Sunday, May 24, 2009

Why are UU Congregations still so mono-cultured?

After decades of attempts to build multi-cultural congregations, why are UU still so mono-cultured? Which is a way of asking why are UUs still so upper middle class white?
Because of course, we are (or at least appear to be).

And the usual answer is because UUs haven't done enough consciousness-raising, haven't attended enough workshops, haven't had enough of the veils lifted from our eyes. Some of that is probably true -
but it doesn't explain why there are some organizations that have not tried any consciousness-raising and workshops, that are multi-cultural. What have they done that has made them that way, what answers do they get when they ask how to be more multi-cultural? Why can't this work for us?

My guess is that there are multiple reasons, here's a slight handful:

There are people who don't like to associate with you, and you have to give them some reason to put up with you. It doesnt matter that you're nice and don't talk about your car, your job, your love of music from opera to bluegrass; they still have nothing in common with you, why should they put up with you? and the reasons for this could be that they are poorer than you, or richer than you, it's still "what reasons do they have to come down and sit near you?"

You call them sinners for eating meat, or lunchmeat with nitrates, or not eating organic.
You call them sinners for allowing their children to join the military, and not feeling quilty about their children's decision.
You look at them funny if they dress different - like wear a tie or a nice hat.
You grimace when they say they watch "American Idol" or Fox News.
The congregation all smile in unison when they enter the door, and somebody checks off a box next to "multi-cultural" on the visitors stat sheet (well not really, just seems that way)
why should these people come to your congregation?

What's the most multi-cultural place you know? Hospitals? K-mart? What makes these places multi-cultural? Workshops (and they do have them) help, but it's that they are filling an obvious need.
You want your congregation to be more multi-cultural?
Start by Filling a Need that isnt being met. Or Filling a Need better than others in the area.
Come up with reasons that people not like you would want to come and sit next to someone like you.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Universalist Convocation - in Birmingham May 15-17, 2009


held on May 15-17 (Friday evening through Sunday dinner- lunch) at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Birminham in Birmingham Alabama. For more information see the website at

(and yes, I'll be there)