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May 22 2013

Why would you open on such a hostile note?

I’m belatedly listening to Citizen Radio on Women in Secularism 2. It starts 16 minutes in. It’s as good as everyone said it is.

Update. Great line. Jamie Kilstein:

If Ron LIndsay was opening an NAACP conference, he’d be the guy who’s like, “Welcome! WHERE’S WHITE HISTORY MONTH?”

24 comments

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  1. 1
    hjhornbeck

    No, no, no, Kilstein, he would be more like:

    “Happy non-welcome! What’s an African-American? Nobody knows! And seriously, what’s up with all the people trying to silence whites? Now I’m just gonna talk for a while, since my organization is a sponsor. Isn’t it cool that I support you?”

    Tsk, kids these days are getting lazy with their satire…

  2. 2
    Andrew B.

    Or “Hey, hey, if you’re really interested in equality, why is your organization about the advancement of ‘Colored People’ only? Why not the advancement ALL people?” And “why is advocating ‘Black Pride’ acceptable but advocating ‘white pride’ not? Reverse Racism, anyone?”

    Even Vacula and his friends would laugh at such obliviousness, but it’s not easy to see the difference with gender.

  3. 3
    Argle Bargle

    “I’d like to say ‘hi’ but you people aren’t quite worthy of my greetings. So instead of a salutation, I’ll explain what you people need to do to become deserving of my compliments.”

  4. 4
    Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

    “Welcome! We are all Africans!”

  5. 5
    Suido

    “I’d say hi, but I’m so post-racist and colourblind that I don’t know which of you are actually black. So, if you could all just let the white people talk, I won’t accidentally tell a white person to shut up.”

  6. 6
    Dave Ricks

    To roughly transcribe Kilstein at 27:00, CFI had all these women who paid all this money to attend, and they wanna pay more money as a fundraiser, but the CEO just wants to placate ten trolls on Twitter.

    I’m drafting my email to the CFI board (with the contact info from Greta Christina’s blog), and this at least makes me laugh while I’m working out my own position.

  7. 7
    Kate

    Also “Isn’t white a color?!”.

  8. 8
    Erin (formerly--formally?-- known as EEB)

    Hey, I’ve thought from the beginning that Lindsay is acting like Rand Paul at Howard (or even Romney at the NAACP). Remember a while back, when Senator Paul went to Howard, and stood in front of students at a prestigious HBCU to give them a condescending (and inaccurate) lecture about civil rights? And then afterwards, when criticized, responded that it was just so unfair that a white guy couldn’t talk about civil rights (like that was the issue), and they were just being racist. And, like Romney after talking to the NAACP, seemed to think he should just get credit for showing up and gracing them with his presence.

    Ugh. It’s really disturbing to me that I can easily compare the head of CFI to Rand Paul. Also, sad. I don’t expect Rand Paul to ever listen to criticism and rethink his positions–but goddamnit, that is not appropriate behavior from people who call themselves critical thinkers, especially leaders in the movement.

  9. 9
    Jackie the wacky

    Jamie and Allison are amazing! I’m listening to Citizen Radio right now.

  10. 10
    Anthony K

    It’s really disturbing to me that I can easily compare the head of CFI to Rand Paul.

    Why should that be surprising? Libertarians is as libertarians does.

    (I dunno if Ron Lindsey is actually a libertarian, but the skeptical community, including its leaders, is absolutely lousy with people who eschew evidence in favour of their pet economic fantasy. Try suggesting to skeptical organisations that they could save many more lives by advocating for social safety nets and universal access to health care than trolling Jenny McCarthy and see how far you get.)

  11. 11
    ewanmacdonald

    I know there are a lot of good people at CFI, but with Ron Lindsay running the show and the ceaseless myopic idiocy of Ben Radford filling its pages, I can’t take it seriously as an organization anymore.

    Podcast was amazing.

  12. 12
    Erin (formerly--formally?-- known as EEB)

    @ Anthony

    Yeah, that’s true. I guess I hadn’t associated Ron Lindsay with the Libertarian wing of the community. The few things I’ve read from him in the past have seemed pretty reasonable. I really didn’t expect this from him, which makes it more disappointing.

