‘When Was the Last Time You Met a Black Atheist?’ July 17, 2012

‘When Was the Last Time You Met a Black Atheist?’

Director Angela Tucker has been putting out a video series called “Black Folk Don’t…” which offers a funny, serious, honest look at black perspectives on a variety of often-stereotypical issues.

Black Folk Don’t: Swim.

Black Folk Don’t: Have Eating disorders.

Black Folk Don’t: Go to Therapy.

And, as of today, Black Folk Don’t: Do Atheism:

Don’t get mad as you watch it. Just listen to what they say, even if you know it’s untrue, and find out what black atheists are up against. A lot of the soundbytes actually speak in favor of atheism. (Plus, professor Anthony Pinn gets a nice shout-out in the video!)

While black atheists are a minority within a minority, it should be noted that there are efforts to form communities for them, including African Americans for Humanism, a number of local/campus groups around the country, and even a subreddit.

Given the secular history of the Harlem Renaissance, it’s amazing how much religion and the black community are still intertwined, but that can change as more black people speak openly about their non-belief.

In case you’re interested, there’s a Q&A with the director of the video tomorrow.

(via Indiewire)

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  •  where were African American atheists @ Reason Rally? I mean speakers, not entertainment?

  • #Grand Unified is full of Black Atheists.

  • LesterBallard

    I’ve come across Christians who have claimed that because you don’t see African American atheists, it means atheists are racist, and atheism itself is racist. Great thinkers, aren’t they?

  • dearestlouise

    I can’t believe Meek Mill (rapper) hasn’t been blogged about yet. He recently made the statement he doesn’t believe in God and it was trending on Twitter the other night. 


  • Tainda

    Greydon Square is an atheist and most of his material is about the evils of religion.

  • Xtort1998

    Nice try Lester.  Because there are not many visible atheists of color – it does appear that the community is largely white, hetero, able bodied, cis-gendered males.  With that particular group of people, there is the unfortunate case of white privilege and white cluelessness.  So atheism is not racist.  The atheists * may very well be. By refusing to acknowledge the hierarchy
    of race, class and gender in the United States, those in the position
    of dominance and power are able to downplay and ignore the realities of
    oppression.There is not one solution to these complex and compounding
    issues, and it takes lifetime commitments of vigilant challenging and
    unlearning of oppressive behaviors.

  • Wallace Chantal

    Jamila Bey spoke at Reason Rally.

  • Just goes to show that religion is culture, not truth.

  • many Democrats make the same argument about the Tea Party.  Humans tend towards idiocy in general I think….

  • Did you miss the rapper Rational Warrior?  I really enjoyed his music:

  • Although he falls under entertainment, his lyrics are as good an many of the speeches.  Plus, there were plenty of Black attendees.

  • LesterBallard

    True, but I wonder if, you took an equal number of Tea Party members and an equal number of atheists, in which group would you find the most racists?

  • There’s a YouTube out there of a panel discussion about atheism at Howard University where Richard Dawkins was the only non-Black person. The highlight for me was when the panel’s moderator pointed out RD’s “We are all Africans” shirt and remarks, “That’s easy for you to say. You were born in Kenya.”

  • Blanc_Slate

    I’m a black atheist and like the video noted, I don’t advertise that fact, though I bring it up when religion is the subject matter. But I have to say, I don’t think the civil rights movement would have been a success in the late 60s had blacks been irreligious. Hell, the great majority of white america were religious themselves and with that being the case, it would have been very unlikely that they heeded the message for civil rights led by a group of white nonbelievers, let alone black nonbelievers. So in short, black americans needed religion on their side to succeed in that monumental social movement.

  • Blanc_Slate

    I’m not so sure about that. I heard the audio with him and the pastor and what he said is actually a subject of debate. One group is saying that Meek stated the follow: “I don’t believe in any of that stuff, I only believe in God.” The way he said it made it sound like he said “I don’t even believe in God,” which is what the other group is saying he stated. Plus, he made a song titled “Amen” in which he thanks his God for a number of things, so my guess is he may be anti-religion but the verdict’s still out on whether he’s in fact anti-god. 

  • Interesting observation, and no doubt true… though very ironic in light of the fact that religion was a significant justification for slavery and segregation in this country for all those decades prior to the Civil Rights Movement!

  • Baby_Raptor

    No, Democrats make the same argument about the Teahadists because their actions and their words paint them as racist. Not because very few blacks joined up. 

  • dearestlouise

    Thanks for the clarification. I knew he had a song called “Amen”, but thought perhaps it was some sort of dig at religion and praying since it seemed to upset so many people. I know he essentially thanked God for what Christians would typically consider sins and mocks the church. 

    Perhaps Christians are just more out there than I thought; if he does believe in God it’s weird he thinks God blessed him with women, liquor, and drugs. 

  • I wrote a blog about this very thing recently. “A Minority Within a Minority Within a Minority” 

  • Xeon2000

    All the folks at my brother’s mega church are white republicans. 😛

  • Hellbound Alleee

    My introduction to internet atheism was one Reginald Finley, The Infidel Guy.

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