black atheists

Black Atheists That Have a Problem with Homosexuality, What the Fuck is Your Problem?

Black atheists, what is your problem with homosexuals? How is it that you can remove the shackles of religion, but cannot remove the veil of ignorance? You’re an atheist but you’re a bigoted atheist? You’re okay with atheists as long as they’re not gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc? I understand completely that atheism is nothing more than the denouncing of gods, but it’s important for me to ask, why not go a step further?

I made a post yesterday wishing all my queer members a happy pride day and of course those who didn’t agree had to say they’re unfollowing and that “Atheists subscribe to nature, science, logic. (since when?) This pride stuff isn’t natural or logical.”(homosexuality is found all over the animal kingdom, but that’s another blog post) and proceeded to block me. Those that didn’t leave like they said they were, stuck around for their five minutes of fame until they were blocked. It’s like this every year so sure, I’m expecting it, but it just shows how far we as a black community have to go and to grow. Some of us may have removed religion from our lives, but still, have religious-like beliefs stunting our growth.

As we all know, the black community is pretty homophobic, but let me point something out that one of the “atheists” said:

real black atheists don’t support homosexual in no forns. Fuck that white shit

I should not give this person the time of day just based on their grammar alone, but I must bring this up, seeing as this isn’t just one bad apple. He’s on a tree with a fuckton of other bad apples. I’m seeing parallels between people like him and religious people. If it can’t be explained, god did it. If black people are doing it, but it’s disapproving to other black people, it’s “white people shit”. Skateboarding, atheism, veganism, not spanking your children, being LGBTQ+, etc. is “white people shit”.  It’s as if the realm of possibilities for certain social constructs, ways of life, and the like are limited to their small, simple minds. The list seems to grow incessantly and recklessly. It’s like [they] have their own special list of detestable things that only “white people be or do” and black people shouldn’t be or do. You know what? Soon, someone is going to walk up to me and snatch my black card away and tell me I’m no longer invited to the ‘cookout’.

This does confirm that religion cannot be blamed for this person’s hatred of LGBTQ+ (wait, he said that he’s okay with lesbians, which also makes him a contradictory, hypocritical misogynist). For him and atheists like him (men make up most of the black atheist community), it’s simply ignorance and hate.

But to note, homophobia is a European concept. The buggery laws that were passed in 1533 made homosexuality a crime and of course, those laws, like a disease spread to other countries, especially those they colonized. The Buggery laws are still active for many countries, the West Indies, South America and, North & West Africa just to name a few. This also confirms that not a lot of people educate themselves and just go along with their own misguided beliefs. It’s sad because we as a people can do better.

I think it would be in the best interest of the black community to be more informed than this, more open-minded than this, more educated than this. It saddens me to see that no matter what god or lack thereof, there is always going to be that crab in the bucket mentality.

We still have a long way to go.

 

Citations

Hist. of Homosexuality;
Buggery Law;

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How Religion is Used As Emotional Blackmail/GUEST AUTHOR

by Raven Burnes

                       The hymn ended and the preacher launched into a highly emotional and symbolic sermon, recounting how our mothers had given birth to us, how they had nursed us from infancy, how they had tended us when we were sick, how they had seen us grow up, how they had watched over us, how they had always known what was best for us. He then called for yet another hymn, which was hummed. He chanted above it in a melancholy tone:

                        “Now, I’m asking the first mother who really loves her son to bring him to me for baptism!”

                        Goddam, I thought. It had happened quicker than I had expected. My mother was looking steadily at me.

                        “Come, son, let your old mother take you to God,” she begged. “I brought you into the world, now let me help to save you.”

                        She caught my hand and I held back.

                        “I’ve been as good a mother as I could,” she whispered through her tears.

                        “God is hearing every word,” the preacher underscored her plea.

                        This business of saving souls had no ethics; every human relationship was shamelessly exploited. In essence, the tribe was asking us whether we shared its feelings; if we refused to join the church, it was equivalent to saying no, to placing ourselves in the position of moral monsters. One mother led her beaten and frightened son to the preacher amid shouts of amen and hallelujah.

                        “Don’t you love your old crippled mother, Richard?” my mother asked. “Don’t leave me standing here with my empty hands, she said, afraid that I would humiliate her in public.

                        It was no longer a question of my believing in God; it was no longer a matter of whether I would steal or lie or murder; it was a simple, urgent matter of public pride, a matter of how much I had in common with other people. If I refused, it meant that I did not love my mother, and no man in that tight little black community had ever been crazy enough to let himself be placed in such a position. My mother pulled my arm and I walked with her to the preacher and shook his hand, a gesture that made me a candidate for baptism. There were more songs and prayers; it lasted until well after midnight. I walked home limp as a rag; I had not felt anything except sullen anger and a crushing sense of shame. Yet I was somehow glad that I had got it over with; no barriers now stood between me and the community.

