Laura Park, Beloved Community Staff Team and Director of Membership and Hospitality
In the fifth SoulWork video, Team Dynamics co-founder and President Alfonso Wenker and Minister of Faith Formation KP Hong further explore the necessity of having an among antiracist multiculturalism practice. Alfonso begins where KP left off in the fourth SoulWork video, responding to the paradox of among and to the temptation to move to structurelessness to accommodate individualism. As we focus on and critique structure and process, however, we distract ourselves from the conversation we need to have about whiteness, racism, and the ways in which we’re reinforcing or dismantling white dominant culture.
The ability to recognize White Supremacy Culture Characteristics, as outlined by Tema Okun, is a helpful skill to support the conversations we need to have about whiteness and racism. Once we understand how perfectionism, defensiveness and the other characteristics reinforce white supremacy, then we can employ their antidotes so that these qualities develop a more right-sized place in congregation life and elsewhere. The antidotes particularly help us avoid weaponizing the characteristics of white supremacy culture and our naming of them against each other.
As Tema writes, “I have come to understand that some people, when introduced to the ‘White Supremacy Culture’ article and its list of characteristics, respond with anger, thinking that my goal in listing the characteristics is to shame or blame. Sometimes people are angry about being connected to any of the characteristics, feeling that to admit we have perfectionist tendencies or a belief that our way is the right way makes us bad..." Instead of feeling bad, the antidotes invite us into work that can better build the Beloved Community.
Practices among us support the work of recognizing the characteristics of White Supremacy Culture and employing antidotes to right-size those characteristics. In the next SoulWork video, KP and Alfonso explore the impact of these among practices further, in a faith context.
SoulWork for you:
On the paradox of among:
Spend a week noticing the paradox of among that Alfonso and KP explore in this video.
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Beloved Community Resources
Unity Justice Database
Team Dynamics House of Intersectionality
Anti-Racism Resources in the Unity Libraries Collection
Creative Writers of Color in Unity Libraries
The History of Race Relations and Unity Church, 1850-2005
Beloved Community Staff Team
The Beloved Community Staff Team (BCST) strengthens and coordinates Unity’s antiracism and multicultural work, and provides opportunities for congregants and the church to grow into greater intercultural competency. We help the congregation ground itself in the understanding of antiracism and multiculturalism as a core part of faith formation. We support Unity’s efforts to expand our collective capacity to imagine and build the Beloved Community. Here, we share the stories of this journey — the struggles, the questions, and the collaborations — both at Unity and in the wider world.
The current members of the Beloved Community Staff Team include Rev. Kathleen Rolenz, Rev. KP Hong, Barbara Hubbard, Drew Danielson, Laura Park, Rev. Karen Gustafson, Angela Wilcox, Pauline Eichten, and Erika Sanders.