeasers. Not too hard here. Those who are not appeasers are really kind of pissed off at things. We think it just plain sucks that we can walk in to a southern Baptist church or just any conservative church and find more racial diversity. If your a POC and a UU and not pissed off, then you fit the bill.

    6. Be clear that undoing racism in the UUA is very damed hard. Much easier to create beloved community in the secular world or even apparently at most other churches, mosques, temples. Career ministers and staff too often are experts in lip service to social justice.
    There are some pluses to fearing your God. Meaning that if you BS your deity, he or she knows and will punish you at some point. UU’s don’t really have this fear or reluctance to BS because no matter the lie it will never lead to damnation…LOL

  10. Jody Leader says:

    Thank you for this very powerful, inspiring reflection.

  11. Jon Cleland Host says:

    Thanks for this helpful post. The only way to repair the injustices of privilege are to point out privilege of all types – white, male, cis, etc. and to bravely keep doing so when fragility is the predictable response.

  12. Chris says:

    The use of the term White Supremacy is incendiary and offensive. It is not accurate to claim that UU is the religion of the KKK or other racial hate-groups, but that is exactly what is implied with your word usage.

    Some rerferences: https://www.adl.org/with-hate-in-their-hearts-the-state-of-white-supremacy-in-the-united-states – these are not people associated with UU vlaues

    A Google Image search of White Supremacy – it’s like looking through a UU viewbook (sarcasm) – https://www.google.com/search?q=white%20supremacy&tbm=isch&source=lnms&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjAmYvTj4HTAhWE4iYKHU_hDQgQ_AUIBygC&biw=1920&bih=1014

    BTW, I’m not saying that there might not be systematic racism/classism/other-ism to be dealt with. I’m pointing out that calling Unitarian Universalism the religion of white supremacy isn’t the way to go about dealing with this….

    • T. Resnikoff says:

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your observation, and of course you are correct that the term “white supremacy” comes with significant meaning in addition to that intended by our use of it.

      • Chris B says:

        No guys, I’m not going to run away from the term white supremacy though I don’t use the term. It has actually a definition in wikipedia. “White supremacy or white supremacism is a racist ideology centered upon the belief, and the promotion of the belief, that white people are superior in certain characteristics, traits, and attributes to people of other racial backgrounds and that therefore white people should politically, economically and socially rule non-white people.” That in the UUA whites rule politically, economically and socially over the UU’s who are not white is precisely why Peter Morales resigned. It can be proven in the 9% of senior managers who are white vs the 42% of American population. And yes, if I had a nickel for every time I heard a I don’t think people of color understand or are in the same place as UU values. Or they are not the right fit was why a person of color wasn’t hired just last week. That is white supremacy. It doesn’t have to have a tattoo, or confederate flag, or anger attached. It can be happy, content, and it’s just the way we do things with a smile mentality. I might well not use it because of the social implications of class, but I’ve heard many a person of color call the UUA white supremacist. And no, I can’t argue with that either. I’m done with the “We’re just not like that” type of explanations. Yes, UU’s have education and the rough edges are kept under wraps, but remember, we are the religion who pushed out blacks in 1969. There was a schism and the UUA is the survivor of the winner, the winner in 1969 was the anti black church. The church has never recovered its minority membership and fudging history (so to speak) does nothing because the truth will be out. Better to handle the nasty history and unfortunately the ugly reality the UUA has just not been pushed and held accountable for its failure to integrate on many levels.

      • Greg says:

        “white supremacy” comes with significant meaning in addition to that intended by our use of it.

        Ted, what meaning did you intend? All dictionary definitions seem to include a belief that Whites are superior to others. I do not believe UUs believe “Whites are superior to others.” I certainly do not, I don’t think using an established term in a “different” way is good communication.

        • Greg says:

          Ted, I just reread the article,,,, I would be happy with it if “White Supremacy” was replaced with “White Privilege”, The w privilege is a result of w supremacy. But I do not believe it is accurate to describe the UUA as a White Supremacy organization.

