White Privilege Discussions Continue

DiDi Delgado of Black Lives Matter visited Middlebury this fall to offer an anti-racism workshop and speak at CVUUS worship on Sept 29.

How to Be an Anti-Racist: Would you like to better understand racism, privilege, and anti-racism?  Consider joining  a group dedicated to reading and reflecting on Ibram Kendi’s recent book, “How to be an anti-racist.” The tentative plan is to meet monthly for up to 8 sessions, starting in October. One goal would be to look at how our responses relate to the seven UU Principles the congregation is studying this year.  Please contact convener Richard Hopkins (hopkinsrs@comcast.net or in person) if you think you would like to take part.

Delegates at the 2018 General Assembly in Kansas City, MO, selected “Undoing Intersectional White Supremacy” to be the 2018-2022 Congregational Study/Action Issue (CSAI) of the Unitarian Universalist  Association (UUA) of Congregations. The Congregational Study/Action Issue is an invitation for congregations to take a topic of concern and engage, reflect, learn, respond, comment, and take action—each in their own way, which CVUUS did for its March Congregational Conversation following worship. The Issue:   Racism is fundamental to U.S. social systems. White supremacy within our culture operates economically, institutionally, politically, and culturally, to shape or limit people’s chances “to be seen” as inherently worthy or to be treated with dignity. White supremacy operates intersectionally when it is interwoven with other forms of oppression.  It intersects with issues of class and income, gender, age, ethnicity, immigration status, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and more.

From the UUA: Topics for Congregational Study

  • How are people socialized into various overlapping supremacy systems, creating a white dominated hetero patriarchy that serves the interests of US corporatism?
  • How do different racial and economic strategies get applied to different racial groups, often disguised in coded language that pretends to be colorblind while having racialized impacts?

How can we, as UUs, build transformative relationships of trust and accountability across race lines?

Through reflection and action, we will engage in courageous conversations that will help us to understand the complexity of racism and expose our other “isms.”

Several Middlebury area faith communities are examining white privilege. Congregational Church of Middlebury welcomed all to two Sunday Community Conversations with Debby Irving, author of Waking Up White (http://www.debbyirving.com/): I’m a Good Person. Isn’t that Enough? Dec 2, 1-3 pm and Leveling the Playing Field: Interrupting Patterns of Privilege (or how to explain white privilege to skeptics), Jan 27, 3-5: Community Conv. D. Irving 127

CVUUS reflected on White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo on Fri Nov 16 in our Sanctuary. This book explores how – and why—  progressive white folk inadvertently contribute to the persistent power of racism to oppress people of color and delude well-meaning whites about what is going on in inter-racial relationships. All copies are currently checked out so you may wish to order it from Vermont Book Shop or Beacon Press You can also watch an excellent and engaging video highlighting its message that features the author Robin DiAngelo at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=45ey4jgoxeU.

CVUUS Black Lives Matter Recommended Readings and Links

1) Read The Sugarcoated Language of White Fragility (http://huffpost.com/us/entry/10909350) and Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, the UUA Common Read in 2015-2016. From the New York Times Book Review: “Just Mercy will make you upset and it will make you hopeful.”

2) Watch 13th documentary (online) about racism in the criminal justice system since the passage of the 13th Amendment to Constitution outlawing slavery at the end of the Civil War.

3) See I Am Not Your Negro (written by James Baldwin). BLM Ally Group and SURJ arranged sold out showings at Middlebury’s Marquis Theater.

4) Read The New Jim Crow. A stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights won in Civil Rights Movement.

5) Read The Third Reconstruction (on the recommended reading list for 2017 UUA General Assembly).

6) Read about bias in sentencing  http://projects.heraldtribune.com/bias/sentencing

7) Listen to Tabitha Pohl-Moore’s Social Justice Is Spiritual Justice sermon from our Oct 7 worship at cvuus.org/worship/past worship services.

8) See The Hate U Give. Based on New York Times bestseller by Angie Thomas, the film switches between two worlds  (the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where she lives and the rich, mostly white, prep school she attends). The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when the main character, Starr, witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. SURL arranged a showing of it in Dec.

9) See If Beale Street Could Talk. SURJ showed it in Feb.

10) See Blindspotting, March 13, 4 & 7 pm, Marquis Theater. Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)  invites you to  a timely and wildly entertaining story about friendship and the intersection of race and class set against the backdrop of Oakland. Collin must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning. He and his troublemaking childhood best friend, Miles, work as movers, and when Collin witnesses a police shooting, the two men’s friendship is tested as they grapple with identity and changed realities in their rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood. $10 free will donation.