Monday, January 18, 2010

The Presence of Black Women in Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian Universalism

"Something fell off the shelf inside of me and it broke and it made a noise." Zora Neale Hurston in Our Eyes Were Watching God

It is impossible to tell the story of black UU women without telling the story of black women in America. Thus, a beginning examination of Black women in America reveals a history of oppression which has generated adaptive behaviors and resistance. Black women's survival has often depended on their ability to use all of the larger communities economic, social and cultural resources. However the construction of negative stereotypes derived from the dominant society and perpetrated through popular culture has impacted the characterization and perception of black women and impeded their progress. However, Black women's resistance and survival have pushed back against these negative stereotypes and perceptions. Monica Coleman, author of Making a Way Out of No Way: A Womanist Theology, points out that while black women are not the only group to experience violence toward their bodies, however, black women oppression has manifested in very particular ways. (M Coleman, 22). Coleman sites the fact that the legacy of abuse and violence perpetrated against black women utilized not only sexualized stereotypes and mythologies but denied their humanity and the presence of God. According to Cornel West, what kept black women (and black people in general) hopeful in the face of horrendous treatment was their engagement in protracted and principled struggle. In other words, "communities of hope" were fostered through protracted and principled struggle. (C West 1037). What we know is that black women have not been passive in the face of the onslaught against them. Rosetta Ross, author of _____________ identified the following womanist virtues that that sustain black women: grasping the positive side of life; survival concerns; quality of life concerns; self affirmation and social change. (Ross 12).

Stephanie Mitchem, a womanist black scholar and a UU contends that the process of transforming society involves both reconciliatory and transgressive acts - those that move one beyond one's assigned place or help one recognize the meaninglessness of that place. Both offer ways of seeing throught the social illusions. (S Mitchem 255). Healing from the acts and effects of racism requires a radical race critique that some black theologians according to Mitchem do not want to attempt. James Cone, black theologian, calls for an integration of both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. (S Mitchem 254) It is interesting that UUs laud Dr. King who in his later years more closely resembled Al Hajj Malik Shabazz AKA Malcolm X.

TO BE CONTINUED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

L-R Ludie Harris, a long time member at Peoples Church of Chicago and Rev. Q

L-R Ethel Johnson, a long time member of Peoples Church of Chicago and Rev. Q

L- R L- R Cheryl Martin, a long time member at UU Church of Augusta and Rev. Q

No comments: