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Atheism Plus Website/ Library/ Resource Guide – Crowdsourcing!

IMPORTANT NOTE: This post has a different comment policy than my standard one. It’s at the end of the post. Please read it and respect it. Thanks.

Atheism plus logoAs many of you know, there’s this new game in Atheism town, called Atheism Plus. Started as a germ of an idea about wanting a new wave of atheism that focuses on atheism plus social justice, it has now crystallized as an online forum — a safe space for people to discuss how religion affects everyone and to apply skepticism and critical thinking to everything, including social issues like sexism, racism, GLBT issues, politics, poverty, and crime. The forum has a main forum, the place for on-topic discussion about atheism, humanism, skepticism, and social justice — and it also has an educational forum, where introductory questions about social justice issues will receive civil responses. (Important note: In internet discussions, when people are asking the same 101-level questions about basic social justice issues that have been asked and answered a thousand times — and you’re not sure if they sincerely want to know or are just JAQing off, and in either case you don’t want the conversation derailed to discuss the 101-level stuff — you can now redirect people to this forum! Neat, huh?)

But one of the key ideas from the beginning about Atheism Plus — or at least, about an Atheism Plus website — has been that it would contain a resource guide and library of information about social justice issues… especially as they intersect with atheism and skepticism.

I’ve taken this task on. Or at least, I’ve taken on the task of getting it started. And since I definitely don’t know everything there is to know about social justice, or even a fifth of everything there is to know about social justice, I thought I’d crowdsource a good chunk of it.

We are looking for:

* Lists of support and advocacy groups. (Example: Black Atheists of America.)
* Evidence-based research and data about social justice issues and marginalization. (Example: Psychological research about unconscious sexism.)
* Core writings (or videos, podcasts, whatever) with education about social justice issues. (Example: The Spoon Theory, on But You Don’t Look Sick)
* Probable subset of that: Core writings (or videos, podcasts, whatever) on privilege. (Example: The Male Privilege Checklist.)
* Core writings (or videos, podcasts, whatever) with practical how-to’s on diversity.
* Core writings about Atheism Plus itself: its inspiration, ideals, a FAQ, etc.

Any other categories that I’m missing?

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT COMMENTS: The comment policy for this post is different from my standard one. In this post, comments debating the general validity or value of Atheism Plus are not accepted. There are lots of other places to debate that, in this blog and elsewhere. This comment thread is for people who are already on board with Atheism Plus — or with its core values, regardless of whether they identify with the label or participate in the forum — and who want to share ideas about what should go in the library. Debates about the value or accuracy of particular items are okay (although if they start to derail or get unproductive, I may step in). But the focus of this comment thread is to pull this library together. Digressions from that topic will be firmly moderated: persistent digressors will be banned.

Thanks for understanding. Your time starts… now!

Comments

  1. says

    I suppose a link to Derailing for Dummies is a no brainer for 101 type discussions, however it appears that they have exceeded their bandwith! Is there something the A+ community could do to get that great resource back online?

  2. Paul says

    I would just say be a little careful, even selective about what types of issues you you will address. I think social justice is important to address in the atheist community, but recently I’ve seen a lot of social justice blogs start to address really odd fringe with no real world scientific basis. For example, trans-ethhnicity, people believing they were born the wrong race. People who believe specific celebrities are living in their head and it is discrimination to say otherwise, childfree folk who think it is unjust to have children near them, etc. I’m just saying, stick to the basic social justice issues like race, class, gender, lgbt, etc. For new social justice issues that arrive, there should really be some kind of review board for if you are going to make it officially an area covered by A+.

  3. OttawaFran says

    For categories, how about a database of A+ friendly bloggers – of all sizes, languages. Could become quite huge though – maybe hosted separately.

  4. Pteryxx says

    Looks like the Pharyngula social justice wiki’s still in the spam filter. Here’s another try:

    pharyngula. wikia. com/ wiki/ Feminist_link_roundup

  5. says

    I have to recommend the Godless Bitches podcast.

    Not only do they cover all topics at the intersection of feminism and atheism, but they’ve also talked about trans issues, class issues, and more.

    The podcast is less polished than others, but the content is excellent and thoughtful.

  6. trinioler says

    Okay, can I please make a request of people?

    Try very very hard to find written text versions of whatever you’re posting.

    Videos and podcasts can be quite inaccessible to people with disabilities. Please consider making an effort to be inclusive of non able-bodied people.

    If there is a video you really think should be part of this corpus, but it lacks a transcript? Check out A+scribe’s new request page! Sign up, make your request, and we might transcribe it!

  7. Pteryxx says

    Videos and podcasts can be quite inaccessible to people with disabilities. Please consider making an effort to be inclusive of non able-bodied people.

    Expanding on this: Consider asking or nudging your favorite vloggers or podcasters to provide their own transcripts; and consider working with other fans to create transcripts if needed. Heck, maybe even volunteer for A+Scribe.

  8. Erista (aka Eris) says

    What 15/trinioler said. I had no idea how awful this problem was until the speakers on my computer died. I used to think, “Oh, the internet is mostly visually based, so it probably isn’t that big of a problem. Places like YouTube even have closed captioning!”

    Oh, how very wrong I was; my privilege had lead me to not realize just how often people linked to videos or podcasts which depended on being able to hear. Even worse, YouTube’s automatic captions (as opposed to transcribed by a person) are an abomination and made absolutely no sense whatsoever. I couldn’t even GUESS what the speaker was saying based on the captions because they weren’t even close. When I got speakers that worked again, I sat through some videos both with the captions on and the sound on, and sure enough, the captions bore no resemblance to what was actually being said.

    Podcasts are surely worse, as you get nothing at all if there isn’t a transcription.

    I now bear an intense appreciation for people who make up transcripts.

  9. jayyoung says

    Wow, lots of resources to post. And many of you are probably already familiar with these, but it’s good to have them all together.

    Privilege:
    Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (the piece that started it all. An essential starting point): http://ted.coe.wayne.edu/ele3600/mcintosh.html
    Straight privilege checklist: http://www.cs.earlham.edu/~hyrax/personal/files/student_res/straightprivilege.htm
    Shall We Talk About Privilege: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2008/09/12/shall-we-talk-about-privilege/
    How to Be a Good Ally. A good video explaining privilege and how to be an ally with marginalized groups: http://big-wired.livejournal.com/277857.html

    Race/Racism:
    Jane Elliott’s Blue Eye/Brown Eye experiment. If you haven’t watched this, you need to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf2LB0IG1xo/ Also, her website: http://www.janeelliott.com/
    Understanding Race. An essential resource that explains two key concepts- that race is not a biological reality, but is nonetheless a social construct that affects us: http://www.understandingrace.org/home.html
    10 Conversations on Racism I’m Sick of Having. An excellent essay that went viral about a year ago: http://www.peopleofcolororganize.com/analysis/opinion/10-conversations-racism-im-sick-having-white-people/
    How to Be a Reverse Racist. A funny, satirical essay: http://blackgirldangerous.tumblr.com/post/25932905078/how-to-be-a-reverse-racist-an-actual-step-by-step-list
    Tim Wise- an awesome anti-racist activist: http://www.timwise.org/

    Whew, a lot there. More later.

  10. Erista (aka Eris) says

    Example:

    Captions:
    Yes, ice suppose I switched from Christian the Fearsome to some sort of India’s in round about the age of 14 or 15 and then switched to a fee is around about the age of 16.

    What was really said:
    Yes, I suppose I switched from Christian theism to some sort of deism around about the age of 14 or 15 and then switched to atheism around about the age of 16.

    O_O

  11. says

    WTF are you all thinking? You surely must have a realization about how many times I (and yourselves) have said “Atheism is simply a lack of belief, nothing more”. How many times have you said (I lost count) in talking with theists, that Atheism is not a religion?

    Now you want to make it a political movement?
    Now you want to make it a social action movement? (again, it’s political activism we are talking about)

    Simply because you have certain political ideas, certain goals you hope to achieve (however noble) does not make it proper for you to co-opt the term Atheism for it.

