Institutional White Supremacy

By Celie Koneazny, YRUU youth member

White Supremacy is the belief that white people are superior to those of other racial backgrounds and should therefore be in control of everything politically, economically, and socially. But what is white supremacy to the teenagers of today? So far, it has been something to talk about and analyze both in and out of school, but never really something to act for. It is treated like a promise that we must keep even though we do not want to.

After the resignation of the UUA President and a call to action by Religious Educators of Color, First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee and other UU churches participated in a teach-in. The youth group of First Church took part in discussing the causes of white supremacy and its effects as well, through our discussion we came to several conclusions. First off, colorblindness is not a solution for anything; it is a counter effective quick fix and it promotes ignorance. What we need to do is accept that our skin if different colors, but focus on who everyone is as an individual and stop stereotyping entire races. Buying into a preconceived notion that every member of a certain race is the same is the root of prejudice because prejudice itself means judging prior to
knowledge of something.

As much as the world likes to think that we have progressed, we have not. Slavery from the 17th and 18th centuries flowed into the fight for the right to be treated like a human in the 1900’s to the red lining in the early 2000’s and has now lead us to the struggle to keep black men from being incarcerated and/or killed. Instead of moving forward, we, as a nation are taking steps back. Another conclusion that we came to was that racism is not only caused by prejudice, but an unequal power balance as well. Without the power and the privilege that white people have, racism would not be as prominent.

With this in mind, we decided that this couldn’t be a one-time discussion because no one could come up with any kind of solution. This is a scary, real world problem that cannot only be solved by a small group of Unitarian Universalist youth in a basement. It needs the support of everyone who is willing to step up for racial justice.

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