Torch Article: On Being White

22 May 2017

On Being White ...

-Submitted by Joan M. Gregory, Member, Anti-Racism Committee (ARC)

So many of us in our congregation are white.  We’ve been white for our entire lives.  Obvious?  Maybe ... maybe not.  Being white is something we cannot escape, being white is something we cannot change.  In America, being white comes with privilege.   Privilege that we take for granted, privilege we take advantage of every living moment of our lives.  Privilege we are taught NEVER to see.  But privilege is something we can and must change, privilege is something we can learn to see, and then learn how to speak up and show up and stand up when white privilege and white supremacy take action to trample and endanger people of color.

Some of us have dark skin and we’ve had dark skin for our entire lives.  Being dark skinned, being black, being people of color, is something we cannot escape, something we cannot change.   In America, being dark skinned, being black, being people of color, is dangerous every living moment of our lives.   From the day we are born our community teaches us that we must be vigilant every second.  We must practice this vigilance daily, we must teach it to our children.  It is the air we breathe.

And when we speak up for our rights or the rights of our children or friends or colleagues, we, people of color, are taking huge risks.  We are not bringing race into unrelated contexts or playing the race card.  We are living and breathing the impacts of racial injustice ... all ... the ... time.  There isn’t a moment of rest.  It is the context we live in.

What does racial injustice look like in SLC?   Rebecca Hall, JD, PhD, an African American woman, was fired on April 6, 2017 via a text message from her position as Center Coordinator of South Salt Lake’s Promise after school program located at Cottonwood High School.  Read -  - about the impact of her firing not only on her, but on the immigrant families whom she was serving.  How would you respond?  Would you ask: What may I do to help?

What does white privilege look like?   How will we respond?   Want to understand more?  Want to get involved?  Join the Anti-Racism Committee of First Unitarian Church at our June meeting on Monday, June 19th, 6:30-8:30PM, in Room 207, RE Building.   To be added to our email list, send an email to: .  We are considering doing another round of reading Debby Irving’s Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race.   Would you like to participate in the reading and discussion?  Send an email to: to let us know.

We are also working with others in the Salt Lake community, in particular, SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice).   SURJ meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7PM at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 261 S 900 E.  Check out their Facebook page closer to the meeting date to verify date and time:

Learn more at the SURJ meeting, the ARC meeting, or stop by the Environmental Ministry table on Sunday.  Why the Environmental Ministry table – because all things are connected - Dr. Hall is also an active member of the environmental and climate justice community.