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Mar 05 2012

Sikivu causes discomfort…

…with her criticism of this last weekend’s CFI conference.

Good.

What I’d like to see at some future conference (planners, take notice) is that at least one of the days is turned over to people of color issues — and I mean completely turned over. The white organizers just leave a big hole in their schedule, contact people like Sikivu Hutchinson and Anthony Pinn, and let them organize, arrange, choose speakers and format, and bring in the evening’s entertainment, using the organizations resources. Instead of the mostly white organization inviting a black speaker or two, hand the reins over to some black organizers and let them build what they want to hear and what we all should hear.

Or if some organization is feeling really brave, turn over the whole conference to this topic. We talk the talk all the time, but real progress will be made when atheists sit down and listen. American Atheists, CFI, American Humanists, any of the big atheist organizations: will you make that commitment?

I think the way to appreciate and recognize our black and brown intellectual leaders is to have them lead.

265 comments

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  1. 1
    justawriter

    Or perhaps the “black and brown intellectual leaders” can just bull ahead with their conferences and agendas and drag these organizations along kicking and screaming. You know, lead.

  2. 2
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Thank you for linking to that essay. It is eye-opening.

  3. 3
    PZ Myers

    The problem with having just their own conferences is that all the white people who most need to hear the message won’t go. We need a bridge; I’m saying let the white folks build the access road, and the black folks build the center span.

  4. 4
    Maureen Brian

    Totally agree, PZ.

    And, justawriter, lets not go down that “separate but equal” route again: even the Supreme Court saw through that quite some time ago.

  5. 5
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Waiting for the “reverse racism” brigade to turn up in 3-2-1….
    Great essay (and certainly a slap on my wrist in several places)

  6. 6
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Well, Giliell, “justawriter” already hit the first bingo on the card: “If you don’t like it, go have your own conference.” Complete with sneer quotes around “black and brown intellectual leaders.”

    But, yes. And I expect that there will be a lot of overlap between the shitpeels who scream about Sikivu’s essay and the shitpeels who appear in every thread about feminism.

  7. 7
    allencdexter

    Yes, definitely. They must be included and this is the best suggestion I can think of.

  8. 8
    Vijen

    PZ is right on with his antitheism, but I wish he would start a new and separate blog for his interests in feminism and antiracism. This is a distraction. Unnecessary. Irrelevant. Specious. Before you shit on me, you might want to consider that I am myself in an interracial marriage: for more than twenty years. PZ should stick to his core competencies, at least insofar as this blog is concerned. As of this moment, there is nothing of greater political significance than opposing the malign effects of “religion” upon the flourishing, even upon the very survival, of the human species. That other stuff – sex, race – it’s trivial by comparison.

  9. 9
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    PZ should stick to his core competencies, at least insofar as this blog is concerned.

    And why should we, or PZ, listen to your whiny opinion? All I hear is PZ isn’t doing his blog your way. And why should he? And race and sex isn’t trivial in American society. Quit lying to yourself so you quit lying to others.

  10. 10
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    Sorry for not being exactly on topic but PZ’s post made me curious about the numbers of different ethnic demographics attending conferences in the US. Haven’t black and hispanic people been stuck in a white culture created poverty vacuum for so much of the history of the country (that only recently has begun to be righted) that there’s a tendency to be stuck in the suction of the religious vacuum poverty can create as well? Are the numbers of non-white conference attendees in proportion to the general population numbers or has the history of unfairness imbalanced the conference attendance ratios? Could this be an underlying cause for the lack of conferences structured as PZ is suggesting?

    On that thought, in certain places around the world that are hosting skeptical conferences is there an indifference from skeptical communities outside the US because of lack of US-style evangelical activity or other religious fundamantalism? Does a lack of battles over education and politics and other vital interests create less concern and perhaps a smaller corps of conference attendees, regardless of color?

    I ask that fully realizing there are places that are having similar problems as the US (Some recent stories from Australia or New Zealand, for example), or worse (Saudi Arabia or Malaysia, where it’s probably not wise to attend a skeptics conference (!)). However, there are also places where fundy religiosity is as prolific as the cult of Mictlantecuhtli in Mongolia, which is to say, not a whole lot. Could a lack of non-white conference building in those places be because of a general lack of concern by everyone or lack of regional history creating as much cultural diversity as the US seems to have?

    Sorry for the 20 questions, but the topic was a very interesting one as I am in Southern California and would very much like to see more diverse faces at the conferences than there currently are. It concerns me a great deal that the ratio of cultural mix of the region doesn’t gibe with the ratio of seated people at a conference lecture.

