Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A couple of videos by young black atheists

It's a slow day for me, and I thought I'd share some videos I've been watching.

First, John contacted us directly to share his video.

If you've watched the show recently, you've probably noticed that the question of attracting minorities to become outspoken atheists comes up more and more frequently. Now, this is a tricky question to answer, because first: as a white guy, any generalization I try to make about black people can be taken as unfair and racist, especially if I'm wrong. Second: I don't think a black atheist should have the burden of speaking for all black people any more than I can. I don't speak for all white people, nor do I speak for all Texans or all secular Jews. This is just my point of view.

Having said that, John offers some excellent food for thought on the subject of prominent black atheists. Just on the merits of a guy speaking for himself, you should watch him.

This second video is not really related, I just found it under "suggestions" and thought it was worth passing along as well.

Jean is college student facing a problem common to many, many young atheists today. In an age where everyone uses social media, it can be very hard to keep information intended for your friends separate from your family, coworkers, and casual acquaintances. Thus, lots of atheists simply wind up having the question of "Should I tell my parents?" answered for them, when they accidentally out themselves. At least four people I know (two being Matt and Jeff) have wound up in similar situations. You may not have your own show, but having a YouTube channel will do it for you too.

I don't have anything to offer people who find this out the hard way, but I want to encourage young atheists of all backgrounds to continue speaking confidently about what they believe (or don't believe). "Atheism" is a scary concept to people in part because it is unknown and hidden from view, and the stories that your pastor makes up about atheists stick. The more atheists who are out there defining what atheism is, the less completely theists get to set the agenda.


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  2. I'm a black atheist. My immediate family knows. My wife knows (she is too). We're teaching each other and our kids how to think critically. We communicate openly. I don't yet feel comfortable about my entire family knowing this yet, though. The "black community" is so heavily brainwashed that it's difficult to come out without being verbally attacked or just not taken seriously - as if there is no way that someone black can be an atheist. I think it falls back on lack of education and the subliminal glorification of ignorance. From this vantage point, I don't see how or when I would tell my family.

  3. I agree with the speaker in the first video. People can use critical thinking and skeptism in every aspect of their life but when it comes to religion they give it an exemption of 'special pleading.' I also agree a lot of Christian's like to 'pigeon hole' or straw man you any chance they get.

    I would say a fair and just god would be understable enough not to expect blindly obedient followship. We have a brain designed for critical thinking as such.

  4. Hey, I been subbed to Jean for a while. I remember her video of her parents finding out she was atheist. Pretty damn cool.

  5. I'm black and an atheist, and also a bit of a wuss. I opted to just break contact with my family over telling them just how not like them I was (for a variety of reasons). It did, however, made it a lot easier to just be who I am and live life as I please without having to deal with the "come to jesus" conversations.

  6. John, I hope you read this, you made a fantastic video and thanks for sharing it with us.

    You are so intelligent and articulate, your arguments are spot-on and razor-sharp.

    And, your point about God cheating in sports events was a new idea to me, and was an excellent one. Thanks, I'll be using it in talking to theists.

    Hope to see you coming here and hanging out.

  7. Hah, Jean(stake) herself called into AE a couple of years ago, about the black atheists question that has come up several times:

    She's a bright and brave woman, and I applaud her standing up for who she is.

  8. On an only tangentially related topic, I just discovered "K&K Mime", the world's first Gospel Mime Ministry.

    Yes. Gospel Mime.

    Go to their website, and be subjected to an experience that can only be the result of an unholy union between* and Movie Phone.

    * It's prounced "Zombocom"

  9. Anyone ever watch the Infidel Guy?

  10. I think Jeans' other clips "My Dad Says I'm Going to Hell" and "PARENTS CONFRONT ME ABOUT ATHEISM" are perhaps even more interesting.

  11. I've been an atheist my entire life, and a black man for 1/2 my life. ;)

    I grew up in a moderately religious household (Catholic school K-8, Baptist church on Sundays, etc.). I don't think that I ever actually believed the stories and myths. Religion always produced more questions than answers for me.