    It has nothing to do with Atheism. Atheism is simply the lack of a belief in God. Atheism is not politics. You are attempting to put your personal politics into Atheism, and it just does not fit.

    If you want to have a political action group, an activist organization, go ahead, but why do you feel the need to saddle every Atheist on earth with your political viewpoint (which seems to get more complex and convoluted every time I read about it)?

    Then you want to “disown” all Atheists who do not agree with your personal political views? In the first place, who gave you ownership of all Atheists that you can disown them?

    Making Atheism a political action group is a bad idea, like mixing church and state. You are mixing your religious ideas (lack of religion) into politics and it does not pass the smell test.

    This seems to me as bad an idea as creationism.

    Incidentally, there is an Atheist Plus FB page which preexists your idea by a year or so and has nothing to do with your political agenda.

    The National Atheist Party is pursuing a political agenda which is first and foremost separation of church and state and has a mostly progressive platform. However when they chose their name they did not try to annex the term Atheism by simply adding a + sign to it. It is clear right away they are a political group.

    If you want to do this you should change the name, people are confused enough about what an Atheist is and is not. Adding all your political baggage to that confusion will not help. In fact, it will paint Conservative Atheists (I have met a couple) with your political views and may drive some back into the closet.

    If you have it your way, some young kid trying to come out to his parents as an Atheist will now have to also bear the burden of all your political views at the same time.

    This is an incredibly inconsiderate thing to inflict on all other Atheists, it is very theistic of you, like a command from on High.

    Don’t expect a lot of people to bow.

  12. says

    It is probably off topic (does someone else cover it?) but…
    Suggested topic(s): education.

    How to teach children critical thinking skills and an understanding of the scientific method (rather than just particular theories), hopefully in fun ways to keep them interested.

    Same with adults that may have developed some critical thinking skills but may have had a less than ideal education in that respect.

    I know it is not directly related to education about social justice and thus probably off topic to this post but good education is important in reducing inequalities.

    Some food for thought about it.

  13. Greta Christina says

    Re: davidblodgett @ #20: Readers of this post were explicitly warned — twice, and in bold letters — not to derail this comment thread with debates about the general validity or value of Atheism Plus. There are plenty of places to express these concerns, in this blog and elsewhere. And in fact, these concerns have been addressed, in this blog and elsewhere — most importantly in Jen McCreight’s FAQ, Responding to common misconceptions about Atheism+.

    Anyone who is so blatantly disrespectful of my right to keep certain threads limited to certain topics in my own blog, and who burns past those requests with such an extensive derail, is not welcome here. davidblodgett has been banned.

  14. says

    * Evidence-based research and data about social justice issues and marginalization. (Example: Psychological research about unconscious sexism.)

    I haven’t finished it yet, but the book “Delusions of Gender” by Cordelia Fine seems to fit the bill perfectly.

  15. says

    I am putting forward some writing of my own which may prove interesting and/or useful as a supplement to the values of Atheism+.

    (But I accept that they may be thought to be irrelevant to Atheism+ as a movement, or simply not be as useful as I have the arrogance to think!)

    For a few years I have put some flesh on the idea that we need to be making the world a more “Enlightened” place. Rather than just using an arm-waving definition, I have based this on Dimensions of Enlightenment. I consider that what we are all doing is fighting a War for Enlightenment over generations. Follow those links for lots more detail which may be useful as some sort of reference material.

    Fighting for Atheism is one of the battles in the war. So is fighting for social justice; and fighting for human rights and equality for women and LGBTs; and fighting for evidence-based reasoning in medicine; etc. All of these are at the Enlightened end of one or more of the Dimensions. Misogyny, misandry, patriarchy, and intolerance are at the Unenlightened end of the “empathy” Dimension.

    “Atheism+” can be thought of as the desire of people fighting the Atheism battle to ensure that they are compatible with those fighting other battles for Enlightenment. Or that the people fighting the Atheism battle adopt more Enlightened attitudes.

