Do you believe that whites are superior to other races? Are you a member of the “Master Race?” The Klan? A Neo-Nazi? Are your politics Alt-Right?
If you’re reading this Unitarian Universalist blog, probably not. But here are a few other questions: If you are white, how have you benefited from white supremacy in America? What unearned privileges have you enjoyed as a white American without thinking much about them?
Try this: If you were a hiring manager, how would you see an applicant’s “fit” for a job in a mostly white business where people of color usually fulfill service functions? It’s easy to think that you would be supportive of—or at least fair and neutral toward—applicants who don’t look or talk like you. If almost everyone in management has an advanced degree, how would you compare two job seekers—one with and one without this credential?
What if, in the end, you decide to hire the white man with the degree and other qualifications that connect him (remember the “fit?”) to everyone else in the organization?
On Sunday, April 30th First Unitarian Church will set aside its scheduled programs to be part of a Teach-In on white supremacy. More than 500 Unitarian Universalist congregations—about half of the denomination’s churches—have agreed to suspend their theit usual activities to address white supremacy within the Unitarian Universalism, and to examine our own hearts and minds.
First Unitarian’s teach-in is being held in response to the resignation of UUA President Peter Morales, who “stepped down in the midst of an escalating controversy over the UUA’s hiring practices and statements he made in response to charges that those policies reflect and perpetuate ‘white supremacy’ in the liberal but predominately white religious movement.” (UU World, March 30, 2017)
Sometimes it takes courage to understand how white supremacy privileges some of us and disempowers others. But thinking that you don’t need to grapple with these issues in our denomination, church, and personal lives merely helps perpetuate this discrimination.