Normalizing Behavior

Normalizing Behavior

Fi and I took part in the Worship Committee Retreat for our congregation yesterday.

We covered a lot of ground in the 3 hours we worked together with the worship team, and not just about worship services.

A really good, really intense section was a discussion that evolved from supporting Black Lives Matter, to realizing we as a congregation need to be normalizing and openly discussing our justice work.

Fi was the one who was able to finally verbalize what we were getting at as people tried to explain their vision and their work and their commitments. I was so thankful she was able to bring some clarity to the discussion, as well as her open heartedness in having the discussion.

Unitarian Universalists, in general, are not very good at proselytizing. So many folks have been damaged in a variety of ways by their religious backgrounds. Even walking through the doors at a church feels like a huge step for them, so the idea of “pressuring” someone to come to church makes them recoil.

In addition, I think a lot of us somehow view sharing things like, “I went to this rally.” “I made these phone calls to my senators.” “I’m on this committee about the school-to-prison pipeline.” as bragging.

But we need to be sharing this information as part of our typical behavior. Especially those of us who identify as white need to speak up about what we are doing to fix the systemic, institutionalized racism that we benefit from and that white people have got to fix.

I hadn’t shared about our family going to a Family Black Lives Matter rally in downtown Nashville, for example, because it felt like I was “showing off.” (We were masked, and kept physically distant from folks.)

Heck, attending a rally is about the bare minimum. But, this rally was especially imperative to me because it was organized by a Black mom and a her best white mom friend, and when I texted to ask them how I could donate to them to help support the work they had done, they just said:

Because, you know, that’s what Moms do. They show up, they make do, they get it done.

And if you don’t know that George Floyd cried out for his mother, which summoned all of us, read this.

So, I’m working to change my mindset. Even though some of my Black friends read this blog, I trust they know I’m posting about the justice work my family does not to show off as an ally (Although I hope they DO benefit from the work we all need to be doing together.), but for the sake of my white friends and family who I hope are doing the work, too.

Resources for today:

Independent Black Owned Bookstores

I’m largely leaving Facebook behind for anything not related to homeschooling and homesteading, and following Black folks on Twitter:

If you are a video person, a good place to learn is:

Watch to see what he says about how he feels toward white people.

I just finished reading Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime, and I’m wading my way through William Still’s The Underground Railroad Records.

And I’m acknowledging that being anti-racist is hard damn work, and I still have plenty of blindspots.

But I’m certainly glad to be where I am now compared to back in my days of, “I don’t see color.”

And if you don’t understand why “I don’t see color.” is wrong, read this. And another perspective here.

To make calling your elected representatives easy (although I haven’t used it yet), there’s an app for that.

You get it on your smart phone to make it as easy as possible.

Finally, if you’d like to get a weekly email to help keep moving forward, this one looks good. The antiracism club.

Learning, listening, being led by Black leaders. That’s my goal.