Event Category: Religous/Spiritual
“Becoming an Anti-Racist”
Rev. Tom Rosiello
Sunday, Sept. 22, 10:30 a.m.
Hotel La Aldea
by Jon Sievert
The Rev. Tom Rosiello, Affiliate Minister of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende, explores the difficult issues of racism at this week’s UUFSMA service.
The word “racist” has become a highly charged pejorative insult instead of the important descriptive label it should be, and that steers our conversations away from the real issues. According to Rev. Rosiello, the first step to addressing racism is to honestly acknowledge its existence in our institutions, in others, and in us.
“In spite of generations of laws, proclamations of equality, and our political leaders’ universal declarations that they are non-racist, Americans live in a society permeated by racism. Some of it is as blatant as voter suppression laws, immigration policy, and massive inequality in our criminal justice system. Much other is less blatant but equally potent. We cringe when one of us is called ‘racist.’ Many of us proclaim we are non-racist, maybe even ‘the least racist person you ever met.’ The hard truth, as author Ibram Kendi observed, is that denial is the heartbeat of racism.”
Rev. Rosiello points out that to say you are non-racist is not enough. “The opposite of racist is not ‘not racist. We must be ‘anti-racist. ‘Not racist’ implies a neutral space where all is ok as long as our laws are equal. There is no space for neutral ground in the struggle for racial equality that does nothing to attack the existing racial hierarchy. Non-racist neutrality is a way of perpetuating racism. Anti-racism, on the other hand, requires a radical realignment of our thinking. We can’t think about non-racist policies that purport to make everyone equal but fail in the light of the reality of deeply rooted racism. We must adopt anti-racist policies that affirmatively work to remedy racial discrimination. As author Ibram Kendi poignantly states, ‘the only remedy to racist discrimination is with anti-racist discrimination.’”
In the words of President Lyndon Johnson: “You do not take a person, who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of the race and then say, ‘You are free to compete with all others’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.”
The service is supported by music led by pianist Paula Peace that celebrates traditional American spirituals of the heart and spirit and hymns central to the struggle for racial equality.
For more information about the UUFSMA, including our Sunday morning Children’s Religious Education program, Social Action outreach, weekly discussion groups, social activities, and Care Team, join us any Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at the Hotel La Aldea or check out our website at uufsma.org.
Our fellowship was born in 1987 when a small group of expatriate religious liberals came together to meet as Unitarian Universalists in San Miguel de Allende. The fellowship has been active and thriving ever since. Every UU church has it’s own flavor, and we are no exception. We are a combination of expats and visitors, each actively engaged and contributing to this wonderful Mexican community we love. Because there is a coming, going, and returning aspect, our spiritual community is extremely fluid. There is a magic in San Miguel which draws us in and binds us together—both as members of the church and of the larger community. Our programming is led by visiting ministers, community leaders, and church members, so the variety is lively. We have opportunities to meet as UU’s each week at discussion groups, breakfasts, luncheons, and in various other ways. Depending on the season, attendance fluctuates between 40 and 140. Our primary focus is on funding social action within the surrounding community. We love good music, good discussion, good food, and having visitors. We invite you to join us any Sunday morning.
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