WorshipWeb: Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

Coalescing around Whiteness

By Takiyah Nur Amin

“...and what does the Lord require of you, but to DO JUSTICE, and to LOVE KINDNESS and to WALK HUMBLY with your God?”
—Micah 6:8 (NRSV)

When President Biden was inaugurated in January, most of my white friends thought everything would be okay. I thought different. “There’s going to be a dialing up of white supremacist violence coming forward,” I warned one friend. “We're going to see more outrageous violent stuff.”

A white nationalist, wearing body armor with a white nationalist symbol, stands in front of a line of religious leaders, some wearing Side with Love garb, at the Charlottesville Unite the Right Rally (August 12, 2017).

I think all the time about the fact that we never properly discredited the Confederacy as a traitor government, and instead have allowed the symbols and rhetoric of the Old South to flourish in violent and historically inappropriate ways.

We live in a myth that white people are innocent and rational and logical. It's hard not to be paranoid as a Black person, because you have white people who say, “I would never do that; I'm one of the good ones”—and you want to believe them. But history shows us that when it comes down to it, a lot of white people will coalesce around whiteness.

For example, there are little offshoots of people who are protesting our Unitarian Universalist emphasis on racial justice. Well, that's fine—just don't call yourself UU. Go be something else. I’m not interested in keeping people that aren't trying to be kept.

When you say, “It has to be a big tent; everybody has to be in here so we can hold hands and sing Kumbaya,” what I hear is: “We want to make sure that the people who would take your life—who would snuff you out without consideration—get to be in here and hold hands and be affirmed.”

Do we who are UUs really believe in the values of our faith enough to enact to them in the larger world in bold, clear, and unequivocal ways? Because I'm telling you: after the things we've experienced in the last year, politically and socially, people are looking for bold, clear, unequivocal pronouncements. If we're going to say that we are a faith that is committed to justice, equity, and compassion in human relations, we have to do that.


Spirit of Life, help us release any impulse to make a mockery of our faith by simply going through the motions instead of living Unitarian Universalism. May we find the courage to live congruently with the best values proclaimed in our living tradition, and to embrace the divine invitation to bring goodness into the world.

About the Author

Takiyah Nur Amin

Dr. Takiyah Nur Amin (she/her) is a dance scholar, educator, and academic success strategist. She has identified as a Unitarian Universalist for more than 20 years. Dr. Amin serves as a member of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC.)


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