White Privilege, White Supremacy, and Us

We convened a monthly conversational conversation on this topic following our Martin Luther King Jr worship service on Jan 19, 2020 in our sanctuary. Rev. Barnaby provided a brief history of UU and UUA anti-racism work and then led a reflection on what we feel we have accomplished and what we need to do going forward as a diverse congregation. He updated us on the hidden racism involved in the disposition of the $3.5 million Northern New England District endowment when the District merges with the UUA’s New England Region. We discussed a proposed inventory for how we are doing as individuals and as a congregation in our work to dismantle racism.  We can track related activity here and visit this link mentioned in our conversation: https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/white-supremacy-culture-characteristics.html

Anti-Racism Accountability Scorecard/Worksheet/Inventory (choose your term) by Rev. Barnaby Feder

(This second version focuses solely on the personal accountability portion of the original document, excluding the draft congregational metrics. It incorporates  feedback and suggestions from those who attended the Congregation Conversation on this subject following the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. worship service on on Jan. 19, 2020)

What did you do to further educate* yourself on racism issues in 2019?

a) List websites and social media followed run by or for POC (people of color)**

b) List other anti-racist websites followed.

c) Did you post on these sites and how often?

d) List books read for anti-racist content.

e) List public lectures or other events attended to deepen your understanding.

f) List workshops, classes, or training sessions attended to deepen your understanding of any aspect of racism and//or skills for anti-racist work.

g) List Stand Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) films attended – note if you did subsequent research about their historic accuracy.

h) List times when you took advantage of an invitation by anyone marginalized by racism to ask them about their experiences.

I) List specific ways you have benefited from white supremacy in 2019 – note continuing benefits from the past.

(* The word educate was a loaded one for at least one teacher in our group; someone suggested “raise your awareness” as a possible substitute, but no consensus emerged. ** Joanna C. said that BIPOC – for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color – is an improvement on the more familiar collective term “people of color” because it distinguishes the substantially unique history of Black people and Native Americans from other victims of racism. I will use “BIPOC” going forward for myself but I would appreciate more feedback on whether its greater granularity is helpful for others in publicizing this accountability document.)

What have you done to inform others about anti-racism issues?

a) List relevant social media and websites you have created or administered.

b) List informative materials provided to others in writing or verbally.

c) List education-oriented meetings organized or co-led.

What have you done to protest racism you’ve encountered in word or deed?

a) Face to face conversations with friends, family, co-workers and others who know you.

b) Clear, private opposition to racism expressed in your presence or through any media.

c) clear public online opposition to racism expressed in your presence or through any media.

d) clear public opposition in person to racist acts or actions by people you know or strangers.

e) Acts to comfort victims of racism.

f) Acts to protect victims of racism.

g) Acts to financially support victims of racism outside of direct payments, waived compensation, or credit provided to individual BIPOC’s (there was discussion in the Conversation about “donations” being a loaded word denoting privilege compared to “contributions” and the diverse understanding of the term “reparations” ).

h) Person-to-person financial support of individual BIPOC’s.

What have you done to dismantle systemic racism in organizations to which you belong or work for?

Questions for further discussion include how we at CVUUS will continue to update this form, how we will distribute and use it internally, and steps we will take to share it outside CVUUS — especially with other UU congregations. It is my hope that every congregant will develop a personal version to compensate for any ways this form fails to help you progress in your commitment to dismantle racism.

I also hope that CVUUS members and friends who identify as BIPOC will want to convene separately, at least once, to discuss this accountability project. I believe it is potentially important for them to have a time to share among themselves how our overwhelmingly white congregation’s personal and congregational accountability effort can best serve their interests, and BIPOC people in the wider community. I also hope that they will be comfortable sharing any conclusions they reach with the congregation.

Blessed be, Rev. Barnaby