First off, I believe I have a confession to make:
Guys, I came to your from the dark abysses of the Live Journal, originally. I’ve been there since 2003, at least. I’ve a different nickname, and you’ll never find me, and I don’t really post much anyway(1). I’m also not into fandom. I’m into meta.
And the thing is, if that sort of discussion happened in my happy LJ meta-corner? Several hundred comments worth of dogpile would follow, rightly calling out the racist fuckwads on their racism and fuckwaddery, linking to Derailing for Dummies, and The Linguistics of Colour-Blind Racism, and politely asking the OPs to die in a fucking fire. I personally would lead the Troll Legions, calling people names, being petty, and vomiting thesaurus all over the place(2).
This is what I’m used to. This is what I would like to see in a community that is not made up of disgusting loathsome and ignorant excuses for human beings.
Atheist communities, it would seem, have much lower standards. Yes, lower than LJ(3).
So, what have actually got here? It’s an innocuous link to a rather interesting interview with a black atheist feminist, Sikivu Hutchinson. She makes several interesting points, but also says some obvious stuff about racism and privilege(4).
(The interviewer, by the way, is Greta Christina from Greta Christina’s Blog. This is important, because it’s a good blog, full of sense-making and nice reads.)
Anyway, what are the impressions of the first reader?
I propose affirmative action:
We give privileged access to black people with equal qualification. Don’t let anybody tell you they found it too difficult getting into atheism because all the white people were favored. :)
Yay, making fun of affirmative action, and dismissing valid concerns of a black person who feels marginalised with a lame racist joke. So hilarious!
On to the next comment:
I am not qualified
If you’re not qualified, why don’t you just shut up?
to comment on how difficult it is to come out as an unbeliever in theism within the black community, but I don’t think there are any negative pressures from an atheist community to shun anyone of any race or ethnicity.
Holy non-sequitur, Batman! Like it was about shunning. Haha.
As most of us are well informed thanks to evolutionary biologists such as Richard Dawkins, we can see any prejudice based on race as utterly ridiculous given how we are all African Apes and one species, this nullifying any idiotic objection to equal opportunity. To think for yourself does not require permission in any case.
This is the “I’m not racist” part of the more sophisticated and sciencey version of “I’m not racist but…”
Again though, I am ignorant of this particular experience
Yes, you are ignorant, so why not shut up like now?
and of the real reasons why, there might not be quite so many non believers of other ethnicities, proclaiming aloud their non-belief. I strongly doubt the idea of prejudice coming from any well educated, free thinking atheist community though.
The education, it didn’t help you at all.
The third comment:
So where are all these “white atheist communities” then? Where do us “white folk” get together and gleefully delight at excluding others?
But wait! The white atheist community, it’s right there where the commenter writes. Surprise! It’s main preoccupation at the time the comment was written seems to have been invalidating non-white people’s experiences, and condescendingly whitesplaining stuff by the means of non sequiturs, all the while telling stupid racist jokes. Ooops!
That woman has one expansive vocabulary… or one heluva thesaurus… Don’t know when I’ve seen so many big words in one place.
There are land-mines placed throughout this interview as well.
EDIT: I smiled at the “white folk” references as well : )
Because racism is so funny, dontcha know? Nudge nudge, wink wink! Also, commenter number two should maybe rectify his take on what real red-blooded atheists think about the education, right? Big words! Funneh!
Commenter 5 loudly proclaims himself to believe in the universality of the atheist experience:
I guess I’ll read the articles later this weekend but just how banal is the premise?
Let’s rephrase it;
What is it like to be a Chinese non-stamp collector?
What is it like to be a white non-basketball player?
What is it like to be an African non-chess player?
He will mansplain it all! As a real human being to a non-white person, totes!
Commenter 6 is really commenter 4 again, as s/h/it seems to have got really verbose. Let’s not allow him to steal commenter 7’s thunder though:
That’s what we need, more divisiveness in the atheist community.
Yes! Non-white people shouldn’t be such haters! Dontcha know about the importance of always being a team player?
“Hence, the European- American atheist community can’t be truly inclusive unless there is some recognition of how privilege and positionality undergird the very articulation of atheism as an ideological space that empowers white folk to deconstruct the cultural tethers of organized religion, without having their authorial right to do so be questioned.”
Is she channeling ‘1984’ here or not? I can’t tell…
Well, what I can tell is that s/h/it fails at reading comprehension. Also: she’s just oversensitive, all right? Oversensitive! I mean, commenter 8 might even have some black friends, so there!
Commenter 9 mostly copies commenters 2 and 5, but also, you know, everybody, s/h/it’s got a Token Person of Colour Atheist! Look!
