We Don’t Have a Problem. Nope! Not at All!


One of the main problems with the Atheist Community with regards to minorities is the often explicit racism we face.

And none more so in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict. While poking through the Facebook Fights that ensued I came across this charming  number from some “atheists”.

Stay Classy

I wonder why there are so few of us when people like this exist within our ranks.

Stay Classy America. Justice was served, but that isn’t something to be happy about.

Comments

  1. says

    Wow, yeah. I can’t IMAGINE why any racial minorities might feel a teensy bit alienated from a community that doesn’t smack people down for posting shit like that.

  2. abear says

    How did you determine that a person that honestly self-identifies as an atheist posted that picture?
    It looks to me that it could be someone trying to discredit atheists or a sub-group of them.
    Having said that,it could very well be an atheist that also happens to be a rascist and a moron. That doesn’t mean that as an atheist he/she and I belong to the same community.
    Not all atheists are humanist, feminist or for that matter rationalist.
    I hope the intent of this picture isn’t to paint atheists as a gang of rascist goofs!

  3. Anthony K says

    I hope the intent of this picture isn’t to paint atheists as a gang of rascist goofs!

    Shorter abear:

    We Don’t Have a Problem. Nope! Not at All!

    That was almost eerie how you did that, Avicenna.

  4. says

    It looks to me that it could be someone trying to discredit atheists or a sub-group of them.

    Right. That’s the most parsimonious explanation – that saying “I’m an atheist” is a magical mental prophylactic against a lifetime’s worth of exposure to subtle and blatant racial stereotypes and prejudices, and therefore whenever you see an atheist saying racist shit, they’re probably not really an atheist, but just pretending to be one to discredit atheists.

    Teach us more about skepticism, abear! *spits*

  5. brucegee1962 says

    As atheism starts to be a bigger and bigger tent, inevitably more and more jerks are going to start wandering in. That pretty much goes along with being a part of any large movement, whether it be feminism, progressive politics, or whatever. A certain percentage of humans are vile, thus probably about the same percentage of most subgroups will be vile.

    I’d actually go a bit farther. I would say that in just about every single group I’ve gotten to know — from fundamentalist Christians to Muslims to atheists, black and white and red, old and young, rich and poor — the percentage of nice people and jerks is just about the same. (Maybe a few more of the rich are jerks, but that’s been backed up by some studies recently.) That’s what I’d tell anyone who applies the poster of that picture to all atheists, anyway.

    Yes, the horrible person who posted that picture is a disgrace to every single group he belongs to, up to and including the human race and possibly also including mammals and chordates. But what can we do — have a meeting of the central committee and revoke his atheism card?

    The entire extent of my involvement in “the movement” is posting comments in other people’s blogs, so that’s what I’ll do here. Plus, try to treat everyone with the respect they deserve, regardless of external characteristics.

  6. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    To everyone that has or inevitably will turn up here saying “yes, but there are arseholes everywhere, what are we supposed to do about it? Xe wasn’t a TRUE atheist, atheism isn’t a monolithic thing,..” yadda yadda et cetera

    What we’re supposed to do is this. React.
    Yes, on average, every group is going to have members who have nasty, bigoted views on certain topics. No, we can’t just eject them from the group, obviously. What we -can- do is show very clearly exactly how wrong and disgusting and harmful this kind of bullshit thinking is. Loudly, in public, preferably on a large platform.
    Hence this post, and doubtless the others which will spring up condemning the foul bigotry that prompted the person to post it in the first place.

    Shine a spotlight on this horrible crap so that onlookers can see it clearly, form their opinions and hopefully decide that it’s reprehensible enough to want to clean it up. It separates us from the people who cover it up, deny its existence, try to re-spin it so it’s somehow less offensive, accuse people who point to it of being the “real” racists, say it’s just a joke or that the people opposed to it are overreacting. Like they all usually do, sadly.

  7. says

    Out of curiosity, I wondered what asshole came up with this. A google search for “Tampa Chimp Out” turns up a den of the most digusting white supremacist sites I have ever seen. I literally saw n****r more times on one page than I have heard or seen in my 37 years.
    And no, abear, finding that image (and other racist imagery) does not mean atheists don’t embrace this crap. There are atheists who are homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, and more. As evidenced by the Slymepit, being an atheist does not make one automagically a critical thinker or a better person.

  8. John Phillips, FCD says

    Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion #8

    QFT

  9. says

    Sophia:
    Calling it out?
    Shine a light on it?
    I like that idea.
    This crap simply is not acceptable and gets normalized by not being criticized.

