What Ta-Nehisi Coates Taught Me About “People Who Believe They Are White”


In the book Learning to Be White, the Unitarian Universalist minister and scholar Thandeka writes that, “No one is born white in America” (vii). For many people in the U.S., that claim likely feels either counter-intuitive or perhaps even nonsensical. Elaborating on her view in a later anthology called Soul Work, she writes that although no one is born white,children are born with an innate ability to relate and bond to others…. Children thus have to learn how to internally destroy their ow … [Read more...]

Letting Go of Fear & Celebrating Differences: Insights from Intersectionality

Intersection (photo credit: Carl Gregg)

This past Sunday was the 70th anniversary of the United States dropping an atomic bomb on the  Japanese city of Nagasaki toward the end of World War II. The weapon, nicknamed “Fat Man,” was released at 11:01 a.m. local time, causing tens of thousands of civilian casualties. (The even more devastating bombing of Hiroshima was three days earlier.) This anniversary of the only time to date that atomic bombs have been used in warfare comes at a time when headlines are being made worldwide concerning … [Read more...]

Cisgender and Transgender


Most people are more familiar with the term transgender than with the term cisgender. The term transgender came first, adding the Latin prefix “trans-” (meaning, “across from” or “on the other side of”) to the word gender to indicate a person, whose gender identity or gender expression does not match their biological sex.Cisgender was coined as a complementary term from the Latin prefix cis-, (meaning “on this side of”), indicating a person, whose gender identity and gender expression for the … [Read more...]

Building the Beloved Community: Anti-racism and Multiculturalism in a Local Congregation

Been cover.indd

Blackmail, blacklist, black mark. Black Monday, black mood, black-hearted. Black plague, black mass, black marketGood guys wear white, bad guys wear black. We fear black cats, and the Dark Continent. But it's okay to tell a white lie, lily-white hands are coveted, it's great to be pure as the driven snow.Angels and brides wear white. Devil's food cake is chocolate; angel's food cake is white!We shape language and we are shaped by it. In our culture, white is esteemed. It is heavenly, … [Read more...]