Friday, May 21, 2010

boycotts & accountability, continued

Ellen Carvill-Ziemer asked a similar question about our accountability in the context of a boycott of Arizona, only she was deeper and more articulate:

"As I look at my own personal history and UU history it seems we have done best at solidarity and social justice when we knew to whom we were accountable and understood the strategy and our role in it. I'm floundering on both fronts right now.

...I understand myself accountable to people of color. But, it's often the case that people of color disagree (shocking, people having different opinions on complicated issues!). Paula Cole Jones has wisely advised to look to see who the voices of color are accountable to themselves--for instance who is the lone wolf and who is part of a larger movement? As an ally, the world is too complicated to blindly jump when I'm told to jump, I need to know who is telling me it's time to jump and that I trust them (even if I don't totally understand). I've heard several people compare this moment to Selma . While I wasn't alive then, what seems different to me is at that point UU's knew who was asking them to come, what the strategy was, and were in relationship with those organizations and people. What made that an "accountable" moment wasn't just about showing up, it was also that these other factors were there.

Backing up to look at the whole strategy picture: as a white UU and a member of Allies for Racial Equity, I understand myself first in accountable relationship to UU's of color through LUUNA, APIC, and DRUUMM and through them to larger movements and organizations of people of color. I understand LUUNA has called for a boycott. Major national Latino organizations have called for a boycott (La Raza, League of United Latin American Citizens, National Puerto Rican Coalition)...

But, I also have an email from the UUMA informing me that the UUMA cluster of Arizona and Las Vegas voted unanimously to oppose a UUA GA boycott. I know enough about those of you down there to know you didn't do that on some whim, you've been engaged in immigrant work for awhile and so I'm assuming you're in relationship with other groups and that they have a strategy, too...

Are there any folks here with stronger connections to LUUNA or national Latino organizations who might be able to offer some elucidation on the differing strategies?

Let me give a parallel example for clarification--the Employment Non-Discrimination Act currently before Congress includes not only sexual orientation, but also gender identity. Before 2009, it did not. To someone straight who hadn't been paying attention, I'm sure it was confusing that Barney Frank and the HRC supported the non-inclusive version and the NGLTF did not. A lone straight person might come to their own opinions on this, but as I understand being an ally, it would have been better to learn why there was this division and to whom both the HRC and NGLTF were accountable to before taking a stand...

I think the differences boil down not to what may be passionately declared on the plenary floor (who is good, who is racist, etc), but if we are in accountable relationships and if so, to whom. And I am so not clear on that right now. Maybe I missed something. Can anyone help?"


At 9:44 AM, Blogger Bill Baar said...

The boycott's a huge waste of UU resources.

If the people who voted didn't bother to read the bill, they own an accounting to the member Churches for not doing their job.


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