    Just made a FB status update calling out the blatant racism of one site that carries the image in the OP.

  10. firsttimereader says

    I think the problem here is that we do not really know much about the source.

    I’m gonna assume it’s anonymous, cos nobody in the US is gonna own up to that kind of thing.

    Also, I really don’t think it’s that unlikely that some Christian or other is throwing it in there and having a chuckle as we fight each other.

    Tony @9, yes indeed, I imagine searching for those words would result in a not very pleasant time.

    I quite often, while following some blog post or youtube video criticizing Islam, can find myself in places where I really can’t begin to understand some of the racist shit that is being spoken by some people.

    Pat Condell is a good example, now I only watched a few of his videos, and at first sight he seems to have no racist intent, and I hear that he has made similarly caustic attacks on Christians.

    But then you look into the comment section. Heck, that’s a cesspit. And he has a large following, he clearly knows many of his “followers” are racist, but he takes the money and doesn’t seem to want to criticize them.

    I didn’t wait around long enough to get a deeper understanding of his motives, its just put me right off him for good.

    I have heard though that black atheist groups are growing in the US. They have a really good forum if I remember, but I lost the link.

  11. says

    Let’s stop pouncing on abear long enough to remember one thing: the kind of thing he’s alleging has happened before, countless times, and not just in the USA. There are people who have no problem doing what abear insinuates, and no problem demonizing, defaming and lying about atheists in a variety of other ways as well — and the Internet just makes it easier.

    Do you really think the people who keep on saying “atheists don’t have morals” and “atheism = Stalinism” would really have a problem with posting racist crap on an atheist site? Abear’s insinuation may not be true, but it sure is plausible.

    I don’t think abear is trying to pretend that atheists don’t have a problem wtih racism. But I also don’t think we should forget that we also have a problem with systematic bigoted propaganda from our opponents.

  12. kestra says

    “I’m gonna assume it’s anonymous, cos nobody in the US is gonna own up to that kind of thing.”

    Oh, firsttimereader, I envy your naivete. I have heard plenty of people (people I’m related to, even!) voice opinions that are just as racist or bigoted as the attitude behind that picture, even knowing I’m one of those “PC liberal no-fun feminists!”. Surely you’ve had that one Facebook friend/relative that you’ve had to hide from your feed because they keep posting pictures of watermelons growing in front of the White House and similar shit? No? Then, wow, I’m envious of your friendgroup.

    Also, regarding Pat Condell, um, he is part of the English Defense League. And regarding the EDL, well, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDLFmPowPlk

  13. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    Which is more likely, that this is some sort of conspiracy to discredit atheists or that our community is just as likely to have racists as it is to have misogynists? Asshats are still claiming that feminist bloggers are receiving rape and death threats from outside of the a/s community.even though it is quite clear that there is a number of vile misogynists in these communities and these bloggers aren’t widely know outside of our community. Are people now going to make the same claims about racism? This is so stupid. Of course there are racist atheists. We are a part of the larger culture and not immune from its influence.

    There is no need to pretend these people don’t exist. They do and when they get called out, you can bet they’ll complain of DEEP RIFTS.

  14. says

    It really doesn’t matter what the intention of the person who posted this was. Whether they were a shit-stirring agent provocateur or a sincerely racist atheist, it’s still racist as fuck and the damage to people of color is the same.

    Failing to condemn it for whatever reason makes you no better than the person posting it. “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.”

    So don’t give me any more bullshit about discrediting atheists. The ONLY thing that will discredit atheists is NOT CALLING BIGOTRY OUT WHEN YOU SEE IT.

  15. Anthony K says

    alleging has happened before, countless times, and not just in the USA. There are people who have no problem doing what abear insinuates, and no problem demonizing, defaming and lying about atheists in a variety of other ways as well — and the Internet just makes it easier.

    Do you really think the people who keep on saying “atheists don’t have morals” and “atheism = Stalinism” would really have a problem with posting racist crap on an atheist site? Abear’s insinuation may not be true, but it sure is plausible.

    I don’t think abear is trying to pretend that atheists don’t have a problem wtih racism. But I also don’t think we should forget that we also have a problem with systematic bigoted propaganda from our opponents.

    It’s worse than all that. There’s also a vocal contingent of people who are set on painting religion as particularly evil and pernicious. They’ve written books with hyperbolically polemic titles like God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything and The God Delusion. They’ve supported wars against believers. They’ve talked about the potential necessity of a nuclear first strike against countries like Iran. And they love the Internet, which as Raging Bee says, makes everything easier. So how can we know that the various child abuse scandals, acts of terrorism and extremism, and other examples of religious poison aren’t actually false flag operations undertaken by crypto-atheists? We can’t!

