Reflection of Beloved Conversations

Beloved Conversations is a program similar to Creative Conversations About Race and geared toward faith groups. This program creates a space for shared ideas and feelings about Race. There is room for some unpacking and time to explore our history through the lens of Race. This course opened my eyes to how “normal” behavior actually favors racism. I learned I have a lot to unlearn. The most significant topic for me was micro-aggressions. I had to practice some radical acceptance that I – the peace-loving tree-hugger—had diminished and dismissed the humanity of people of color.

The behavior we learn as white people while we’re very young subtly teaches us that white is right, and so any time we encounter behaviors that are different than what we’ve come to experience as normal we automatically react with oppressive behavior. Any time we are made aware of how we impact others in a hurtful way, we defend ourselves by claiming good intentions. As we’ve seen recently with Judge Kavanaugh, it’s never ME who is violent or hurtful, it’s [insert blame item here]. I didn’t intend to hurt you, I was only…

These excuses translate into the idea that our intentions are more important than how our actions are received. ‘It’s the thought that counts.’ Diminishing the impact of our action diminishes the humanness of the persons impacted. It’s no wonder people of color can’t trust us.

Beloved Conversations give us the opportunity to honestly explore the question; “what is White?” We can discuss racism in a circle of trust. We have the opportunity to learn the great privilege of being white, and how we can use that privilege to speak out against systemic racism and oppression.

“May your resistance to the status-quo be fierce” – Lisa Bovee-Kemper

Over the past few years our Unitarian Universalist congregations have explored questions about race and white privilege, now is the time to apply our learning. Resist the status quo. That is the action we UUs need to embrace. I know it’s difficult, especially if we’ve been raised up to avoid conflict, follow the rules, don’t rock the boat, and don’t bite the hand that feeds you…

Right now, our society is in a civil rights crisis. We still have that moment of fear remembering the movement of the 1960s. We cannot allow fear of violence from the State or the desire to avoid conflict guide our actions. It is our calling as UUs to rise up and reach out with Love. We must put aside the simple ‘white moderate’ and embrace liberal progressive principles. Of course we want to find middle ground where there is peace and love at the center, but what evil do we allow due to circumstance, seeking our own comfort, and unwillingness to risk rocking the boat and getting our feet wet? As the man once said, wade in the water children.

Find a Beloved Conversations group near you. Join the Poor People’s Campaign. Get involved with the people living on the ‘wrong side of town.’ Break the norms that have led us to this place of a fake free state!

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