We Must Dismantle White Supremacy
White supremacy affects everyone. As Unitarian Universalists, we must fight white supremacy individually and together if we hold hope for Beloved Community. There is work to do in congregations and there is personal work to do.
White supremacy is the idea that white people are better and more deserving of wealth, power, and privilege than people of color. White supremacy pervades our culture, institutions, and relationships. It is a self-perpetuating system that continues to fuel colonialism, exploitation, oppressions, inequities, and brutalities that people of color experience.
Use the resources below to:
- Expose the impact of white supremacy
- Engage in study and change
- Enter partnerships for action
Expose the Impact of White Supremacy
Communicate with others about the harm caused to people and communities of color by different expressions of white supremacy (systemic, overt, microaggressive).
- Look at national racial disparity statistics. How does the research finding of "two Americas" play out in your locality?
- Share and discuss eight one-minute videos that unpack systemic racism in employment, wealth disparities, infant mortality, housing, education, environmental health, incarceration, and health care access.
- Read and respond to "10 Insidious Ways White Supremacy Shows Up in Our Everyday Lives" on the Everyday Feminism website.
A culture of white supremacy perpetuates itself by marginalizing people of color. Seek ways to amplify and incorporate the voices of people of color in all aspects of congregational life. Centering voices of people of color helps to destabilize white supremacy as the dominant cultural norm in a UU setting and beyond. Use these collections to share the voices of Unitarian Universalists of color:
- Packet of worship and religious eduction resources (PDF) created by Unitarian Universalists of color for The Promise and the Practice, a campaign to support the UUA commitment to Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU).
- Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry, edited by Mitra Rahnema (Skinner House, 2017); essays and responses from Unitarian Universalist religious professionals of color; UUA Common Read 2017-18 with discussion guide (PDF)
- Voices from the Margins edited by Jacqui James and Mark Morrison-Reed (Skinner House, 2012); a compilation of readings
- Black Lives Matter collection of readings on the online UUA Worship Web
Engage in Study and Change
Predominantly white institutions, including UU communities, without reflection and self-correction tend to maintain systems that privilege and center white individuals. To spark change, make space in the community for self-reflection, study, and conversations about race.
Many white people have not thought much about their own race and participate in maintaining white supremacy culture without full awareness. Encourage white members of the faith community to read and discuss White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo (who is white), the 2018 New York Times bestseller from the UUA's Beacon Press. Download a White Fragility study guide for UU groups. Other inspiring reads to ground and inspire change include How to Be Less Stupid About Race by Crystal M. Fleming (who identifies as a queer black millennial) and So You Want to Talk about Race, another bestseller, by Ijeoma Olua.
Engage a leadership team to read Salsa, Soul, and Spirit by Juana Bordas and learn ways to build multicultural sensibility into congregational governance and life. Follow further suggestions on this web page to become a more multiculturally adept UU congregation.
Launch antiracism religious education programming:
- Create spaces for conversation about race. Find models for leading age-group cohort discussions, small group ministry/chalice circle groups, and one-time learning sessions in the White Supremacy Teach-In materials curated by a team of UU religious educators of color.
- The UUA campaign, The Promise and the Practice, resource packet (PDF) includes "Mending the Broken Chalice," a curriculum for grades K-5 and "Beginning Anew," a middle- through high-school curriculum, both by UU religious educator Jaelynn Scott.
- UU programs for unpacking racism and dismantling white supremacy include the Tapestry of Faith programs Building the World We Dream About for Adults or for Young Adults (one-year commitment), and the youth program Be the Change! (six sessions).
- Beloved Conversations is a facilitated experience of faith formation around race and ethnicity for UU congregations. The program includes a 1.5-day retreat and an eight-week series of two-hour sessions.
Do a UUA Common Read to examine the roles systemic racism and white supremacy ideology play in contemporary justice issues and find paths toward change.
- The Third Reconstruction by William Barber II and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and the Environment, edited by Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Jennifer Nordstrom
Enter Partnerships for Action
Consider personal practices to start dismantling white supremacy today. See the Greenpeace five-point plan, "5 Things You Can Do to Confront White Supremacy Right Now."
Follow the lead of organizations and initiatives led by and primarily serving people of color to engage with justice issues. Give time to service projects and money to their funding priorities.
- Learn "What Black Lives Matter Organizers Are Doing To Fight White Supremacy At Every Level." Ask a local Black Lives Matter group how the Unitarian Universalist faith community can support local action. Find out about Black Lives Matter banners for UU congregations.
- Collaborate on interfaith, intercultural programming, including worship.
- Work with partners of color to study and combat racial disparities in housing, education, environmental health, and health care access in your local community.
National UU groups that provide gatherings, webinars, and other resources around dismantling white supremacy include:
- Allies for Racial Equity (ARE). ARE began in 2005 as the White Anti-Racist Allies Caucus of DRUUMM, a UU People of Color Organization. ARE seeks to build "an anti-racist movement among white Unitarian Universalists in ways that are accountable to communities of color."
- Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU). The BLUU Organizing Collective works to expand the power and capacity of Black UUs within Unitarian Universalism, provide support, information, and resources for Black Unitarian Universalists, and advance justice-making and liberation through a UU faith.
Get clear on the ways your faith compels your activism. "Do you have to be an activist to be a UU?" Read how six leaders in Unitarian Universalism answer this question.