                        “Mama, I don’t feel a thing,” I told her truthfully.

                        “Don’t you worry; you’ll grow into feeling it,” she assured me.

                        And when I confessed to the other boys that I felt nothing, they too admitted that they felt nothing.

                        “But the main thing is to be a member of the church,” they said (Wright 154-155).

I am currently reading Richard Wright’s autobiography Black Boy, and scenes like the one above are plentiful. Religion and “faith” are waved around like a spiked billy club designed to usher all wayward freethinkers into submission. I was struck by how little has changed in terms of how much pressure is put on people to make a “decision” for God – a decision that seems to be more about other people – and their power and reputation – than it is about you.

I realize that this pressure probably has evolutionary origins. We are a social species. Family/tribe membership has always been essential for our survival. Nevertheless, as we continue to evolve as a species, our concept of “the tribe” is necessarily expanding. With this expansion, I am hopeful that the outdated emotional blackmail used to bully children – and anyone who thinks differently – into religion will fall away as well.

 

Work Cited

Wright, Richard. Black Boy (American Hunger): A Record of Childhood and Youth. New York: Perennial Classics, 1998. 154-155. Print.

 

 

Black Atheists – The Other “One-percenters” | Guest Author

| by Raven Burnes

“If I were to hazard a guess about the future of black religion, I could not imagine it without according a more prominent role to one percenters” (William David Hart, author of “One Percenters”: Black Atheists, Secular Humanists, and Naturalists, page 676).

 

I read the above quoted essay recently and really enjoyed it. It identified black atheists as approximately one percent of the black population. I’m not sure whether that’s accurate or not. Considering the fact that many atheists are in the closet, either partially or fully, the number could be understated. But, assuming for the moment that the number is accurate, what kind of impact can we expect to realistically have on our theistic brothers and sisters?

 

I think it is important to remember – and Hart makes this clear in his essay – that black secular humanists, freethinkers, naturalists, and atheists have had a powerful effect on the black liberation movement. Freethinker and Darwinist evolutionary supporter, Hubert Harrison, who was known as the “father of Harlem radicalism,” affected the thinking and writings of several black literary and philosophical leaders, including A. Philip Randolph, Chandler Owen, Cyril Briggs, Richard B. Moore, Marcus Garvey, Countee Cullen, W.E.B. Du Bois, Nella Larsen, Walter White, Jessie Redmon Fauset, James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X (Hart 676). These notables, in turn, have affected many subsequent black leaders.

 

The late William R. Jones, who wrote “Is God a White Racist,” and Anthony B. Pinn, who wrote Writing God’s Obituary: How a Good Methodist Became a Better Atheist, are two more contemporary black freethinking thought leaders. These two men approach the subject of faith from slightly different angles, however: “As a secular humanist, Jones is less interested in debunking theism in the manner of ‘the New Atheists’ than defanging it, ” (Hart 680) while “debunking theism – that is, an epistemically driven desire to take down theism – motivates Pinn more powerfully than it does Jones” (Hart 682). Sikivu Hutchinson, author of Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values War, adds a much-needed feminist perspective to the contemporary black atheist discussion.

 

So, despite the apparently small numbers, African American secular humanists/atheists/freethinkers have played, and continue to play, a pivotal role in the struggle for racial justice. This should give us hope, despite the persistent caricatures of atheists in general, and black atheists specifically. I believe we play a key role in providing an alternative to “New Atheist” groups, which many (rightly or wrongly) find to be narrowly fixated on science alone, staunchly white male in composition, and seemingly unconcerned with the issues that directly impact African  American communities.

 

Speaking of the atheist community in general, as Hart reminds us (688), being an atheist only means that one does not believe in a God or gods. It does not reveal one’s political persuasion, social awareness, level of sexist or racist beliefs, nor even the adoption of various other non-theistic superstitions. Therefore, as black atheists, we must actively choose to become visible participants in the fight for racial and social justice with or without (preferably with) the support of the larger atheist community. We dare not leave social justice and humanitarian activities solely to the church. As it stands, many African Americans do rely on the black church to provide the types of social services that are needed in our communities. Unfortunately, in addition to this beneficial role, the church continues to promote homophobic and sexist ideas. It also fosters dependence upon a non-existent deity who has not, cannot, and will not do anything for us outside of what we do for ourselves. The shift from “belief” to “action” is key, in my opinion, to uniting black theists and atheists in the common struggle.

