Me again,


I was poking around in the old discussion threads and didn't see this question get brought up. I am a member of Centre for Inquiry in my home town of Vancouver. It's a secular activism and education group that connects me to many other local freethinkers. I am the only black person in the group, although there are several people of colour who attend regularly.


There are many organized freethought groups in North America - off the top of my head I am thinking of CFI, American Atheists, Freedom From Religion Foundation... there are many more. A common question that people in the organized freethought world have is "why isn't there more participation from people of colour in organized freethought?"


While there are many hypotheses, few people actually ask people of colour. Folks like Debbie Goddard (of CFI) and myself offer opinions, but obviously no one person can really know the full answer. The conversation then usually gets side-tracked into "why do you want to de-convert all the black people? You're just as bad as the religious!" which is a red herring, because what the question asks is why atheists of colour aren't coming out to events, not why people of colour are more religious.


Anyway, I thought I would throw these two questions out to the forum:


1) If you are not a member of an organized freethinkers group, why not? Is there a particular reason, or are you just not interested?


2) If you are, what are your reasons for being involved? Have there been any barriers you've faced because of your race? Are there things that organized freethought groups can do better to attract more black freethinkers?


I would like to use some of these answers on my blog which is now available on the FreeThoughtBlogs collective.

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Ironically enough I had found your blog right before this email lol. I think I just posted on one I'm not too sure because it didn't show up although it's quite possible that I simply made a mistake when trying to post. (I've been awake for way too long basically)


Anyways in answer to your question. I'm currently not a member of a group and it's really just because with school and a lack of a reliable ride I just cannot, at this time, contribute the time, energy, and resources to become a part of a group at the moment. Although I will say once I get settled in someplace I will definitely do my best to try and here's to hoping that the process won't be awkward lol.

I am a member of American Atheists, Brights, etc. The most significant barrier I've faced in becoming more active in freethought groups is that of my wife (Christian). There was some definite pain when I went from being more of a laissez-faire atheist, to a more outspoken and involved atheist. All of a sudden, THAT word became a source of pain and sorrow for her. Of course, I have always been an atheist, but now that I was becoming more aware of the detriments of religion and wanted to be more active and vocal in protesting religious incursions on secular ground/SOCS, it became a much larger issue. That has relented some, as we've both come to positions of compromise, but it is still a big speed bump, if not a road block. Having said that, I've found that I don't really relish participating in many freethought functions (meetups, etc.), and get most of my atheistic 'fix' from youtube videos of Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and other youtube atheists. I support the interest groups financially and if there were some local events such as protests, I would definitely consider getting involved, but the truth is I have trouble enough finding time to do the things that I REALLY enjoy, btwn work, family and hobbies.




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