#239 | Kenji Yano | Replace "dismantle" with "oppose"

Submission 239
Kenji Yano
First UU Congregation of Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI) 5232

What is your suggestion or idea?

Section C-2.2. Values and Covenant > Justice.

We covenant to dismantle racism and all forms of systemic oppression.

Replace ““dismantle”” with ““oppose.””

What is the reason for your amendment idea?

I believe that activities potentially resulting from using the word ““dismantle”” could actually block us from truly becoming a diverse, multicultural community. From my observations, many people of color including immigrants, especially if they are traditionally religious, tend to have more conservative views on women and LGBTQ issues. If we ““dismantled”” their traditional cultural views, it would seem difficult for us to build a multiracial, spiritual community. Instead, we should innovate our ways to build relationships with traditional POC communities and work with them so that they become awakened about the rights of women and LGBTQ people.

Have you discussed this idea with your congregation or other UUs?

I have shared this idea during multiple meetings to discuss the proposed 8th principle / Article II in my congregation. I have also shared this idea at an inter-congregational forum to discuss Article II. I have received positive feedback.

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“Dismantle” is jargon that would make the text sound like it was inspired by Twitter activism

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I support removing the word “dismantle” not because it might seem a threatening term, but because it is arrogant. I wish we had the power to end all forms of systemic oppression, but we simply don’t. Let’s be honest and say we are committed to working against systemic oppression and racism. This is consistent with our principles of respect for the humanity and dignity of every person, and with practices of justice, compassion, cooperation, care and peace in human relations.


Why don’t you want to dismantle racism?

Cynthia, I’d love to see an end to racism, and I try to do my bit. But let’s say a candidate campaigned saying they would end racism – or war – or poverty – wouldn’t that sound impossible? I want to make a commitment I can follow through on. I can commit to working to oppose racism.

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