I’ve been trying to find the right words to describe this moment and I’m not sure these are right. But I shall try anyway.
A few months ago I wrote about how, often, Black women are placed in the role of Mammie; taking care of and protecting white people (white women in particular). Or “saving” them. This is certainly playing out in discussions of the Alabama Senate vote.
Quick recap of the facts…98% of Black women and 93% of Black men voted for Doug Jones. 63% of white women and 72% of white men voted for Roy Moore. If this had been any other special election, Roy Moore would be Senator-elect. This time was different. Because Black turnout increased while white turnout was slightly depressed. And Doug Jones won.
A common refrain as the news came out about the vote and who voted was that Black people “saved” [blank]. That blank could be democracy/Alabama/America/etc. This concerns me. And the reason it concerns me is that this centers white people. That’s not what the Alabama vote was about.
Black people did save with their vote. The people they saved were THEMSELVES. The fact that white people got saved in the process is secondary.
Roy Moore was patently unfit for office BEFORE news of his sexual predilections for teenaged girls became national news. Still….Moore almost won because white supremacy is……….
Black people in Alabama turned out in larger than expected numbers because they knew they would be the hardest hit if that man won. The man said that America was “great” when we had slavery, after all.
One last time…Doug Jones won because Black people voted to save themselves.
Now…..what does this have to do with Unitarian Universalism?
All the work that BLUU is doing is about Black people saving their own souls. If, in the process, Unitarian Universalism grows into the religious movement it claims it wants to be, then that’s a bonus.
Along with that…while y’all are in a thankful mood, listen to Black women. Pay Black women. Let Black women lead.
Yes…this is a little self-serving. But it’s really not. I’ve seen Black women in this movement who have been trying to get Unitarian Universalists to understand the stakes of not confronting white supremacy for years. I’ve seen how they have been treated. It has not been pretty. Maybe now, after the turmoil of the spring, that will change.
I have more thoughts, but they’re not fully formed yet. So more later.