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Introduction, Session 11: Privilege Is A Blessing We Give Away To Be In Community

In "Windows and Mirrors," a Tapestry of Faith program

The tighter you squeeze, the less you have. — Thomas Merton

To whom much is given is much required. — Christian scripture, Luke 12:49

It is easy to "own" our skills and resources which are well practiced or hard-won, such as educational achievements and professional craft. However, we often take for granted knowledge, abilities and opportunities we have by virtue of advantageous birth, fortune or geography—our privileges. This session teaches children to recognize the ways in which they are privileged. Children learn that privileges, like other gifts, are best used and most valuable when we share them with others.

In Unitarian Universalism, we affirm the interdependent web of all existence. Thus we are called to share our privilege as an act of belonging in community. The children hear about Juliette Hampton Morgan, an upper middle class, Southern white woman who was an outspoken critic of segregation in mid-20th-century America. Her family and friends in the white upper class ostracized Juliette Morgan for her public stance, but her conscience would not let her forego acting on her beliefs. She used her privilege, giving it away to stand up for what was right.

Note: Be thoughtful in talking about privilege related to skin color—mindful not only of individual children in the group, but also of the realities of changing context. Fifty years after Juliette Hampton Morgan's fight and death, segregation by skin color is illegal and American has elected Barack Obama as our president. While racism still exists in the U.S., there is no reason to give children notions that their skin color alone, whatever it may be, provides significant privilege in today's society.

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Last updated on Sunday, November 9, 2014.

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