    Yes, we are a rare species. I've always been an independent thinker and a loner, and I'm good with that. ;)

  12. Concerning family members find out via Youtube or other internet resources, I actually used my Facebook account to come out to friends and family. One or two "friends" dropped off, The rest seem to be at least tolerant of my non-belief.

  13. I checked out the rapper that the guy was talking about, Grayden Square. He's a damn good artist.

  14. I'm an atheist and also black so I too know the struggle of trying to reason/deal with not only christians but black christians, a sect that seems to be deluded on a much deeper level.

    I haven't come out to my parents or any of my family members. I'm kind of making use of the "they will figure it out anyway" tactic. My girlfriend is a christian and one day she finally asked me if I was an atheist, we talked about it for awhile after that and have been able to deal with it in a very mature fashion. I'm hoping things will unfold similarly with my parents, at least this way it will insure that they are at least partially prepared to know the truth about me.

    I think the thought has definitely crossed their mind. I flipped out when I heard my mom call a guy a faggot recently, she seemed to understand that I didn't care too much about what the bible said. I was also recently accepted to medical school and my parents told me that I should pray with my patients before treating them. I pretty much dodged the answer and I think that was a red flag as well. I'd imagine that they will find out in the next 2 years. I've only been an atheist for a year so it seems as if I won't have to be "in the closet" for too long.

  15. It is kind of a strange catch 22. Statistics I have seen have most gnu atheists as white males. A group can then choose to ignore race and have little impact on the ratio, or try and cater to certain races which is in itself somewhat racist.

    There is no active effort to exclude anyone from skeptical atheism that I am aware of. I find it an empowering movement that requires things completely unrelated to gender or skin color. Yet the samples taken don't really demonstrate that.

    The only answer I can think of is to let all the sub cultures find their own way as the movement continues on with no special regard to any particular group.

  16. I'm a bit surprised the video John mentioned didn't feature this famous black atheist:

    American Atheists publishes a pamphlet about him called "The Black Socrates", and a full-length biography of Harrison was published just last year or so.

  17. Check out this guy yall. He actually made a song based off the recent phone call between Matt and Mark.

    frakkin awesome!!

  18. @Patricia
    If you want to hear Denis Loubet and Matt Dillahunty having a heated discussion about cheating at sports then I would recommend that you download episode 9.13 of the Non-Prophets. It makes interesting listening.

    select 'audio files' to get to the Archive and download from there.

  19. I'm black and an atheist. I went to Catholic schools and was nicknamed: "the anti-christ" by all my other classmates, haha! I really didn't care. My boyfriend is an agnostic and honestly, I don't think about religion too much. It's just so illogical and foreign to me. I really don't understand hardcore theists. I really don't.

  20. JJR- Thank you so much for telling me about Hubert Henry Harrison. As a white male in the educational world, I think it's so important for kids to have people that they can identify with to look up to. Showing them the Michael Jordans of this world is a start, but I dread the notion of inadvertently conveying the notion that sports and music are their only options.
    I usually like to go with King, Mandella, Rustin et al. Now Hubert Henry Harrison will be added to the mix. Thank you so much.

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  22. As an atheist who never had to stand up to her immediate family, I don't really have much wisdom to impart here. But I do think that it is important to stand up for what you find to be true and untrue. And yes, usually someone you know and care about will quickly move to distance themselves from you. It's probably happened to everybody here at one time or another. But honestly, my take on it is that if they didn't care about you enough to at least remain in contact with and respect you for, if nothing else, your courage, then they didn't ever really care about you at all, so why would you still want them as a friend?

  23. Hopefully, Jean's spring break isn't going to be too uncomfortable for her.

    I enjoyed John's video and have to admit that I had never thought about the fact that sports fans and stars are basically asking god to cheat for them. That was a good point. It was also sad that a woman would rather date a murderer than an atheist. Really, that is crazy reasoning on her part.


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