Dear Cousin: Can We Talk about Structural Racism? by Carol P. Christ

,A few years ago, I visited the family farm founded by ancestors from Germany in the Pokonos with a newly discovered cousin. The woman I met was delightful: warm and friendly and very much connected to family still living in the area. Her mother had vivid memories of the farm. In contrast, my great-grandmother left home to marry in Brooklyn. My father had fond memories of visiting the farm as a child, but lost touch with the relatives there when his family moved to California in the 1930s.

My cousin was working as a department manager at Walmart. She seemed smart as a button, so I asked her why she had not gone to college. She said that though she had the grades no one encouraged her to do so. Her response made me wonder if I would have gone to college if my part of the family had remained close to the family farm. I was stunned by the roles chance and the choices of others play in our lives. Though I had more education than my cousin, I was not sure that mine was a happier life. I envied the family ties that shaped and defined her days.

About two weeks ago my cousin wrote on facebook:

I have often wondered about why Whites are racists, and no other race is. Someone finally said it. How many are actually paying attention to this? Continue reading “Dear Cousin: Can We Talk about Structural Racism? by Carol P. Christ”

Racism: We Still Don’t Get It by Esther Nelson


I was in Las Cruces, New Mexico, this summer for several weeks, spending much of my time unpacking boxes the moving van had delivered while simultaneously trying to create an aesthetically-pleasing and comfortable home.  I also went to the Unitarian Universalist church–twice!  (I haven’t attended church or any other place of worship regularly for decades.)  But, moving is a socially-disruptive experience and church is one place you can connect with individual people as well as with the larger community.  So, I decided to visit the local UU congregation.

Unitarian Universalism has a fairly long and circuitous history in the United States.  It’s roots are in liberal Protestant theology and practice, but the institution has branched out from its roots, seeking to be more “inclusive and diverse.”  Some of the historical background and development of the church can be found on Wikipedia.  As fascinating as this history and development is, I want to focus here on “Black Lives Matter”–a theme the congregation chose to use as it centered its worship on one of the Sundays I attended.
Continue reading “Racism: We Still Don’t Get It by Esther Nelson”

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