Dismantling White Supremacy Culture Resource of the Month - April 2023

By Phillip Lund


For this month’s resource for dismantling white supremacy culture, I’d like to share with you an assignment the UUA’s Congregational Life staff have been given for our April meeting. We’ve been asked to:

  1. Share a resource on antiracism, anti-oppression and/or multicultural work that you find helpful in your work and/or personally. (If one doesn’t come to mind, do a little sleuthing!)
  2. Engage with someone else’s resource by taking a look and making some remarks about what you see that could be useful learning and/or questions that arise for you.

I like this assignment because it’s a great way to build a collection of resources to explore, and it gives participants the opportunity to see what their colleagues find useful professionally and/or personally.


Erna Kim Hackett

For my part, I shared a blog post from Erna Kim Hackett, a preacher, trainer, public theologian and founder of Liberated Together, a community for Women of Color exploring liberated and embodied theology, decolonized approaches to social justice, and radical solidarities across ethnic lines.

The title of the post is “Why I Stopped Talking About Racial Reconciliation and Started Talking About White Supremacy,” and I think it gets to the heart of why certain factions in our association are threatened by the UUA’s commitment to dismantle white supremacy culture. In her post, Hackett says that proponents of the “racial reconciliation” model are “ill-equipped to engage, learn from, and respond to a movement focused on systemic and institutionalized racial injustice.” To demonstrate why this is so, she “discusses three reasons that [she’s] observed: individualistic theology, a sanitized version of history, and good old white centering.”

Bad Theology

The term racial reconciliation serves the dominant culture; it serves white people and those who align with whiteness. The term reconciliation is relational in nature. And though relationships are important, the focus on relationships is anchored in white theology’s pathological individualism.

Bad History

Racial reconciliation assumes an innocent reading of history. An innocent telling of history is foundational to maintaining unjust and racist systems.

White Comfort & White Privilege

Racial reconciliation centers language with which white people and their allies are comfortable. Racial reconciliation moves at the pace that whiteness dictates. It focuses on making sure white people don’t feel guilty, but not on the systemic disenfranchisement of POC.

The term white privilege can be helpful, but it is still located in pathological individualism. It assumes that issues are resolved by how an individual white person handles their privilege. Hence, it cannot be considered a term that is sufficient to address or resolve organizational or systemic white supremacy.

My favorite part of the essay by far is Hackett’s explanation of “Disney Princess theology”—which is when an “individual reads Scripture, they see themselves as the princess in every story.” While Unitarian Universalists do not have one Scripture that guides our faith, we have a similar tendency in our approach to the sources of our living tradition.

Hackett’s essay is a must-read for anyone wanting to understand the difference between the individuals and groups in our association who see themselves as fighting racism by fostering multiracial unity and those of us who believe that we unequivocally must dismantle white supremacy to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community.

Visit the Inheritance blog page to learn more.

About the Author

Phillip Lund

Phillip Lund has almost twenty years experience serving congregations in the areas of faith formation and spiritual growth, first as a religious educator in Bloomington, Indiana, New York City, and Chicago, Illinois, and most recently as a congregational life consultant working for the MidAmerica...

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