    So what I have been trying to do is provide a coherent context in which all of these movements (and more to come) can be seen to fit together and not become isolated from one-another. (For example, the “empathy” that belongs in Atheism+ should mean the same as the “empathy” considered by people pursuing social justice or feminism).

  16. Katy says

    Don’t often comment, although have begun to delurk on a few blogs lately, largely because I’ve been encouraged by the glimmerings of A+ before it even coalesced into a proper thing. I don’t have anything that useful to add here, but I thought I could offer my services as a transcriber, so I feel like I’m doing my bit. Tried to go to the link provided by trinioler at #15 and my system wouldn’t let me open the page because the security cetificate was for a different website. I’m at work, so can’t do anything to bypass it – is there another place I can sign up to volunteer?

  17. dicerosbicornis says

    May I request a category? Resources aimed at young people, roughly classified by age group (ie elementary, adolescent, young adult).

    There may already be resources in this category for atheism; if such a list exists, I don’t know about it. Surely when we talk about non-belief in god to young people, we talk about the kind of larger view that A+ represents.

    At least I hope we do!

  18. says

    I use The Spoon Theory so much to explain my Fibromyalgia to people. It’s been one of the best pieces of writing out there about chronic pain conditions.

    I posted a thread in the Education forum with this information, but for people who are looking for print resources, http://zinelibrary.info has a lot of zines scanned to read or print. On the left side there is a column with many topics that A+ is all about. For zines on queer issues the Queer Zine Archive Project is a good resources: http://qzap.org

  19. Pteryxx says

    Katy @25: apologies, we thought the certificate system had been fixed, but I’ll let trinioler know.

    You can also ask about volunteering for A+Scribe by sending an email to a.plus.scribe via the usual gmail (dot) com. No previous experience is necessary (though if you have some, we might ask YOU for advice!)

  20. says

    Greta,

    Even though it’s coming from a nominally religious source, the Unitarian Universalist Association has some excellent resources that could be adapted for atheist/freethinker settings:

    Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity 101
    http://www.uua.org/lgbtq/identity/index.shtml

    LGBT Books & Videos for Education and Discussion
    http://www.uua.org/lgbtq/discuss/index.shtml

    Ways to Deepen Your Congregation’s Welcome (” … welcoming to individuals and families regardless of sexual or affectional orientation, gender identity or expression, race or ethnicity, ability/disability, class, age, or language and citizenship status” – ideas that could be adaptable for atheist groups)
    http://www.uua.org/lgbtq/welcoming/ways/index.shtml

    Weaving the Fabric of Diversity: An Anti-Bias Program for Adults
    http://books.google.com/books/about/Weaving_the_Fabric_of_Diversity.html?id=HT4SxPth-KEC

    The secular sexuality and health education organization Advocates for Youth has resources on creating effective youth-adult partnerships where both youth and adult contributions are valued, youth empowerment is encouraged, unconscious ageism is addressed, etc:

    Youth-Adult Partnerships
    http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/workingwithyouth/910?task=view

    And here is one final recommendation for examining differences in power and privilege:

    Tools for White Guys who are Working for Social Change
    (and other people socialized in a society based on domination)
    http://www.bostoncoop.net/~balm/training/tools_for_white_guys.pdf

    Thanks,
    Steve

  21. Pteryxx says

    Suggestion for the resource page: general sex education. In many religious communities, and in USAnian culture and schools in particular, sex education’s absolutely abysmal. Folks can grow up and even live their whole lives without learning about consenting mutual pleasure, much less contraception, often enduring the damage to their bodies and relationships.

    Personally I’d also like sex ed to be appropriate for asking in the Education forum.

    Some resources suggested by the Pharyngula lounge:

    “The Joy of Sex” — and oldie but goodie — and there’s also “The Joy of Gay Sex,” “For Yourself” for women learning to pleasure themselves and enjoy sex, “Your Body–an Owner’s Manual,” and “What’s Happening to My Body” books for boys and girls. The last pair of books point out that what preteens and teens want to know is not necessarily about sex but what the heck is happening to them.