 

The actions I propose are the same types of actions that any charitable organization would provide, but under the banner of humanism. The unfortunate stereotype which atheists of all colors are saddled with is that we have no morals. Ignoring for the moment the ridiculousness of this stereotype, in order to be heard, we must combat this false perception with the truth. A common saying among black people is that we must work twice as hard as any other group to get half the respect. Not only is this still true, but atheists have the additional burden of being a minority within a minority. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that the old adage “actions speak louder than words” is no less true today than it has ever been.

 

Let us pay at least as much attention to what we do as what we believe. If we do so, I believe our “one-percent” status will one day cease to be a hindrance, or even a reality.

 

Reference:

Hart, William David. “One Percenters”: Black Atheists, Secular Humanists, And Naturalists.” South Atlantic Quarterly 112.4 (2013): 675-696. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Oct. 2015

Black Atheists is Looking for Writers

writers for ba wanted copy

Being a black atheist, what are the most common reactions of people when they find out you’re an atheist? | A Question for the Black Atheists

 

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Bigotry Map

I Want to be Added to AFA’s “Map”!

American Family Association created a map recently. It still needs work and a lot of organizations are missing from that map and I want to be added to it. I don’t have an organization per se, but hell, since they want to target non-hate groups and label them “Anti-Christian” then why the hell not? According to the map, we’re considered bigots and should have a map that targets us. Is this similar to smearing blood on doors, and if so, should I get ready to be massacred?

The web site www.afa.net/bigotrymap includes an interactive map that identifies groups whose actions are deeply intolerant of the Christian religion. Their actions, for example, have endorsed efforts to silence Christians and to remove all public displays of Christian heritage and faith in America.

Do they realize that all this did was help me find like-minded people in my area? Thanks, AFA! I didn’t realize there were so many organizations in my neck of the woods [Cleveland, Ohio] before this map came along.

I’m trying to figure out if this map was spawned because an “atheist killed a Muslim couple over a parking spot”. I respect your “hustle” AFA, but that’s low-bar, even for Christians. FYI:  Just because someone doesn’t share your beliefs does not make that person anti-Christian and certainly does not make that person a bigot. We are talking about Christians, though; the ones who feel they are the most persecuted of the persecuted. Don’t mention the crusades, all hell will break loose, then.

See? Even when it's not about them they make it about them. This was on their blog pertaining to ISIS.

See? Even when it’s not about them they make it about them. This was on their blog pertaining to ISIS.

Fuck.

To Atheists & Christians: My Black Atheists Page is NOT Racist! | This Shit is Getting Tired!

It’s fucked up that I have to tell this shit to atheists; I expect that level of bullshit from the religious. 

I’m racist if there are people who aren’t black on my atheist page. I’m racist because the page is called ‘Black Atheists’. I’m not about equality and I’m segregating atheism for having ‘black’ in the title. I can’t win for losing. 

I get bombarded by mostly other atheists: “Would you be mad if I made a ‘White Atheist’ page?” 

It gets more ridiculous than that: “There’s a NAACP, a BET and other shit for black people, where are the white equivalents?” Are you fucking kidding me? Why would a non-marginalized majority need an equivalency? What about that is so hard for you to fucking grasp?!

Let me put it bluntly: Some of you white people need to get over this ridiculous false equivalency in your goddamned heads. You don’t need white pride or other white groups. You don’t need your own channels. You’re already everywhere as it is! Hollywood disregards race and slap white people in “historically correct” movies when there should be brown or black people. Get the-fuck out of here! Telling me that a black atheist page can only exist provided a white atheist page exists is like saying feminism can only exist provided male rights advocacy exists.

I’m not apologizing for putting ‘black’ in my title. Why? Because that’s what I am! I’m Black! I’m a woman! I’m atheist! I’m the only atheist in my family. This rings true for some black families. There are black people right now that are atheists who cannot tell their family that they are atheist. They would lose everyone! WE ARE THE MINORITY WITHIN A MINORITY! Why do I have to spell this shit out to people; especially atheists? 

This blog, my Tumblr, my Facebook page, my Twitter brings another perspective to people’s lives and a deeper understanding of the joint struggle against religious oppression. Someone on the outside wouldn’t understand black culture unless there was someone there to tell them and show them. Black atheists have cultural challenges that white Atheists know absolutely nothing about. Furthermore, after the gross and racist behavior of prominent white atheists earlier in the year, there truly needs to be alternative voices.

I think black atheists like me and other minority atheists have a harder time getting out of religion and coming out as secular, atheist, or agnostic because our culture has been drowned in the religion of our past oppressors who used religion to enslave, kill, and oppress us. The awareness of those facts is not in education nor brought to light, so that blacks, and any other person of color really that had their original belief system replaced by European Christianity. We have hard time coming out as atheist because our family is so intertwined in their faith that anyone who doesn’t believe as they do gets disowned and or killed. It happened to a cousin of mine in the South.

