by Emily Dietrich

Confronting Racism in My Siblings in Spirit

Here is a comment from a white female FB friend I met through book publishing:

“My God people, if you sit in a restaurant for 25 minutes and absolutely refuse to order anything you are loitering and they have the right to ask you to leave. Order a fricking cup of coffee or a bottle of water. Otherwise wait for your very tardy friend outside. They were within their rights to ask them to leave. It wasn’t about them being black, it was about store loitering policies [sic]. This stupid race shit has guy [sic] to stop.”

(I responded in an attempt to interrupt her racism that I don’t share here because I don’t want feedback on whether or not I responded correctly.)

I need to acknowledge that I have no expectation that she, a distant FB friend, shares my morals. Therefore, finding out that she was racist did not disturb and surprise me as much as it does when my Unitarian Universalist siblings in spirit reveal theirs in equally oblivious ways. When UUs do so, I am much more agitated. I believe that this is an appropriate response on my part.

I believe it is appropriate when discovering that people you love, admire, support, serve, listen to, feed, clean up after, plan events for, whose kids you’ve taught, whose worships you’ve planned and carried out, say racist things, to speak in a way that reveals the way you really feel, the deep and intense feeling of shock and disappointment you feel. When the SOULS of my white siblings are at stake and the BODIES of my siblings of color are at stake, I will not watch my tone.

I believe speaking in my own voice is a manifestation of being human, being loving, and being true to myself in an integrated and authentic manner. I honor myself when I do so, and I equally honor my UU siblings when I do so. I hold them to the same standards I hold myself. This is adult to adult interaction, one of the most sacred interchanges we have.

And when it comes to white people and racism, those standards have never EVER, in the history of the United States of America, been high enough.

Author: Emily

Emily Dietrich is a poet, novelist, and mystery writer.