exploring our beliefs, living our values, changing our world

I had a nice conversation today with another UUCJ member about Patricia Ice’s talk on Black Pioneers in a White Denomination last Sunday.  The other member didn’t go with the Lunch Bunch last week, but knew that I did.  She asked “Well, did her talk stimulate any discussion at lunch?” and I had to admit that it didn’t.  At the time, I was too focused on my Aladdin‘s gyro and Lebna to notice, but in retrospect I don’t remember anyone–including me–saying  a word about it.  Why?

The stories of Ethelred Brown and Lewis A. McGee are thrilling and inspiring to me. I’d made a special point of coming that day to hear Patricia’s talk, but at lunch I didn’t even think to bring it up.  Why?

I’m in the hood, I’m in the block
N1gg3rs you can suck my cock!

Maybe I felt that showing up at service and just hearing someone else talking about  something I care about was enough to pacify my mind into a kind of smug complacency. Maybe as one of the handful of Black members at the church, I didn’t want to bring it up for fear of having to assume the burden of being some kind of racial hall monitor for our congregation.  Even so, I should have said something. I should have thought to say something.  Brown and McGee cared enough about the Unitarian church and its principles to risk everything to come start a congregation in a foreign country and to violate federal law, respectively.  Couldn’t I have stopped chewing for long enough to get a conversation started?

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Comments on: "Where are all the Black People?" (4)

  1. nataliemaynor said:

    I hadn’t thought about it before, but we rarely seem to discuss the day’s service at lunch. I’m not sure why. Re this particular topic, maybe we should have a forum sometime on the demographics of the UU Church in general and of UUCJ in particular. The topic strikes me as both interesting and important.

  2. davidhoskins said:

    I would like us to attract more black members (and more members in general) to the church, but I don’t really have any solutions on how to do it. It just bothered me that something I was so psyched about at 11:00 was completely forgotten by 12:30 or whenever.

  3. nataliemaynor said:

    Both of these topics are interesting: the question of why more African Americans are not UUs and the question of why we didn’t discuss it at lunch that day. Re the former, do you think it may be related to the often-noted church segregation, particularly in the South — i.e., to the fact that churches are about the most segregated entities in today’s South and maybe in other parts of the country also? Tom Kersen probably has some insights on this.

    Meanwhile, I need to poke around and figure out how to make my computer enlarge the font on this blog. The tiny print size and the white on black are blinding me!

  4. I have requested that we count totals on Sundays. Believe it or not, we often reach 25-33% people of color. And for Mississippi, this is great! We are more diverse than others. And, I would venture to guess that we are probably more diverse than Alabama churches. UUism has had a challenge in attracting people of color. It has always been a systemic problem.

    Here are UUCJ, I believe we are more diverse now than we have been in the past. I don’t know what the answer is to attract more people of color in a city that is 60% people of color (guestimate). We have tried to have people of color in worship. We have succeeded this year–our program person is very good in this area. This coming year, our Board will have two people of color on it (2 of 9 + 22%) That is not bad–that represents a good percentage of diversity that we now have. I believe that people-of-color-visibility in leadership and in worship will make a difference and that is where I believe we are headed.

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