People look at those pages and think I’m categorizing atheism separately because I’m angry, or racist. That’s the furthest from the truth. What atheists and Christians alike fail to realize is that black atheist men & women who have escaped the religion that was forced upon their ancestors – and before that – by their slave masters are the minority of the minority. I need to categorize separately, because religion is in my culture and slave heritage and other black people need to know there are others like them. The demographic of black atheists seems to be smaller than atheists of other races because black people seem to be more influenced by religion. Having a group called ‘Black Atheists’ is more like saying “we do exist.” Rather than saying “we are trying to separate ourselves from atheists of other races”.

In a free-thinking community, you’d think racism would be the least of anyone’s worries. We are all fighting the grand evil, indoctrination for separation from religion. Again, I expected this kind of nonsense more from the religious, but that’s not the case for my page. 

There’s black atheist groups and pages on Facebook and other forms of social media that ARE pro-black and don’t allow anyone of a different race to join. Those pages and groups are toxic and I steer clear from them. That’s not me, that’s not what I represent.

On a more serious note, this is what I make of the situation:

 I think the problem why there is such thing as ‘Black Entertainment’ but not ‘White Entertainment’ is because the blacks of America have culturally integrated with each other that they form a single Afro-American identity and label them as ‘black’. The whites still keep some of their ancestral identity, which is why they sometimes label themselves as ‘Italian American’, ‘Irish American’, ‘German American’ and etc. This is why you have Italian, Irish, German club as opposed to White clubs.  This is not an issue of ethnic minority; it is an issue of ethnic identity. The Asians are a smaller minority but they still label themselves as “of Chinese descent”, “of Japanese descent”, or “of Filipino descent”.

Recent immigrants from Africa do align themselves with their more regional identity. For example, there is a large Somali population in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area who are different from those of Eritrean and Ethiopian descent. There is a vast amount of diversity in the people on the continent of Africa, and even within those three regions, which are all in the same general area.

African-Americans – or as some might argue should be termed “Black Americans” – are a unique American group without cultural ties directly back to Africa because it was systematically erased from each person due to the “peculiar” institution of chattel slavery.

When your children are taken from you, when your own relationships aren’t given the least respect, you can’t learn to record your own history, you’re often ripped away from everyone you know and sent to another environment, not allowed to speak anything but you’re captor’s language, are indoctrinated into their religion, and forced to work past exhaustion, then sometimes beaten for sport, it isn’t possible to pass on your own cultural traditions or even identity.

After a few hundred years of this, when our country finally stopped allowing this horror, its victims were completely wiped of any possible cultural memories that originated from Africa. People’s main concerns were to find their immediate families and to live free. Then Reconstruction was rejected by the scum of the earth, I mean former slave owners, and sharecropping and Jim Crow started, but that’s another lesson.

So, long story short, yes, white people and Asians have their own ethnic identities, and while recent African immigrants have that too, most black people in America don’t because the American institution of chattel slavery systematically removed it from their ancestors.

It’s not just because they were wiped out of any cultural identity by their oppressors. By the time many West Africans were sold to European slavers and were brought to the Americas, the political system in West Africa was nowhere near present day West Africa; there weren’t any rigid political boundaries; it consisted of smaller warring kingdoms. There were no identities such as Nigerian or Ghanaian; they only exist after the era of independence in Africa. The opposite is true for European identities such as English, Irish, German and etc.; they have existed for hundreds of years. Moreover, identities such as Chinese, Korean, and Japanese have existed for nearly a thousand, as opposed to contemporary African identities. So, by the time slavery stopped, Africa has changed a lot without the knowledge of the Africans who were brought to the Americas, bewildering them to which contemporary identity they belong to. This is why a diverse range of African identities exist in Europe but not as much in the Americas, because again, they were recent African immigrants.

More information on American Demographics.

So until everyone is free and equal, until justice works for all, until there is no class division that survives by the crushing of the others who are not in the super wealthy class, until privileges based on race [see white privilege] become a thing our descendants look back on in horror and disgust, until every man woman and child is treated with the same honor and dignity as the next, and until every race is given a chance to thrive in a world where we all are truly equal, we cannot ignore color, race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or any other distinctions and identifiers because we still live in a world of racism, classism, discrimination, and inequality.

So shut the fuck up with the “you have to look past the color!”, shut the fuck up with “you only see color!”, shut all the way the fuck up with “you’re racist and you’re making this all about color!”

If you’re going to say that don’t say anything at all. Simply, shut the fuck up.

If you’re one of those people who had the pleasure of receiving this as a rebuttal to your tired ass argument – suffice it to say that you actually read it – I hope you learned something. The only person that you’re hurting for continuing to stay willfully ignorant is you.

-Lee