Main Content

Knotty Conversations for Anti-racist/Multicultural Ministries: Cultural Appropriation


Type of event: Webinar


Sponsor: New England Region of the UUA

Registration for this 2020 event is now closed.
However, Knotty Conversations is now available any time on the UU Learning Institute!

About This Conversation

What if there is no set of rules to follow when thinking about cultural appropriation and a diversity of cultural expressions in our congregations? What approaches can be considered in various contexts? Where issues and struggles come up?

About This Online Series

These online conversations are intended for congregational leaders of any racial/ethnic identity who are navigating the challenges of dismantling white supremacy in and with their congregations. Each topic in the series is one that communities wrestle with both internally and across the divides of racism and other systemic oppressions. Each issue raises complex sets of questions and concerns. Our goal as hosts is to give participants an opportunity to consider these issues from different angles and perspectives, to try on some new ideas, to ask some hard questions of themselves and/or each other, and to share some of the concerns these issues raise for them as they work for transformation in their congregations.

NOTEWhile these “Knotty Conversations” are primarily designed to support white people to address white supremacy culture in Unitarian Universalism, we welcome and celebrate the attendance of people of color. We recognize that people of color have a unique position and perspective in navigating whiteness. As such, there will be opportunities for caucusing whereby POCs will have the opportunity to share your wisdom and lived experience.

The series will be hosted by:

  • Rev. Michael Crumpler, LGBTQ and Multicultural Programs Director for the UUA.

  • Rev. Erica Baron and Meck Groot, Congregational Consultants for New England Region UUA​

Format for the Online Conversations​

Participants will be given pre-work before each conversation to prime the pump on their own thinking about the issue for that month. Each conversation will include

  • framing of the issue within a UU congregational context by the hosts

  • reflections on pre-work for that session

  • small group conversation in breakout rooms — including caucus space for people of color as requested

  • opportunity for sharing questions and insights in the large group

Notes on Registration and Cost

  • There is no charge.

  • Registration is required for each session — you can register for one, a few or all.

  • These online sessions will not be recorded.

More About Each Conversation​

  • Cultural Appropriation: Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 7:00 to 8:30 PM
    What if there is no set of rules to follow when thinking about cultural appropriation and a diversity of cultural expressions in our congregations? What approaches can be considered in various contexts? Where issues and struggles come up?

  • Calling Out, Calling In, Staying Together: Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - 7:00 to 8:30 PM
    What strategies can be used for offering feedback when an individual or a group has behaved in racist, oppressive, or harmful ways? How does the experience of covenant inform these strategies? What new strategies might be cultivated? How can groups stay together as they work through moments of harm and avoid “canceling out” individuals?

  • Dealing with Shame, Fragility and Denial: Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 7:00 to 8:30 PM
    What are faithful responses to expressions of shame, fragility, or denial as congregations engage in anti-racism work? What would it look like to hold ourselves and each other lovingly through a learning process that remains accountable to the goal of inclusion and equity? What practices of invitation and support enable a redistribution of discomfort so it is more equitably held among those privileged and those marginalized by systemic racism?

  • Following the Leadership of People of Color: Thursday, April 30, 2020 - 7:00 to 8:30 PM
    It is often said that white people doing anti-racist work should follow the leadership of people of color. What lies behind this principle? What wrongs does this principle attempt to correct? What are some best practices congregations might consider to address power differences rooted in a history of injustice?

  • Allies, Accomplices, Partners: Tuesday, May 19, 2020 - 7:00 to 8:30 PM
    After beginning relationships of accountability with leaders of color, white people doing anti-racism work may take on a variety of roles: allies, accomplices, partners. How can relationships founded in accountability be maintained over time? What is needed in order for people to grow into and deepen their capacity in these roles?

Copy the Google (ICS) or Outlook (ICS) link address to subscribe to this event (or download the file to import it) in a program which supports the iCal format.