    • Greg says:

      “The use of the term White Supremacy is incendiary and offensive.” I could not agree more.

      White Supremacy did create Institutional Racism in the United States and in the UUA. Male Supremacy did create Cultural and Institutional Sexism throughout the world. Heterosexual Supremacy did create Cultural and Institutional Homophobia throughout the world.

      For the oppressed to overcome oppression, those who are part of the oppressive class need to be “removed from power” or woke and become Allies in the struggle to dismantle the systems of institutional/cultural oppression.

      I am a lifelong Unitarian Universalist. I am a white, heterosexual, male. I am not a White Supremacist. I do not believe males are superior to females. I believe everyone has the right to love who they love.

      I believe I am woke and have become an Ally in the struggle to dismantle the systems of institutional/cultural oppression. I believe the culture of Unitarian Universalist is woke and has become Allies in the struggle to dismantle the systems of institutional/cultural oppression.

      We have work to do in our own house. We have worked to do in the world. Our ideals have progressed faster than our institution has changed. This is hard work. This is important work.

      In my opinion, using the term “White Supremacist” distracts from the serious work we need to be doing. As long as who you are creates unearned privilege, the struggle for justice will continue. Let us use our collective time, treasure and talents to work together for justice.

      • Bart Frost says:

        Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us on the use of the term “white supremacy.” We are a faith that holds many truths and draws on many sources of wisdom. We open our doors to many people. One truth is that we are a people who have spent years working hard on racial justice and anti-racism, who try our best to live our values in ways that decrease racist violence, and who support movements such as Black Lives Matter and immigrant justice movements. Another truth is that our predominately white denomination exists within a racist society. White supremacy is in our history, woven into all our institutions and our culture. It is in our UU history, institutions, and culture. We name it so we can face it and change it, as author James Baldwin says. We are fully human, holy and flawed, doing our best to right the wrongs of white supremacy both within Unitarian Universalism and in the wider world.

        Jim Key, UUA Moderator, recently shared the following: “The term white supremacist once referred exclusively to individuals and organizations that openly espoused the superiority of white people. In recent years the term has come to refer to a culture, or a social narrative that places the needs, desires, stories, well-being, and the very lives of white people over and above those of people of color. It is the water we swim in. It is so much a part of our lives and of the life of our Association that it has just become business as usual. We have chosen to use the term and to endorse the teach-in called for by many of our religious educators because we are absolutely committed to staying awake to the challenges before us. White supremacy is a continuum. When we refuse to acknowledge our place in that continuum we risk being lulled back into complicity. Not this time friends.”

        We hope that this information is helpful, and we encourage you to participate in the upcoming #WhiteSupremacyTeachIn organized by Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism: http://www.blacklivesuu.com/uuwhitesupremacyteachin/

        We are grateful to our religious educators who have taken the lead in providing a faithful opportunity for deeper learning about this term and the issues it describes. We encourage you to work with your congregational leaders to register for the teach-in so that we can learn more together.

        • Bette Brunswick says:

          If we live by our 7 Principles, we would have all we need to live the values we desire. You bet I am defensive with the term white supremacy, no matter what new definition it is given. We would never say the “n” word because we practice our principles. So too this should be for “white supremacy “. I regard these terms as hateful and can no longer understand where this religion is heading.

          • Bart Frost says:


            I sorry that you feel that way and confused about your analogy as the two words are not the same. One is a slur used to perpetuate hate and white supremacy. The other is a term that describes an institution that perpetuates (mostly unknowingly) the racist values of the society it exists in. Acknowledging that one exists within a racist society and that racism exists and works in insidious ways does not make one a white supremacist. Rather, its one of the the first steps on the path towards creating an anti-racist society.

            Our principles are a covenant, they are something to live into. One will never live the principles, because we will always fall short.

