Essential Elements: What to address in your UU White Supremacy Teach-In   

  • What is white supremacy?
    • Why “white supremacy” as the term here? It conjures up images of hoods and mobs. Here, we mean: “White supremacy as a set of institutional assumptions and practices, often operating unconsciously, that tend to benefit white people and exclude people of color.” In 2017, actual “white supremacists” are not required in order to uphold white supremacist culture. Building a faith full of people who understand that key distinction is essential as we work toward a more just society in difficult political times.
  • What is the UU White Supremacy Teach-In and how did it originate?
  • Why is our congregation participating?
    • Only you can answer this in your congregation but we suggest "We changed our worship plan because we know that large shifts require work and can challenge our comfort levels. That’s precisely why we feel it’s important. We believe that hundreds of UU churches signaling to their own members and to the larger community that “our faith takes racism seriously, especially within our own walls” will push our faith toward the beloved community we all seek."
  • How does white supremacy culture show up in our congregation?
    • The UUA Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries shared an example of courageous reflection and inventorying of where white supremacy lives in their organizational culture and practices. You might use this as a model to be emulate in your own congregation, whether done as a group and/or addressed in worship. Additionally, this resource outlines some of the invisible rules and assumptions of white supremacy culture.
  • What is the 8th Principle project and how does it connect to white supremacy in UU spaces?
    • BLUU encourages all UU's to advocate for the formal adoption of an 8th principle.. read more!
  •  Potential Pitfalls (and how to avoid them)
    • Avoiding the phrase “white supremacy” for fear of alienating white people in your congregation
    • Failing to talk with POCI (People of Color Indigenous) in your congregation as you plan your White Supremacy Teach-In
    • Preaching/teaching to white people in your congregation and making POCI invisible
    • Failing to provide alternative programming for POCI rather than including them in spaces where white people are struggling to understand and confront white supremacy
  • Q&A Webinar Recording (Thurs 04/13/2017): click here


WORSHIP: Amazing Worship Resources by Kenny Wiley here!



  • A facilitation guide for discussing the difference between the intent behind our words and actions and the impact of our words and actions and how these differences are important. The discussion then turns towards an exploration of institutional racism and how our privileges can play out in conversations about race. Created by Sarah Gonzalez: Resisting Racism Youth Lesson
  • Additional resources assembled by Jennica Davis-Hockett and the #UUAYaYA team for youth and young adult ministry are here: http:blueboat.blogs.uua.org/2017/04/26/white-supremacy-teach-in/

CHILDREN'S (3rd to 6th grade) TEACH IN:

  • DISCUSS: While the ideas of white supremacy and institutional racism may not be accessible to elementary age children, understanding lack of representation is a way to illustrate the same points. One idea to say is, “Our Unitarian Universalist faith is having discussions all over the country about who is represented and how. We realized that many white people were in positions of making important decisions without people of color.” Invite the children to talk about one group of people making decisions for another can be limiting.  The Teaching Tolerance activity that we recommend is one that is an accessible way to talk about representation. You may want to bring up the UU example after doing the activity.
  • ACTIVITY: Teaching Tolerance Discovering my Identity
    • This activity created by Teaching Tolerance presents an opportunity for children to think about how they identify. Invite the group to list how they would describe who they are to someone else. After offering an opportunity to share this, ask the group about the books they’ve read. Who are they about? Ask how many in the room read books with characters who identify the same way they do? Tell the story of Marley Dias (links to her story are in the Teaching Tolerance activity). Marley was tired of reading about “white boys and dogs.” She decided to do something about it and she started a campaign to collect books that feature girls of color called #1000blackgirlbooks. More information on the campaign can be found here:  http://grassrootscommunityfoundation.org/1000-black-girl-books-resource-guide/

CHILDREN'S (K-3rd grade) TEACH IN:


Lessons and activities

  • What is Privilege?  This is from session 11 of the Windows and Mirrors, Tapestry of Faith curriculum.
  • Discrimination is on the Menu, from Teaching Tolerance.  Essential questions include: Why do people discriminate? What happens when you judge someone based on how they look?
  • What’s Fair, from Teaching Tolerance. Essential questions include: What does it mean to be fair? Why is it important to be fair?
  • Real Life From Multiple Perspectives / In Your Shoes, from Moral Tales, Tapestry of Faith. The “Empathy Scenarios” can be adapted for a discussion about being treated differently based on the color of a person’s skin, the country they were born in or the language they speak at home.
  • How to be a Racial Transformer (poster) from COLORLINES. Use the poster to talk with children about actions they can take to promote racial justice.


