The Canons We Have (yes…more Unitarian Universalism)

(I think this is the start of a series on worship, but I don’t know)

I’m on a Du Bois kick right now.

I cannot tell you how STUNNED I was when I finally noticed how many educated white people had never HEARD of Du Bois, much less read him.

What does my being stunned have to do with Unitarian Universalism?

A couple of questions before my answer…..

-When I say “Zora”, who am I talking about?

-Have you read anything by Toni Morrison?

Every time I preach, one of my readings is from a writer of color. (another is from the Bible) And every time, without fail, somebody asks me who the writer of color is (unless it’s Baldwin, Alice Walker, Bro. Langston, or Howard Thurman) This never happened when one of my readings was from a white writer.

As a person of color, I have at least two canons in my life; the one white people consider makes a person well educated, and the other one which is black. There is little–if any–crossover between those canons. So white people can go their entire lives and not encounter Du Bois (or Zora, or Toni Morrison, or Ralph Ellison, etc.) and still be considered well educated. Let a person of color not encounter Emerson.

Unitarian Universalism has one canon. It is heavy on the Emerson side. Howard Thurman is the token.

Is Unitarian Universalism capable of expanding the canon or even creating a new one?


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