  11. 11
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    Geez, Vijen, it’s PZ’s blog, he can talk about whatever the fuck he wants to. And if you’re going to be that picky, it’s supposed to actually be about biology.

    You hear that, PZ! Get on with the genes-chat already and quit with the godless snark!

  12. 12
    Ing

    Before you shit on me, you might want to consider that I am myself in an interracial marriage: for more than twenty years.

    I’ve heard this so fucking much from people who were clearly lying that I no longer believe it.

  13. 13
    ashleybone

    Vijen,

    I disagree completely. Sexism, homophobia, racism, and so on are some of the primary battlegrounds on which religious fundamentalists have to be opposed. It’s where religion is causing the most harm and having the most malign effect on flourishing. Not only is this the right and moral thing to do, it’s the best way to build this movement. We already have the people whose primary issues are things like science education. We grow by growing our concerns.

  14. 14
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    That other stuff – sex, race – it’s trivial by comparison.

    I disagree. Vehemently.

    Religion, and its pernicious effects on the body politic is definately the enemy. Two of the tactics used by the enemy, used by the religious and authoritarian right, most visibly in the USA,, in their power politics, are sexism and racism. Do you really think it a coincidence that the religious right’s support of the economic right is based almost solely on a denial of women’s rights? Do you really think it a coincidence that the politics of race, whether played covertly or overtly, conveniently supports both the economic and religious right? Race, religion, and sex are all one and the same.

    Your suggestion that atheism should be divorced from the fight for women’s rights and minority rights is bizarre. And it also smacks, just a bit, of Dear Muslima.

    By the way, Vijen, those are not rhetorical questions.

  15. 15
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    I just realized a glaring error of oversight in my post at 10. When referring to conferences outside the US I was thinking of those held in Europe and should have said so. Obviously if there’s one held in Tokyo or Rio de Janeiro the bulk of organizers are going to be non-white.

  16. 16
    Assassin's Cloak

    Before you shit on me, you might want to consider that I am myself in an interracial marriage: for more than twenty years.

    Oh, well, you’re obviously over qualified then.

    Now, where’s my Bingo card …

  17. 17
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    That other stuff – sex, race – it’s trivial by comparison.

    “Hi, I’m yet another straight cis white d00d who isn’t interested in fighting any social problems that don’t affect me! Cater to me and run your blog the way I want you to!”

    Also, if “I’m in an interracial relationship!” isn’t on any bingo card, it should be. Ing’s correct that a lot of white people who make that claim are abject liars, but I have encountered more than a few who have actual partners of color and who aren’t a fraction as “enlightened” as they seem to think they are.

  18. 18
    bricewgilbert

    @Vijen

    Islam seems to be the most violent religion at the moment. Let’s ignore Christianity.

    At least come up with some denial of the problem in the first place instead of this unnecessary extreme prioritizing.

  19. 19
    gregorymarshall

    “The problem with having just their own conferences is that all the white people who most need to hear the message won’t go. We need a bridge; I’m saying let the white folks build the access road, and the black folks build the center span.”

    This says it perfectly PZ.

  20. 20
    PZ Myers

    Weird. It’s not as if I’ve declared this anti-racism week on pharyngula: it’s 3 paragraphs in one post that pretty much says “go listen to Sikivu Hutchinson,” for whom this is her core competency.

  21. 21
    Matt Penfold

    You have to excuse Vijen. His brain does not work properly.

    We can tell this by looking at his blog. Just a taster:

    Some of my friends view the world through the lens of science, and others are inclined towards mysticism. The first group generally fails to distinguish between “religion” and mysticism, and the second habitually confuses science with pseudo-science. Frankly, I find both groups complacent.

    The man is a woo-soaked “mystic”.

  22. 22
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Weird. It’s not as if I’ve declared this anti-racism week on pharyngula: it’s 3 paragraphs in one post that pretty much says “go listen to Sikivu Hutchinson,” for whom this is her core competency.

    Which made you into a bomb-throwing whitey-hatin’ radical, PZ. Kind of like how Rebecca Watson transformed herself into Valerie Solanas when she said, “Guys? Don’t do that.”

  23. 23
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    @Ms. Daisy Cutter, Gynofascist in a Spiffy Hugo Boss Uniform

    “I have encountered more than a few who have actual partners of color and who aren’t a fraction as “enlightened” as they seem to think they are.”

