Hi everyone. I just wanted to take a moment and share an issue that I am running into a lot with other atheists. I have joined a few atheists clubs lately. One is an atheist dating website. Anyway, I join these things to connect with others like-minded individuals. I'm sure thats why most of us join groups. Anyway, being a black atheist, as I am, has posed yet another issue that I don't think has been covered. I have dated a few atheists now and I have found that they, just like everyone else in the world, seems like, has this issue with us black folks voicing our opinions about the fact that religion being a huge culprit in slavery. Its like everyone is conditioned to keep the truth about what happened to blacks in this country on the down low. We all have to have the holocost shoved down our throats throughout the years and its ok. But the minute WE start discussing what happened to us and how RELIGION is one of the main culprits, even atheists try to downplay it. WTF! Or we get labeled as angry or militant. It's like we have to acknowledge and share in everyone elses pain but we don't have a right to express what we feel about our plight. How dare we have a slight attitude about it all.
And these guys werent white. They were other brown races. It's like they come over here from these third world countries and they decide to step in black peoples asses just like racist white folks. Its insane!
What I'm trying to say, I guess, is its not enough to connect with other atheists. But, it is imperative that whoever we get with is sensitive to the african american plight in this country. In my opinion its worst than the holocost because shit is still happening to us and we have a right to talk about it.
I don't think you're alone in your thoughts, Jessica. I have not read it, but have read several very positive reviews (here's one) of Sikivu Hutchinson's new book Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars.
Hutchinson appears to be talking about a lot of the same topics you guys bring up in this thread.
I think the history makes it pretty clear that religion was used as part of the whole slavery process.
Jessica, you're going to find quite a few people uncomfortable talking about the subject of slavery and religion. People of other ethnic groups share the commonality of historic oppression by others, using religion as the tool of oppression and domination. Be it the Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans and Europeans, religion has been used as a weapon of destruction/domination against them. Everyone has a story to tell.
I am two generations removed from slavery. My grandmother, and other elder members of my family, whose parents were slaves, did not share in those stories passed on to them. It was a source of shame. So today, you have an overwhelming majority in the black community that knows nothing of the African diaspora. Yes, religion coupled with violence was a combination that allowed others to maintain control of their slaves, but in the same breath I think that it is very important to acknowledge the role of religion in getting our ancestors out of bondage. If it were not for the Quakers, and their religious/moral convictions, the abolitionist movement would never have come about. I remember Jim Crow and the segregated South, with the assortment of other indignities that came with it. Although atheists were part of the civil rights movement, the movement was spearheaded by deeply religious christians, jews and muslims, some who gave their lives.
As Christopher Hitchens says "Religion Ruins Everything!" and to a greater extent, he is totally correct. But, as the descendant of North American slaves, I really want to express my gratitude to those religious people past and present, who stand up for human rights. Jessica, the Jews continue to acknowledge the Holocaust with the saying "Never Again!" The Armenians acknowledge their genocide, and we have the right and responsibility to acknowledge our history which includes slavery. Never stop talking about it, regardless of what others think.
In our human lifespan, we know our parents and our grand-parents, and some of us our great-grand-parents. Harms experienced by any members of our families are felt by us. I spent 6 months in South Africa 9 years after the "end" of Apartheid and caucasians were constantly complaining about how 'coloured' (S.African term for all non Caucasians) people needed to just forget the past and move on. That is a ridiculous statement.
How long is 'the present'? WHEN is the past??? Is the past yesterday? Is the past last year?
I say the 'present' is any period of time that has an effect on any member of our contemporary family. The 'present' is three to four generations within a family. The 'present' is people we have known. Therefore the 'past' is times beyond 3-4 generations.
Slavery is barely reaching that time status. Official segregation was still around til the late sixties. These matters are still 'the present'. The people who perpetrated these crimes are still running around in complete freedom, these bigots are within our midsts. Just as First Nations people in Canada and Australia were fucked up the ass by religion in residential schools right into the seventies. This matter is still in the present. To expect people to "just get over it" is completely unreasonable.
So when you say 100 til people stop using these arguments... You're probably nearly right... but it's not arbitrary time... It is human time. Is there a difference between an alcoholic who's been dry for a week and one who's been dry for 30 years, hell yes :)Until civilisation can demonstrate that bigotry has been gone for the long term, it means nothing to simply make a law and say: "things will get better, in the future".
Personally, I expect much more militancy than I see. Religion has been a major force is reducing militancy, to great benefit to the powers that be. And it is not surprising that the first black man to rise to power in the US is not from a slavery background, he was raised in a different culture. From this there is much to learn.
damn right you are a angry, black , intelligent, militant. and as Duke Ellington said "love you madly"
we need more Black women like you!!
I will admit, when I was young I dated only light skin long haired black woman. I didn't like dred locs or short hair. Not until I acquired African centered thought process did I notice the problem.
Many brothers suffer from this illness and not until we let go of our indoctrination will open our eyes. Christianity is not the only indoctrination we as Africans world wide suffer from