    In answer to the rather common question ‘but how can two women have sex?':

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesbian_sexual_practices

    Experienced, adult commenters in an erotica community give answers to a wide range of sex-related questions:

    http://www.erotica-readers.com/ERA/ITEM/Inside_The_Erotic_Mind.htm

    Teen-focused sex ed for the real world:

    http://www.scarleteen.com/

    Planned Parenthood also has an educational resource with starter discussion of relationships, body image, and sexuality as well as health topics and contraception.

    http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/

    http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control-4211.htm

  22. eean says

    what about skepticism? it’s one of the ‘pluses’ ! :)

    I know it wasn’t the straw which broke the camels back and incited the creation of atheism+, but certainly a benefit of Atheism+ is making it clear how we’re different from germ theory denialists like Bill Maher (winner of the 2009 Richard Dawkins Award.)

  23. Katy says

    Thanks Pterryx – I’ll drop them a line. No previous experience or advice to offer, but I can at least provide an extra pair of hands on the work.

  24. Siobhan Perricone says

    Kiva.org is great and has a lot of non-religious groups you can participate in while helping people around the world with micro-loans. One of the atheist groups even has a plug in you can add to identify the loan organizations with a religious mission so you can avoid loaning through them, if you want.

  25. Steve Caldwell says

    It looks like my post with some resource suggestions disappeared while it was in the moderated status.

    Thanks.

  26. Pen says

    Could there be a category for more academic stuff? I’m a historian so I’m kind of biased, but Linda Nochlin’s ‘Why have there been no great women artists?’ is a classic, and it taught me a lot that I’ve found transferable to other domains. Unfortunately it’s still relevant, to the questions of why there are no great women atheists, scientists, artists, you name it… There must be hundreds of books of this calibre out there.

    For those who don’t know, this book gets into the mechanisms by which privilege has been/is enforced in the art world – not so different from elsewhere.

  27. rrede says

    @Pen: I will be linking to some academic stuff, and some activist stuff, and some fandom (activist and/or academic!) stuff. And while the social science studies mentioned in the OP are good to have, my links will tend to be more out of critical race/cultural studies and humanities, plus a few sociological ones.

  28. Pen says

    Ooops, the book I’m recommending is called ‘Women, art, and power and other essays’ by Linda Nochlin.

    Never do anything from memory!

  29. rrede says

  30. rrede says

    All my stuff is US-centric I should note–that’s where I am and what I’ve studied.

    A huge part of the problems I ran into teaching multicultural courses during the 1990s in Texas in a lit department was what students THOUGHT they knew, and clearly had been taught about history.

    The BEST source on the problems in how history is taught in high school and sometimes at college level, not to mention public history, in the US is James Loewen:

    http://sundown.afro.illinois.edu/

    He has books out, but a lot of his other material is right on the web:

    5 myths about why the South seceded

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/07/AR2011010706547.html

    Wikipedia’s entry on LIES MY TEACHER TAUGHT ME:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies_My_Teacher_Told_Me

  31. rrede says

    INtersectionality: I cannot even get many of my colleagues to understand what’s going on here (they cling to the concept of “multiculturality” like it’s candy).

    Geek Feminist wiki entry:
    http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Intersectionality

    http://www.socialdifference.org/files/active/0/Article__Mapping_the_Margins_by_Kimblere_Crenshaw.pdf

    Kimberle Crenshaw, “Mapping theMargins: INtersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color”

    One of earliest scholars on intersectionality.

  32. jayyoung says

    rrede: You beat me to it! That’s a great blog, which I check every day. By the way, it gets its title from C. Wright Mills’ book, The Sociological Imagination, which I highly recommend.

    OK, real quick, a few more resources:

    Race/Racism:

    Colorlines.com- An online news site from a social justice perspective, with an emphasis on race issues: http://colorlines.com/
    Applied Research Center: A social justice thinktank, and the publisher of Colorlines: http://www.arc.org/
    Racialicious: A news site focused on the intersection of race and pop culture: http://www.racialicious.com/

  33. jayyoung says

    A conglomeration of privilege checklists: http://privilegecheck.tumblr.com/ One caveat- have the appropriate salt shaker in hand, since a “singlet privilege” list is included, which seems to me to be pseudoscientific. Let’s never lose site of our skepticism.