            I invite you to meditate on the principles for a while (http://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles). Our second principle calls us to create “Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.” What we are seeing and hearing is that there has not been equity. You might remember this meme from a while ago (http://culturalorganizing.org/the-problem-with-that-equity-vs-equality-graphic/). Equity is not equality. Liberation is not equity.

            Furthermore, our 3rd principle calls us to accept one another and encourage spiritual growth. We are hearing from our friends and colleagues of color that they don’t feel accepted AND they are encouraging us towards spiritual growth.

            Lastly, and this will be the last principle I wield, our fourth principle calls us to search for truth and meaning responsibly. We, as Unitarian Universalists, are seekers and learners. We don’t settle for what we already know, but listen and look for new ideas and have to be willing to accept them.

            I encourage you to reflect on these principles and enter again into our shared covenant.

          • Rik Roberts says:

            I agree with the hateful nature of this term. As a Southerner, white supremacy implies lynch mobs, hangings, murders and other horrible acts. I hear that term and think skin heads and KKK. This attempt to redefine the term is, IMHO, meant to inflame. Are we really so lacking in our intellectual capacity that we cannot come up with a different term or phrase to talk about what is happening? I too an disappointed with the direction of the UUA. Having a bunch of white people lead discussions about race to other white folks and kids is not going to get us to a different place. We need POC to talk about what would bring them into the church, what would make them feel welcome and what would make them feel included. When we have put 42% of POC on the boards across the land, will we be any more diverse if our congregations are still 90+% white?

          • Bart Frost says:


            Language is constantly evolving. Dictionary definitions change. As you stated, are we so lacking that we can’t accept that the horrific acts you mentioned were allowed by systems and institutions that still exist today? Can we acknowledge the insidious way white supremacy and racism play out in our communities, our churches, and our world? Can we have the courage to acknowledge it and fight against it?

            I think we can, if we take a step back, breathe, and risk faithfully.

            Furthermore, I think people of color are telling us what we need to do to change. They have been for a while. Do we have the ability to hear these hard truths and make changes? We haven’t in the past. White UUs need to step up and teach each other, because we’ve asked people of color to do this work for us for far too long.

            We can do this.

          • K. Kepler says:

            Bette, you said it very well and I agree.

  13. Silja says:

    I wonder if it all comes down to deciding UU is a (moderate) liberal or a radical faith. The BLUU statement on this issue quoted the Letter from Birmingham Jail on the difference between ‘negative peace’, the absence of tension, and ‘positive peace’, the presence of justice. As mostly white middle class UUs, we don’t currently seem to be good at being witness to anger and vocal dissent about injustice when it’s from within our own ranks. I’ve had this experience with UU in a context that wasn’t about race, but involved similarly fundamental criticism of the decision making structures. There was an instant push to reassert unity and reduce tension. Not that I think all tension is good, but I’ve become a bit skeptical of our litany “we forgive ourselves and each other, we begin again in love” since then. We may hear criticism, we may even accept it, but my experience is that the push for focusing on the positive, forgiving, and moving on may become so strong that we can’t get deep enough into the underlying power structure issues (such as Whiteness) to effect the change we would need to create justice. The price is that we lose the folks we should most want to keep: the ones who are willing to speak up, unsettle the patterns of our traditions, and make us grow.

  14. Michele David says:

    As a Black UU lay person I concur with the Ya Ya reflection. My deepest frustration with UU is our good intentions and talk about diversity and the unwillingness to act on our words. Calling this unsconscious bias is a further unwillingness to take responsibility for how we act as UU. I have personally experienced this. I have had to prove I was qualified for lay leadership position when White members do not have to. The same way it seemed inconceivable when looking at the Trump presidency that a room full of white men would make decisions on women health. UU should feel uncomfortable if they are leaders and only White people are present or the person of color present are unpaid volunteers or parttime employees or lower paid staff.
    I am glad this post is shining a light on this issue.

  15. Erin Gingrich says:

    Thank you for being honest and sharing your example. I am learning from you.

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