The Best Predictor of Future Behavior is Past Behavior…What Does UUism’s Past Tell Us?

Angry black woman speaking again…

Now that UUs are coming off of the “Selma” high…I think it would behoove us to remember that Selma is the exception in UU history when it comes race and not the rule.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. So let’s look at UUism’s past behavior, post-Selma.

Black Empowerment Controversy


Thomas Jefferson Ball

And in terms of ministry….why have men of color (primarily African American men) had such a hard time in the UU ministry? Why are there so few lead ministers of color in our congregations? Why is there only one minority-majority congregation in the UUA? (how many of you can name it?)

So when Peter Morales stands in Brown Chapel last Saturday and says, “We are your partners forever,” is that really true? Our history shows that our partnerships, when it comes to race, are infrequent and easily dropped. But what might be even more telling, our memory is selective; we remember Selma (oh how we remember Selma), but we all but ignore the tumultuous relationship between the AUA and Ethelred Brown. We remember Selma, but skip over the fact that for an organization headquartered in Boston there was almost universal UU silence during the Boston busing riots of the 1970s.

If we are going to be partners, what’s the plan? Talk is cheap and easy; just saying we’re partners doesn’t mean that we are.