  34. Markov says

    Do you think a section on climate and environmental issues would be appropriate? I can find some links on that if you like.

  35. MikeisDead says

    Sorry, posted this on the A+ before coming here, so cross-posting.

    As far as core writings on privilege go, I don’t think you can get more core than McIntosh’s essay on White Privilege:

    http://www.nymbp.org/reference/WhitePrivilege.pdf

    As far as evidenced based approaches to understanding racism, I can think of a couple off-hand.
    Harvard’s Implicit Association test here for subconscious bias:
    https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/

    And as a group experiment on discrimination, Jane Elliot’s brown vs. blue eyes experiments:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/divided/

  36. Pteryxx says

    Crossposting this comment from Stephanie’s with content from Ophelia’s, because it contains a very valuable web accessibility resource.

    —-

    Pteryxx says:
    August 30, 2012 at 10:24 am

    More on accessibility: while A+Scribe is focusing on transcripts, bloggers and site designers can use a few best practices too. There’s a good discussion on Ophelia’s about using alt image text when posting images, which enables blind readers to participate. From Stella:

    You can use the Image tag to provide a description of the image. Sometimes the name of the image can be enough: obamawavingtocrowd.jpg The tags show up in mouse-overs. Screen readers see Image tags, too.

    I have a little vision, so minimal description helps me figure out what I’m supposed to be seeing. Ophelia’s mention of the mountain and a postcard from Mars were enough to help me put together what was in that picture. Greta often does a good job of describing pictures in the blog post. The rest of FtB sucks, but I really haven’t asked them to do better.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/08/police-the-borders/#comment-267070

    Bernard Hurley came up with the W3C standards:

    I would recommend following the W3C Web Content Accessibility Standards: http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/ together with any enhancements disabled people you know can suggest. Until a couple of years ago I used to freelance doing web design. I would always insist that the site comply with these and various other standards before working on it. I ended up turning away a lot of work but I’m a stubborn old git when I want to be.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2012/08/police-the-borders/#comment-267190

    Really, everyone, I think something like adding alt text to images should be a baseline courtesy, right alongside ask-before-touching and not using ignorantly gendered language.

    To check whether the sites you read do this, set your browser options to disable images. Most of the time you’ll see only placeholder text.

    My original comment is here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2012/08/30/making-atheism-accessible/#comment-114296

  37. Pteryxx says

    and on that note I’ll say that Greta appears to be doing a great job adding alt image text. So many mentions of “Atheism plus logo” !

  38. Greta Christina says

    and on that note I’ll say that Greta appears to be doing a great job adding alt image text. So many mentions of “Atheism plus logo” !

    Pteryxx @ #66: Thanks! But I should say here: I didn’t know that this was even a thing until it was called to my attention. Thanks to the people who did that. I’ll pass it along to other bloggers.

  39. literaghost says

    I’d like to second (third?) the recommendations of Colorlines, Social Justice League, ScarletTeen, and Tim Wise.

    Most resources I’m familiar with take the zine/pamphlet form, so they may or may not be as accessible as others. A few good ones:

    SO YOU WANT TO BE AN ALLY! A zine on anti-oppression, allyship, and being a less shitty person

    What to do when someone tells you that they violated their boundaries, made them feel uncomfortable, or committed assault In printable/booklet format (thus unfortunately difficult to read onscreen).

    I also have (somewhere) a copy of a pamphlet/brochure/zine made by a semi-local group that’s the best I’ve ever seen on the topic of dealing with being called out; unfortunately it appears to not be available online. However, it looks like you can request printed copies from their distro service here for free (scroll down to the bottom – under “What do to when you’ve been called out”). Maybe at future A+ events it might be a good idea to have lots of printed materials like this to pass out at a booth?

    – Miz L.

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