Frequently-Asked Questions

Worldwide Violence Against Non- & Ex-Muslims: A News Round-Up

I try to take a nuanced and careful approach to criticism of Islam and ensure that I’m humanizing Muslims in the process, but it’s hard not to be disturbed and angry about the recent news about people who are critical of and/or have left Islam — or even who simply aren’t Muslim but live in a Muslim-majority country

Content Notice for brutal violence. [Read more…]

Diversifying Your Reading: Non-Male & Non-White Author Recommendations

Even if you’re not on board with committing to the exclusion of race-and/or-gender default-positioned writers, you can still commit to more diversity in your reading. I have only included books that I’ve read in this listing. Feel free to add your recommendations as well as weigh in on the ones given below. Please keep in mind that some of these authors may be problematic. Also, I might not be classifying some of them correctly because I don’t have all the racial or sexual identity information for all of them.

Any book marked with an asterisk (*) is one of which I own a physical copy that I’d like to give away. Comment if you want one of them and I will email you to coordinate mailing the book.

[Read more…]

In Defense of Excluding White Male Authors

Update: A recommendation list of non-white and/or non-male authors.

I recently announced something I’d decided on ages ago: That I’d exclusively be reading non-male authors in 2015 and non-white authors in 2016.

The moment of resolution happened when my horrified eyes beheld my reading record on gender. Not only were my percentages far less than 50/50 (favoring male authors) but also most of the female authors on record for me reflected books that I’d read as a child and younger teen. From the time I started university until now, I’d mostly read white male authors.

Furthermore, the works by the relatively few authors of color I’d read were on racial issues and the non-male authors I’d read were writings on feminism.

How did this happen to a voracious reader who graduated with a double degree in the Humanities, an area of study widely reviled as diversity-obsessed? The short answer is that I paid no attention to gender or race in my reading, and not caring is a recipe for bias in a world riddled with inequality. [Read more…]

Patricia Arquette & the Trouble with White Feminism

While I am all for equal pay, I am not here for white women who think that gender inequality is the only inequality left in the world, especially not rich ones. Despite the copious amount of praise I saw last night and this morning for Patricia Arquette’s call for equal pay, she squarely placed herself in those dubious ranks with her follow-up remarks on the matter.

“It’s time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”

A perfunctory glance at the history of social justice reveals that while people of color have always showed their support for women’s rights, white feminists have always been and continue to be exclusionary of non-white women’s concerns.
[Read more…]

The False Inclusivity of “LGBT” & Other Hip Terms

Imprecision does not inclusivity make. In fact, it makes absolutely no sense to say “people” when you exclusively mean “men” or “women”, “partners” when you mean “spouses”, “spouses” when you mean “husbands” or “wives”, or “LGBT” when you mean “cis white gay men.” This nonsense is becoming more and more common as inclusivity becomes a more and more common goal, but inclusive-seeming language can serve as a shield to the lack of truly inclusive and intersectional concerns. [Read more…]

“Where Do You Meet Such Awful People?” & Other Microaggressions

Beware of blowing off steam on the Internet. Even if you tell people to avoid giving you advice, they will give it anyway. Unsolicited advice can often come off as patronizing and condescending. At its mildest, it is often utterly uninformed and useless to the person for whom it is allegedly given.

Advice is just one of the many counterproductive riders people attach to expressions of alleged sympathy. For your edification, here are some responses to some of the ones more commonly heard by yours truly. [Read more…]

I Am Ethically Obligated to Judge You

There are a lot of things about me that shock people, but one of the most shocking seems to be my lack of unmitigated open-mindedness. I’ve surprised many a person with how close-minded I can be to, say, dating a Christian or promoting the work of an unapologetic anti-trans bigot. As someone who struggles for acceptance, I am supposed to be accepting of all things. Anything. Even things that harm me and mine. Because Tolerance!

As you might suspect, I’m not on board with this line of thinking.

In the quest for a better society, the idea of judging anyone for any reason has seemingly become verboten. I can’t help but feel that some nuance regarding why generalizing and stereotyping can be bad has been lost in the shuffle.

I don’t think that judging people based on what they call themselves and with whom they associate is such a bad thing. In fact, in the case of self-identified choices in affiliation, it would be far more unjust to the person to totally disregard what they’ve said about themselves to me. [Read more…]

Urgent Final Push for the Secular Women Work Conference

Some of my favorite organizers and people of all time, Chelsea Du Fresne, Monette Richards, and Stephanie Zvan, are proposing a conference for later this year. As Women in Secularism is on hiatus for 2015, they want to make Secular Women Work happen in August.

The Kickstarter for the conference ends in but a few short days and is, as of writing this, just over 60% fulfilled. If have any interest whatsoever in supporting such powerhouses in the movement and the voices for whom they hope to build a platform, please donate and/or share the link on your social media accounts. If you won’t be able to attend, you could always take out an ad in the program or donate your ticket. There are so many options. If you can’t afford to give, your sooner-rather-than-later social media share means more people who can give will see it before it ends.

Between the three of them, they certainly have the organizing chops and my hearty personal endorsement. When I speak of tireless people working for change in the movement, I certainly had them in mind.

[Read more…]

I Want a Manwich, Please: A Modern Modest Proposal

With all apologies to the great J-Swift, the original Modest Proposal is beyond out of date. Irish people no longer have the highest birth rate in the world and we have, despite the hypocritical “pro-life” machinations of the American Christian Right, many excellent methods of birth control at our disposal.

“Well, you know God created man first.... Then he took the rib out of man to make woman. And you know, a rib is a lesser cut of meat.” -- Thomas Corbin (R), South Carolina SenatorOne of the problems that has survived Swift’s time is that of sexists. One of our modern misogynists recently repeated the sentiment that women are made from ribs and are therefore a “lesser cut of meat”, managing to be not only anti-science and anti-woman, but anti-taste in his misguided words.

It is with men like him in mind that I present this: A Modern Modest Proposal For Preventing The Sexists in Office From Being A Burden to Their Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public.

After all, aren’t men like him, by their own admission, better cuts of meat? Come to think of it, a rather extensive number of men go on and on about how good their meat is, even sending unsolicited pictures of it in the hopes of tempting the recipients to partake. Shouldn’t we take them up on their offer and give them what they want? [Read more…]

Empty Call-Outs: When Journalists Complain About White Male Atheism

If you are an outsider whose only exposure to atheism is through non-atheist outlets, atheism looks a Mad Men-style group but with less actual style. In the view presented from without rather than within, Richard Dawkins’s Twitter feed is atheist gospel and no voices besides Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, or (shudder) Maher matter. Atheist-land is bleak indeed.

If the outsider view were at all fair or comprehensive, that is. [Read more…]