    [Head asplode gif from Scanners gets inserted by crypto-jock trying to paint Anthony K as a raving geek.]

  16. Melanie V says

    I cannot even comment articulately about this. I am nauseous just looking at this…

  17. says

    If this was done by an atheist (perfectly plausible IMHO), it’s disgusting. It gives atheists a bad reputation, and the cruelty to people of colour is far, far worse.

    If it was done to discredit atheists (perfectly plausible IMHO), it’s disgusting. It’s a vicious libel on atheists, and the cruelty to people of colour is far, far worse.

    I hope Trayvon Martin’s family don’t see it.

  18. abear says

    Just to let everyone know this; I don’t doubt that some “atheists” are also racist. It is a good thing to speak out against racism. I merely asked the question about how Avicenna was able to determine this person was an atheist.
    Some atheists are good people, some aren’t. Some have crappy reading comprehension and fly off the handle spitting insults at people that write things they probably would agree with if they made an attempt to apply a little thought first. Others claim to be skeptics but their outlook on life is shaped by socio-political dogma that they will never allow to be questioned without throwing giant tantrums and insults.
    Some atheists ( not singling out Avicenna here) write blogs and use hyperbole that paints atheists as morally worse than the average person.
    Yes there are boneheads in the atheist movement that should be criticized, let’s just try and do it right.

  19. says

    I merely asked the question about how Avicenna was able to determine this person was an atheist.

    You take people at their fucking word, unless you have solid evidence suggesting they are a liar. Like with everything else.

  20. abear says

    Sally Strange;
    People can be mistaken without lying and asking a person for the source of their information isn’t calling them a liar.
    Like “with everything else”, examining ideas for evidence and accuracy is a part of scientific method and skepticism. Uncritically believing statements is what dogmatists do.
    You really should try using critical thinking skills sometime. You might find it uncomfortable to discover some of your preconceptions are incorrect but in the long run it is a very good thing.

    PS: “You take people at their FUCKING word” – Tut tut, why are you so angry?

  21. says

    Tony: There are atheists who are homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, and more. As evidenced by the Slymepit, being an atheist does not make one automagically a critical thinker or a better person.

    Every time someone makes such claims, they also direct it at people they don’t even know. I read at the Slymepit and know that Tony’s claims aren’t true at all. I often feel unfairly attacked by the likes of #FTBullies and so far have done fairly nothing about it. I write my comment assuming that it won’t be allowed through moderation anyway.

    That is how it works. You folks make claims on your public blogs where they are often read by many people, you prevent your targets from telling their side of the story, or you allow it but make sure that they are crippled (depends on the host). Then you wonder when people tweet or write in their own forum (or blogs) or somewhere where you don’t have control (which is then consistently tabooed, with some comical rationalisation). In the meantime people have built up enough contempt that they ridicule and mock everything you do. Then Ally Fogg can report that it looks “one sided” to him. Once sufficient drama is created, you can claim that this is evidence that people are against whatever you claim to care for, pretending that it is what people oppose to and not your apparent douchiness. But it’s your douchiness.

  22. firsttimereader says

    Kestra@14.

    I don’t have anyone who posts racist content anywhere near my Facebook friends list. If that happened, I would just unfriend them and/or tell them to fuck off. Are you saying that you hide them instead. If so, you are not helping anyone.

    My reasoning is that no one is likely to post something like the above picture using their own name, because if they did, they are likely to be hunted down and attacked. They may also have legal issues, depending upon their location, although I don’t know US law very well.

    I know that some EDL supporters have copied and linked to Pat Condell’s content. It appears that he just takes the money and doesn’t condemn them as far as I have seen. That’s enough for me to stop viewing his channel, and file him under A for arsehole.

    I don’t know what you mean by Pat Condell being “part” of the EDL. I haven’t seen him attend marches or advocate on their behalf.

    The EDL doesn’t have members as such, the last I looked. This allows them to operate a website without a hint of racism, and spokespeople who do not say racist things, yet anyone can buy an EDL balaclava and take a photo of themselves with a swastika and such. It makes it difficult for the media to state that they are racists. (and the media do try very hard, or course). This doesn’t stop me thinking that they are racists, it’s the proving it that is the problem.