In addition, the black female author of Infidel has been welcomed and specifically mentioned in debates and other places by the “white atheist” leaders. Not so because she is black and female but because she is making a worthwhile contribution to the discourse of the role of religion in our society.
A worthwhile contribution, unlike all those black females who don’t. Like, you know. The majority of them. ‘Cause they’re busy. Certainly. With something.
Commenter 9 doesn’t really know, but it must be something black and female. Just so you know.
Commenter 10 is sane if brief. Impossible! Fortunately, commenter 11 swiftly arrives to set the record straight and make his worthwhile contribution to the fight against the oppression of political correctness. His special attack is unguided sarcasm. Let’s hope s/h/it doesn’t hurt themselves.
Too much, anyway:
Yeah right. You priveleged white atheist bullshitters. Stop writing books questioning dogs existence until I’ve authorised your diploma in ideological racial right on-ness. WHAT are you thinking off! Tch.
The thing is, no one’s got nothing against the atheist authors, who are cool, and don’t leave racist comments on the internet. This is however irrelevant; non sequiturs are a racist fuckwad’s best friends.
Commenter 12 is a disgrace to all Europeans ever. If s/h/it is really European, that is.
Wow, talk about cultural differences! Just what is this American ‘thing’ with race?
I, and probably 99% of Europeans, don’t give a fig as to who is ‘black’ or ‘red’ or ‘pink’ or whatever, I just listen/read what they have to say. I might disagree with them, but that is not predicated on any personal attribute they may have. Can you imagine an article bemoaning the ‘…ideological space that empowers TALL folk’? or ‘…ideological space that empowers brown-haired folk’?
What (almost racist) nonsense this article is!
Let’s have no more of it….
This would get me several bingos on the racist bingo card. Reverse racism? Check! Concern troll is concerned? Check! Colour-blind racism? Check! Ridiculous comparing of actual living people to made-up colourful humanoids? Check! No racism in Europe? Check and check! Bravo!
Commenter 13 points out that blond people, much like rich people, are America’s most oppressed minority:
Rather than allow white atheists to control the terms of debate…’
I’m sick of brown-haired atheists controlling the terms of the debate. Where are the prominent spokespeople representing the unique interests of blonde atheists?
This is as sick as SS is tall, blond and blood-thirsty, and I would call Poe, only I don’t believe in unfounded optimism.
And so on, and so forth. The owner of the first comment that is longer than one sentence and doesn’t make you want to join VHEMT is commenter 16, but then comes commenter 18, who is offended by the ubiquitous presence of sensitivity trainers. Darwin forbid we learn how to treat fellow human beings like they’re fellow human beings or something! I mean, I’m absolutely appalled. The sheer gall of sensitivity trainers! I only hope commenter 16 will be as politically incorrect and unwavering in his controversial convictions as heretofore. The world needs moar douchebags!
As others have suggested (and they got the quotes just right!), Sikivu Hutchinson is a pretentious windbag. Her big claim: “I’m offended”.. not unlike what we hear from some other familiar quarters.
What is she actually asking for? Between the lines: expand the Cultural Studies & Gender Studies and Black Studies curricula to include courses on black atheists and feminist atheists, courses for which she and “experts” like her get to dominate the hiring committees.
The pomo radical feminists and sensitivity trainers have too much influence in the schools and universities, and have contributed (without claiming they are the most important cause) to the lowering of intellectual standards.
She just likes being offended! And wants to leech grant moniez! ZOMD STOP HER BEFORE IT’S TOO LAAAAAAAA-
All I can say is, yeah, I can totally see how the intellectual standards got indeed totally low.
But wait! The most faily of them all, commenter 20 weighs in:
At one time, when I was younger and more insecure, I could be made to feel guilty about being a white male, but not anymore.
OMD! It must have been so hard for him! What with everyone and everything pandering to his white male entitlement, and the one lone non-white feminist harshing his squee, it must have been so terribly haaaard! And yet! It took enormous guts, several enemas, it took courage, and it took unwavering moral principles and intellectual honesty, but here we are! Commenter 20 was, still is and always will be a complete douchebag. Proud, whiny entitled douchbag. Obviously, atheism needs more people like commenter 20!
Ladies, gentlemen, and poo-flinging monkey, a well-deserved applause for commenter 20, a true rational atheist!
(Via Pharyngula. PZ is predictably awesome. Still afraid to look at the comments)
(1) More like nothing, really.
(2) This is of course a blatant lie. I troll somewhere else. You will never catch meeee!
(3) In case you’re not internet-savvy, I would like to clarify that you’ve just been terribly insulted.
(4) That it’s obvious doesn’t mean it’s not worth repeating. Many times. If possible, accompanied by beating with the clue bus.