"Black Folk Don’t": Do Atheism
well i do….
The atheist community clearly needs more people in it . So why not make ourselves more known to the black community ? Less than one percent of blacks identify as atheist .The black community is also the most religious ethnic group in the United States. So why not reach out and provide the voices of argument , logic , and reason? We should make an effort to include everyone and bridge the gaps of social inequality with education, reason , argument and empathy. Together we can end the stigmatization of atheism in the black community and maybe even eventually all communities . And we can in turn spread argument , reason and understanding to further end social inequality.
it’s interesting how long ago this was posted and how my beliefs have changed since then.
the Black community needs a lot of things, and atheism is not one of them. perhaps it needs less Christianity, but atheism/humanism/non-religious? no. the humanist communities, worldwide don’t seem to be concerned with much of anything but anti-Christianity and spreading atheism. but Black folks are dealing with issues of poverty, sexism, mass incarceration, culture erasure, rape, homophobia, racism, unemployment, and a host of other things. shit, we’re still trying to heal from slavery. and by my observations, i have yet to see any humanist truly (be that in theory, monetarily, or though support) aid in any of these issues. this rhetoric about bringing reason and logic to the Black community sounds errily like colonialism.
the rest of my thoughts on this topic are here: http://aphoticchronicles.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-limitations-of-black-humanism.html
I agree with you on the matters that humanist communities have not really helped in the areas of social inequality and colonialist attitudes still present till this day. We clearly need to further humanistic ideologies and tweak them to different communities and bring awareness to these communities’ plights and unequal social treatment .
The humanist/secular/irreligious community also needs to start having plans to combat these unequal social challenges. Logic , reason , argument and empathy can help guide the way to bringing awareness and resolution to the problems , but it takes effort. I think that just because humanism has shortcomings in areas of social inequality , it does not mean that we should totally throw it out as an option to help the black community and the atheist/humanist/irreligious community. With the efforts of both communities , we can bring social change to blacks and humanists alike. Of course social inequality is a complex and challenging task to overcome, however , with huge changes in the way we present humanism/atheism/irreligion I think we can further bridge these gaps and actually help the black community. Where do we start on this matter ? I am not entirely sure . I am , however, aware that these humanist communities need to further branch out to communities where social inequality is rife and actually combat the unequal treatment . Bringing more awareness and plans of action against poverty, sexism, mass incarceration, culture erasure, rape, homophobia, racism, unemployment, and other problems is a first step to solving these issues.
But this is solely one person’s ramblings on tumblr and more people are always welcomed to spark debate and ways to combat oppression and inequality. I just think that we need to consider humanism as an option and perhaps make changes to it in order to fight the disproportion among the black community. Let me know if you think I’m talking out of my ass or not.
BTW bringing more reason , logic , and argument to the Black community is a great addition and start in aiding the problems in the community through humanism/atheism/secularism . I did not mean for it to come off as a colonist agenda tactic. If anything , European colonists did not want the people they were exploiting and dehumanizing to be logical, educated, argumentative , and reasonable. Thanks !
the thing is that, without a particular belief or series of beliefs holding the atheist/non-religious/humanist communities together, they really have nothing in common with one another. this is something i realized, after years of reading books and being a part of atheist online communities and whatnot. i even attended the Atheist Student Association at my school, and it was then, being the only Black person in a room of 19 white males and 1 white woman, and 30 minutes of them talking about some boring ass shit only straight cis middle/upper class white privileged males give a fuck about that i realized i have nothing in common with these people. regardless of my beliefs, my community is Black folks and people of color - Christian or not. i will always have more in common and be more at home around Christian Black folks than i ever could any white atheist/agnostic/whatever. and as a novice to an African traditional spirituality, i realize now why i felt that way and why that “community” never felt right for me. this is why there are Black atheists still going to church - there has to be a strong communal aspect. without it, the majority of us are not with it. and this is something white humanists need to realize - everything that’s right or comfortable for white folks is not necessarily the case for everyone else. whining about how there are no atheist presidents is something only white cis straight privileged males care about because that’s the only aspect of their lives that is relatively oppressed. but as a Black woman, i have other things to worry about.
on another note, i find it a bit condescending to say that logic, reason, and argument needs to be brought to the Black community. in order to bring more of it it to the Black community, it needs to be largely without it. this is why this sounds eerily like colonialist rhetoric because we, Black folks, don’t have a lack of logic, reason, and argument in our lives. again, we have other (bigger) issues in our lives than knowing the formal and informal rules of logic. the issue comes with assuming that logic and reason are aspects of only one type of belief (i.e., non-belief), and without it, one is just wallowing in their logical fallacies. this, from my experiences, is simply not correct (let’s not go into Richard Dawkins’ reaction to learning his grandfather owned slaves or to colonialism in general, or Christopher Hitchen’s general conservativism and support of the Iraq war). if logic and reason are so evident within the atheist/humanist communities, why if it that they have yet to do anything with it? why have they yet to do any philanthropic work? in my opinion, it’s because logic and reason really don’t mean anything. it doesn’t make you a better person, it doesn’t make you more empathetic, it doesn’t make you happier, it doesn’t make you have more friends or more stable in life. it doesn’t do anything. it just is your way of thinking. and that shouldn’t be proselytized to the rest of the world. that should just stay whatever it is in the minds of those who feel as though it is something special. there is no community. there aren’t even shared beliefs. and this is what needs to come to the Black community?? reason and logic are already in the Black community. maybe Black folks could benefit from hearing some of the critiques of Christianity, but other than that we don’t need anything from the humanist “community”.
and true, European colonists were largely looking to Christianize Africans. however, the colonial spirit is a live and well anytime a European (or European-minded person) seeks to impose European ways of thinking onto people of color.