A Note From Erin

Common Read and Conversation Groups Why is it so hard for me to talk about race? Why is it that often times my first internal reaction is defensiveness when challenged to look at my own skin privilege? These are just some of the questions that exist my head and heart — often times daily. The complex answers to these and other similar questions is because white people rarely have to talk about race when the conversation is centered around our own whiteness.

I’m hoping that we all will have a chance to center the conversation a bit differently than perhaps is comfortable for white people here at FUUSN with a common read: White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo. That we have a shared experience, shared language and a basis for a deep meaningful conversation is the vision behind our 2019 Common Read and Conversation Groups.

Published last June by Beacon Press (our UU publishing house) White Fragility has been on the New York Times best sellers list for 21 weeks and is one of the most read books in UU congregations this year. This is one of the descriptions of the book on the back cover: “In this groundbreaking and timely book, antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility. Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. DiAngelo explores how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.”

As one reviewer wrote, DiAngelo, “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people.’ In doing so, she offers us the opportunity to engage more comfortably and authentically with each other in discussions about race and racism.”

To engage more comfortably, more honestly, more authentically with each other in an environment that is not blaming or shaming is the goal of our Common Read and Conversation Groups. To that end here is the plan: books will be available for order Sunday 12/16 and 12/23 (information below); I will preach on this topic on Sunday, January 13 and will hold a conversation about the sermon after the service; there will be two facilitated conversation groups (sign-up for either with Fran):

Thursdays 7:00-9:00 pm: 1/17, 1/31, & 2/7

Sundays 11:30-1:30: 1/27, 2/10 & 2/24

There is no better place to talk, share, learn, stumble and grow than here together. There is no better place to have the difficult, candid and open-hearted conversations necessary than here with and for each other. I hope you will join in this important and tender journey.

Book ordering: We can order these directly from Beacon Press, a department of the UUA. Since Beacon is currently offering all their publications (until 12/31) at a 30% discount, White Fragility Is available from them for $11.20. To save you the postage, we will take orders and order in bulk, FUUSN will cover the postage cost. Orders may be placed at The Multicultural Ministry Initiative table during coffee hour on December 16 and 23. While a check payable to FUUSN is preferred, we can also accept cash.