    Well. I guess I mean I didn’t expect his over-the-top response to criticism. I really gave him the benefit of the doubt, initially, because everyone says stupid shit, especially when first engaging in supportive or ally work with a community you lack familiarity with. (I’d mention privilege, here, but apparently that’s Off Limits for discussion, now.) Lord knows I’ve said stupid and hurtful things, and as much as I’d like to think I’ll never make that mistake again, I probably will in the future. It’s how you deal with it that’s the important thing, and Lindsay seriously failed that test of character.

  13. 13
    smhll

    Well. I guess I mean I didn’t expect his over-the-top response to criticism. I really gave him the benefit of the doubt, initially, because everyone says stupid shit, especially when first engaging in supportive or ally work with a community you lack familiarity with. (I’d mention privilege, here, but apparently that’s Off Limits for discussion, now.)

    What amuses me is that where Lindsay links to 3 examples of “shut up and listen”, the example from John Scalzi’s blog has some really good text explaining the process of everyone saying stupid shit, and then if they talk less and listen more, they learn to say less stupid stuff. (And the other two links, to Myers and a DailyKos blogger, also have good content. People who hate the word ‘privilege’ would benefit from carefully reading the links that Lindsay gave.)

  14. 14
  15. 15
    Anthony K

    Ron Lindsay apologized to Rebecca Watson

    …and disabled the commenting.

    I swear to fucking god, on average, big name professional skeptics are some of the worst examples of human beings I’ve ever seen.

    They’re about on par with politicians, but minus the integrity, honesty and bravery.

  16. 16
    PatrickG

    Ron Lindsay apologized to Rebecca Watson

    For comparing her speech to a press release from North Korea. That’s it. Quoted:

    In my blog post of May 18, I complained about Ms. Rebecca Watson’s characterization of my May 17 talk. In doing so, I expressed my points in intemperate language, e.g., the comparison of her blog post to a press communication from North Korea, and for that I unqualifiedly apologize. This apology has been conveyed to Ms. Watson.

    He steadfastly maintains that she “mischaracterized” him, and leaves it to the CFI board to determine whether his talk was “contemptuous of women” among other options.

    I’d have to go reread a number of things to be sure, but I don’t recall anyone alleging he was contemptuous of women. Patronizing, ill-informed, and with an unbelievable lack of self-awareness (not to mention timing!), yes. Where is he getting that canard?

  17. 17
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    No, Ron did not apologize to Rebecca. He notpologized for his “intemperate” language. He’s apologizing for picking up the wrong fork while ignoring that he puked in the soup tureen.

  18. 18
    Dave W

    Josh @17: Good point. Mind if I share your comment on my big list of links about this mess?

  19. 19
    Erin (formerly--formally?-- known as EEB)

    @ Josh, #17

    This seems to be a consistent problem with him. Reading his initial response (the “Watson’s World…” post), I get the impression that he thinks people are upset because, *gasp*, a white man dared to talk about feminism, which, uh, no. No, that is not what people are mad about. (Also, as others have said, way to ignore he mounds of other criticism to pile on Rebecca Watson, who certainly doesn’t need to be more of a target. On the other hand, she’s proven to be a lot tougher than many leaders in the secular community. ::cough::Shermer::cough::)

  20. 20
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Feel free, Dave W.

  21. 21
    Dave W

    Thanks!

  22. 22
    Ichthyic

    “I’d say hi, but I’m so post-racist and colourblind that I don’t know which of you are actually black. So, if you could all just let the white people talk, I won’t accidentally tell a white person to shut up.”

    yeah, I think that’s a winner.

  23. 23
    Dave Ricks

    For PatrickG at 16, Greta Christina said the talk was insulting and contemptuous.

  24. 24
    PatrickG

    @ Dave Ricks:

    Well, that just kind of makes Lindsay’s blind spot even more enormous, doesn’t it?

    When I re-read Greta Christina’s remarks, I get the impression she thought the address was contemptuous of the people listening to him. You know, that whole lecturing people who work in a particular field — while simultaneously acknowledging that his knowledge of that field was imperfect — on the state of that field and appropriate conversation within that field. Nothing in that post indicates that he was “contemptuous of women”.

    Quite possibly some random blog commenter somewhere stated that Lindsay was contemptuous of women. But I still haven’t seen anything by any prominent person in the atheist/secularist movement that claims such.

    So where on earth is he getting this as a question that needs to be addressed by the board?

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