  • Marley Dias, NJTV interview.  
    • Discussion questions: What do you think about Marley and what she’s doing? Do you agree or disagree with Marley that it is easier to be yourself than to be someone you’re not? Why or why not?  Thinking back on the identity terms discussed earlier, what were some of the things Marley looked for in the books she read? Why is it important to read about how people’s identities are similar and different from our own?
  • [For use with children in 2nd grade and above]  Being 12, People Sometimes Think I’m Supposed to Talk Ghetto, Whatever That Is. (10 minutes) In  in this video, we hear directly from the students. They answer the question "who am I?" With more multi-racial, multi-cultural children than ever before, their answers surely will surprise you.
    • Discuss stereotypes by asking the children if they have felt or seen someone being treated differently because of what people might think of them before they even know them.
    • Discuss the effects of racism in terms of how it makes these children feel to be stereotyped.


  • Let’s Talk About Race, Julius Lester.  This picture book introduces race as just one of many chapters in a person's story.  Click here for an online reading of the book.
  • The Colors of Us, Karen Katz.  Through the eyes of a little girl who begins to see her familiar world in a new way, this book celebrates the differences and similarities that connect all people. Click here for an online reading of the book.
  • Shades of Black, Sandra Pinkney. Using simple poetic language and stunning photographs, Sandra and Myles Pinkney have created a remarkable book of affirmation for African-American children. Photographic portraits and striking descriptions of varied skin tones, hair texture, and eye color convey a strong sense of pride in a unique heritage. A joyous celebration of the rich diversity among African-Americans.  Click here for a review of the book.
  • All the Colors We Are / Todos los colores de nuestra piel , Katie Kissinger.  This book begins with the affirmation that all of us have skin that is a different shade of brown. It offers children a simple, scientifically accurate explanation about how our skin color is determined by our ancestors, the sun, and melanin. It's also filled with photographs that capture the beautiful variety of skin tones. Reading this book frees children from the myths and stereotypes associated with skin color and helps them build positive identities as they accept, understand, and value our rich and diverse world. Unique activity ideas are included to help you extend the conversation with children.  Click here for an online reading of the book. Each page is read in English and Spanish and the final pages of the book offer questions for discussion.  


Ongoing TEACH IN Resources

Recommended Reading:

White Privilege:

Allies for Racial Equity (a UU organization):

How White Supremacy effects the Latinx Community:

White Allyship:

Best practices resources when addressing white supremacy with children and youth:

Resources for Religious Educators:

  • Teaching Tolerance combats prejudice among our nation’s youth while promoting equality, inclusiveness and equitable learning environments; they are a leader in producing state of the art anti-bias education materials. Review their Anti-Bias Framework for appropriate expectations, messages, and goals for children at different stages, from Kindergarten through high school.
  • Critical Practices for Anti-Bias Education, also published by Teaching Tolerance, offers important reminders for Religious Educators as we plan our UUWhiteSupremacyTeachIn activities for children and youth. Pay special attention to the section on Family and Community Engagement as you communicate with families about your teach-in plans for children and youth. Ensure that your paid and volunteer RE teachers and youth advisors are properly trained and vetted; adults who have not done their own work around white supremacy should not lead teach-in activities with children and youth. Review the sections on Classroom Culture and Teacher Leadership with your staff in advance of the teach-in. http://www.tolerance.org/sites/default/files/general/PDA%20Critical%20Practices_0.pdf
  • With young white children, you will need to define some key terms like "identity", "stereotype", "privilege" and "race." While children may not enter the discussion knowing the words, they can understand feelings associated with being labelled based on an identity or perceived identity. They can also understand that some people are given more opportunities than others (privilege.) The activity and conversations about fairness can be useful. 
    • Being colorblind is not a goal. It is important to see and celebrate all our many, beautiful races and ethnicities.

    • We suggest sending a note home to parents or guardians letting them know what you talked about so they can continue the discussion. Provide the resource sheets below to support the adults who will extend the conversation. These resources can also help adults revise dysfunctional practices, e.g., avoidance, they may have learned regarding conversations about race.

Resources for Families:

  • Beyond the Golden Rule, published by Teaching Tolerance, is a parent’s guide to preventing and responding to prejudice, from preschool through high school. It is a useful resource for families of all racial identities. The book is available in a PDF format that can be downloaded and printed.