I was trying to stay out of the ‘Selma’ conversation that’s going on on Facebook. And so far, I’m doing good. But…I’m seeing this recurring theme in a number of the comments. It says “why didn’t the movie say that James Reeb was an Unitarian minister instead of just a priest?”
This is another instance where I get it. I really do. Selma is the one–if not completely bright spot, the brightest spot–in U/U/UU history with regards to race. So I can understand the impulse to want recognition of the fact that James Reeb was an Unitarian minister.
Now the angry black woman has a question. Yes…James Reeb and Viola Liuzzo were in Selma and died because of it. And? Does the story always have to be about white people?
But let’s look at this on a larger scale….have you, my good UU friends, made so much of the Selma moment because our history–before and since–is just plain awful? Especially for a group that likes to think of itself as progressive.
Yes…some Uni-s and Uni-s (as Diana Eck has been known to call us)were in Selma…but what have Uni-Unis done lately?
Which side were most Uni-Unis on during the Boston Busing Riots?
Which side were most Uni-Unis on when northern school districts were being sued over segregation?
How many Uni-Unis fled neighborhoods when a few too many black families moved in? (yeah, y’all participated in white flight too. don’t front.)
How many Uni-Unis didn’t really see a problem in the fact that blacks and Latinos got rounded up in the War on Drugs, even though people of color and whites use drugs at roughly the same rate?
How many Uni-Unis saw how police routinely use force with people of color more readily than with whites and excused it as a figment of people of color’s imagination? Or said that we were paranoid?
So go ahead, self congratulate on Selma all you want, but as Janet Jackson sang, “What have you done for me lately?” [My asking that question does in no way diminish what I feel for the St. Louis area UUs and the area ministers who are out there doing the work.]
more later. maybe.