09 July 2005

Dangers Inherent in Discounting Racism in Unitarian Universalist Communities

In case you're curious why I think any liberal religious and Unitarian Universalist tendency to discount racism as a current-day problem that exists in our UU communities, here's a brief snippet from the UUA's Lifespan Faith Development resource archives that addresses how discounting of racism can cause racism to thrive:
"Racism is a particularly sensitive topic for religious liberals because we pride ourselves on our perceived lack of racism. However, we often fail to differentiate between traditional or overt racism and neo-racism. Traditional racism is direct, institutionalized racial discrimination/oppression, using strategies of direct even legal exclusion and/or hierarchical domination. Slave laws and Jim Crow are examples.

Neo-racism is indirect, institutionalized racial discrimination such as calls to eliminate affirmative action, redlining of neighborhoods, denial of small business loans to persons of color, immigration policies that exclude Africans and other persons of color, and the social and economic abandonment of inner city schools. Because neo-racism thrives on the denial of the existence of racism, it is a particularly perplexing problem for religious liberals who deny their own role in a racist society and therefore so easily succumb to neo racism's insulating effects."
This may seem like a harsh message, but it's one that I think we need to seriously consider in how we react to incidents like the recent one at General Assembly.

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