The Care and Feeding of Black Children’s Souls, pt. 2

In his keynote address during Ministry Days Rob Hardies said (I’m paraphrasing) “I want Unitarian Universalism to be as open to my son as it was to me.” [if the UUMA is smart, they would put that keynote up on YouTube]

I didn’t get the chance to talk to Rob afterwards, and what I would have told him would have been very much Debbie Downer-ish.

I think it’s time for Unitarian Universalism (and Unitarian Universalists) to face a uncomfortable truth. That, unlike with LGBTQ issues, UUism and UUs have no sense of urgency about race issues because, for the most part, black (and brown) children are not a part of most UU families. Most UUs don’t live in non-majority white communities and the number of truly integrated UU congregations can be counted on–maybe–both hands. [and please, no comments that I’m being hard on UUs. I did not say that UUs think that racial justice is not important, I said there was no sense of urgency about it; mainly because in the lives of most UUs racial justice is an esoteric exercise.]

I’ve been ruminating over President Obama’s eulogy of Rev. Clementa Pinckney since I heard it. Mostly I’ve been thinking about the part where he talks about the black church and what it does for black children. And it connects to something another UU minister said about his black son while at GA. He said that he wouldn’t want his son to come back to a UU church because it’s not safe for him (not exact words, but you get the point).

Can UU churches be safe places for black (and brown) children when most UU churches are disconnected from the places where most black people live/work/go to school/play? Is there a way to make UU churches more safe for black (and brown) children in the way that UU churches are more safe for LGBTQ children?

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4 thoughts on “The Care and Feeding of Black Children’s Souls, pt. 2

  1. Hi
    I do not understand :

    “He said that he wouldn’t want his son to come back to a UU church because it’s not safe for him”

    thanks and best wishes

  2. I was going to New Jersey UU churches for decades before dropping out, they seemed pretty safe to me. I do have white privilege, which I only came to really appreciate a month ago, as a result of talking to a home health aide from Ghana. Now I know that I do not know.

  3. OK, example for any white people reading this- growing up with autism/ADHD in the Methodist church, my outbursts (or complaints of bullying) were not exactly welcome. Imagine how they would be perceived were I black child. Even more so a black male child. There is plenty of research in schools that the same behavior is perceived differently (worse) in the same age group, white vs. black children (also Latin@ & American Indian) With or without disabilities. Pretty darn sure I’d have *some* kind of record, or some more…not fun experiences with cops were I a different color. A church of any sort is not a magical exception to that. I think that’s part of it. Now I’ve been Pagan a lot longer than UU, but churches are churches, and overwhelmingly white “liberal” subcultures are what they are.

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