    They also employ tactics such as including a few Jews, Sikh’s and Black people amongst their supporters, and point to that as evidence of their lack of racism. There is at least one Sikh guy of Indian ethnicity that has spoken at their rallies. The Jewish supporters seem to be Zionists who often have their own hatred of Islam.

    I already subscribe to somegreybloke but others will be grateful I’m sure, as it is very funny stuff.

    I thought your comment was a little patronizing, but I’ve had worse, so no worries.

  23. believerskeptic says

    It’s amazing.

    If someone here on FTB starts a very hypothetical, very academic, “Gosh, does white privilege really exist?” sort of conversation, it will get 200+ comments.

    But a story like this that confronts a real, bona-fide example of racism in the atheist community? (Like Sally Strange suggests, I take the source at its word— it’s so not implausible for racist atheists to exist.) 28 lousy comments.

    It’s almost like people at FTB (Pharyngula in particular) like to engage in a lot of academic, philosophical masturbation as they try to one-up each other playing “language gotcha” (all the while, constantly using ableist language— people are always whining [though they could have depression], or being blind to an argument [as though actual blind people make it a practice to be willfully ignorant] of which they’re not aware) rather than confront examples of real racism.

    So, what the fuck, FTB regulars? If this picture (and, despite the fact that the link no longer works, you can still find it via a google archive) were equally heinous from a misogynist standpoint, there would be 200+ posts, full of torches-and-pitchforks righteous anger, ready to doxx this idiot and send him/her packing from the internet for good and all.

    But, yawn, this is racism. And racism isn’t really our issue here. Neither is ableism. Neither is group mental coercion. Sure, we pay lip service here at the FTB— we always throw “racism” on that list— it’s always #1, 2 or 3 along with misogyny and homophobia— and lord knows, we’re ready to engage with a fine philosophical discussion about hypothetical racism against hypothetical minority people, especially if it entails precious opportunities to advance in the neverending “FTB Gotcha Contest.” (Oooh, he said “don’t be a peckerhead”— RUSH RUSH RUSH to be the very, very first point out that “peckerhead” is gendered! Gotcha! Yawn.)

    Faced with an ugly, actual example of real racism? FTB folds its tent. 28 miserable posts since July.

    So where are the torches and pitchforks? Let’s doxx this idiot and send him/her packing from the internet for good and all. What do you say?

    I get that PZ’s horde is a nice, comfy place for a lot of people, but PZ isn’t the only blog on here. If the well-meaning (and remember, intentions are not magic) PZ horde is so committed to anti-racism, why does Siviku Hutchinson’s essay— the most recent essay on Black Skeptics— have at this writing a double-digit comment count? PZ’s cartoon on the theoretical existence of white privilege gets triple-digit posts in a day, but the most recent Black Skeptics article on FTB requires a week to get 68 whopping comments.

    It couldn’t have anything to do with PZ being a white man and Siviku Hutchinson being a black woman, could it? Gosh, could some of your reading and posting interests be formed by racism and sexism? The gotcha’s on the other foot now, isn’t it?

    How about some of you well-meaning (but intentions aren’t magic) FTB regulars stop having hypothetical discussions about hypothetical black people, and start reading and responding to the black people that actually exist right here on FTB?

    I don’t have anyone who posts racist content anywhere near my Facebook friends list. If that happened, I would just unfriend them and/or tell them to fuck off. Are you saying that you hide them instead. If so, you are not helping anyone.

    I unfriended my own brother and told him to fuck off for exactly this reason. I added that I didn’t want his views to poison my six-year-old son’s world.

  24. PatrickG says

    believerskeptic:

    If you haven’t noticed, the common thread in the 200+ comment threads? Trolls, uberskeptics, and the like.

    If you look around, you’ll realize that people here are involved in any number of outside-FTB activities. I, for one, design and maintain websites for local abortion-access and feminist groups. And I’m probably the least active of the commenters here.

    Look, I know you got called out in the other thread because you pushed your podcast again. Do you understand that traffic here has been heavy lately and a lot of assholes have been muddying the waters? People are justifiably irritable, and it’s simply not about you.

    Please, please stop making it about you?

    It couldn’t have anything to do with PZ being a white man and Siviku Hutchinson being a black woman, could it? Gosh, could some of your reading and posting interests be formed by racism and sexism? The gotcha’s on the other foot now, isn’t it?

    Really? You do know you’re not at Siviku Hutchinson’s blog, right? Are you honestly roaming the bloggers here attempting to start shit? Do you now understand why people think you’re a self-promoting troll?

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