Wrath James White offers these insightful thoughts on why Black atheists are almost nowhere to be found:
In these [African American] communities you find more tolerance towards gangbangers, drug addicts, and prostitutes, who pray to God for forgiveness than for honest productive citizens who deny the existence of God. This, for me, is one of the most embarrassing elements of Black culture, our zealous embracement of the God of our kidnappers, murderers, slavemasters and oppressors.
It’s also tough to get involved with “Black Culture” if you’re not religious:
The prevalence of Christian ideology in Black Culture creates a very difficult dilemma for a Black Atheist. Our skepticism must often remain hidden for fear of exclusion. When religion comes up we tend to stay mum or quickly change the subject. Those who are more vocal soon find themselves ostracized and isolated. When it comes to our relationships with the opposite sex we often find our choices limited by mates who are looking for a “good Christian man” or woman. Community activism, particularly Civil rights groups, tend to be dominated by religious organizations, making it difficult for an admitted atheist to even participate in any organized way in the betterment of the race. Politics, likewise, are dominated by the religious-minded. If you expect the Black vote than you had better be a Christian.
And, of course, you have to deal with the women in your life…:
For most Black men, the idea of telling our mothers and grandmothers that we no longer believe in god, and thus breaking their hearts, is a painful situation to even contemplate. This is undoubtedly true in many cultures, but it is doubly true in the Black culture. This is one of the main reasons many Black Atheists tend to stay underground and in the closet.
Very powerful piece.