If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.
—Zora Neale Hurston
Here’s the brutal truth…
After institutional UUism’s ignoring of us here in St. Louis during and after things popped off in Ferguson, as far as I’m concerned, I don’t think it would be too much of a loss if UUism disappeared. But that’s my anger talking. And my privilege.
What do I mean when I say “my privilege”?
Simple. When I leave Unitarian Universalism, I will have a safe place to fall. In fact, I will have more than one safe place to fall because I am a Christian and there are many black churches in the denominations in which I have the closest contacts. Plus, there is a black denomination that I have always felt would be a good, maybe even great, fit.
The reason I write and talk about these issues in Unitarian Universalism (and have been doing so for YEARS) is not about me at all. I write and talk about these issues for those UUs of color who have been, and are, silent about the pain they are in because of the things that happen to them when they cross the church-house doors. I write and talk for those who, if they left Unitarian Universalism, wouldn’t have a safe place to fall.
In “The Souls of Black Folk” Du Bois wrote, “Within the Veil was he born, said I; and there within shall he live, — a Negro and a Negro’s son. Holding in that little head — ah, bitterly! — the unbowed pride of a hunted race, clinging with that tiny dimpled hand — ah, wearily! — to a hope not hopeless but unhopeful, and seeing with those bright wondering eyes that peer into my soul a land whose freedom is to us a mockery and whose liberty is a lie.”
The hope I have for Unitarian Universalism is Du Bois’ hope that he has when looking at his son; not hopeless, but unhopeful. And so these days I am putting on the whole armour of God and withstanding for those who are silent in their pain.