Black Atheists Hold Convention to Express These Concerning Issues
Black atheists who feel their opinions are not adequately represented in the larger atheist communities held their own conference to express their concerns.
While atheists generally consider themselves an accepting people, black atheists have decided their concerns are not being reasonably heard. They met at the Moving Social Justice conference to share and promote their own ideas and goals for society. Disappointed with the minority representation at most atheist gatherings, leaders in the black atheists community decided to hold their own convention to focus on issues that they felt were not sufficiently represented in the white dominated mainstream atheism.
Their concerns primarily focus on battling social and economic inequalities that they feel are highly prevalent in modern culture. Other topics that are important to many black atheists include reducing the number of children heading directly from school to prison and removing racial prejudices and homophobia. Many of the communities coming together simply desire to provide for their children by earning enough money to purchase school clothing, food, and other necessities.
It’s Not All Separation of Church and State
Sikivu Hutchinson founded the Black Skeptics Los Angeles group and helped host the event. She summed up the need for louder minority representation within the atheist community saying, “Atheism is not a monolithic, monochromatic movement. By addressing issues that are culturally and politically relevant to communities of color, we are addressing a range of things that are not typically addressed within the mainstream atheist movement.” Atheists should reach out to members of the community and hear and respond to their needs. Hutchinson continued, “There are people in our community that, while they may not believe in God, they are only going to sit down and listen to you talk about separation of church and state for so long. What is really on their mind is decent housing, feeding their children and affording school clothes.”
Help from Religion
Surprisingly, some speakers included religious leaders for multiple significant reasons. Both religious and nonreligious groups are fighting for equality among the population, and the organizers of the conference stated that their communities simply do not maintain enough financial resources to branch out on their own, so black atheists must collaborate with religiously affiliated institutions to help collect the necessary funding for such events.
The atheist following among minorities is quite small, so many may feel left out of the common political discussion. For example, black atheists maintain just three percent of the atheist population, while over eighty percent is white. However, their opinions on social and economic issues often align with those of many other, larger groups of people, including racially unspecific atheists, civil rights organizations, and even religion based institutions. Instead of creating a specific conference delegated solely to their following, they would likely see more success by combining with more well-known organizations with similar ideals, rather than minimizing themselves with a specific label.