    It’s the ones who have only noticed the novelty of genitalia coming in different colors but haven’t noticed the brain is the same gray color that give you that problem. ;)

  24. 24
    simonsays

    Or if some organization is feeling really brave, turn over the whole conference to this topic. We talk the talk all the time, but real progress will be made when atheists sit down and listen. American Atheists, CFI, American Humanists, any of the big atheist organizations: will you make that commitment?

    To my knowledge CFI is the only organization that has already had such a conference in the US in 2010 in Washington, DC: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/dc/events/african_americans_for_humanism_conference and I believe has another in the works for this year.

    African Americans for Humanism is a program of CFI for over 20 years (again, to my knowledge the only such program in a national secular organization in the US) founded by Norm Allen and now headed by the fearless Debbie Goddard.

    Also, “criticism of the conference” is a bit general. I read Sikivu’s post and it’s not clear if she’s referring to quotes from attendees (I know of one which certainly was), from speakers, or from organizers?

    She is correct that the attendees and speakers where almost entirely white which is not unusual for atheist conferences everywhere in the US. I might add older than 50 which is on par with Free Inquiry readership that it was advertised to.

    In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter since these quotes are generally ignorant platitudes nobody should be buying into, however “criticizing the conference” does carry a certain connotation IMO which implies that this was something the organizers are responsible for.

  25. 25
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Ms. Daisy Cutter (& Vijen)

    I have encountered more than a few who have actual partners of color and who aren’t a fraction as “enlightened” as they seem to think they are.

    I have met at least two (that I know of) menz in the last few months that are in heavily skewed mixed relationships. They are rabid misogynists who trade on their privileged positions to actually have any relationship at all. (In their cases with poor immigrants.)

    So yeah, Vijen, these issues run deep and wide in our society. PZ is quite clear that he wants to extend the agenda of atheism, as a movement, into humanist aspects. It is completely relevant in this context.

  26. 26
    Matt Penfold

    I have encountered more than a few who have actual partners of color and who aren’t a fraction as “enlightened” as they seem to think they are.

    That should be no surprise. A good number of misogynist men will be married after all.

  27. 27
    Matt Penfold

    Oh, and Vijen, PZ is not so much anti-religion but rather pro-reason, which is what leads him to be anti-religion, and also anti-racism and anti-sexism.

    If your values do not extend so far, then fine.

  28. 28
    PZ Myers

    I believe it’s in part a criticism of the conference: we see this all the time, where a black speaker is brought in (in this case a couple of them) and given a slot on a panel instead of a leadership role.

    But most of the quotes, I think, were from the audience (but that’s still a criticism of the conference). I recognized several of them — there were moments when I did cringe a bit, even in my limited race-consciousness.

    But that just makes it more important. If you’ve got an old, white fanbase, make the effort to expose them more to different cultures, and not in a patronizing way, either. Broaden the base and enlighten existing members: it’s win:win.

  29. 29
    Ing

    I mean the ‘i am blank ‘ so I am immune to criticisms. I now actively disbelieve any claim phrased as such until demonstrated.

    Not only is it a nonsequitor but it makes me inherently distrustful of anyone who wants to hide behind alleged minority family. Its no different from ‘why some of my best friends are…”

  30. 30
    Vijen

    Well it’s nice to be noticed.

    @ashleybone thanks for an intelligent comment, I take your point. But surely the specific injuries which religion inflicts vary with the times, for example they seem to have gone rather quiet about their endorsement of slavery. Rather than get bogged down in the details I feel that the most effective strategy is to oppose “religion” per se. Of course it is useful to highlight their current stupidity on the issues you mention, and if those people most directly concerned in such matters choose to participate in the struggle, then they are very welcome. Still, the focus must be upon the struggle itself.

    @bricewgilbert I agree: christinsanity is uninteresting if you live in Europe – I am happy to prioritize the fight to escape from the muslim delusion.

    @Matt Penfold thanks for checking my blog but there is a rather limited overlap between its target audience and PZ readers. See, the reason I am such a vehement opponent of “religion” is that I happen to have noticed the existence of religion. We agree that irrational people and ideas are limiting, preferring rational ones. If you read my blog carefully you may find that there is a step beyond rationality – or not – waiting is!

    @those who accuse me of lying: here is my facebook page http://facebook.com/DhyanVijen

  31. 31
    Ing

    Also I’ve seen a bizzare trend of white MRAssholes fetishizing asian women seemingly because of racism

  32. 32
    Ing

    Congradulations on your black friend…

    You’ve passed the “I don’t believe you” hurdle and have slammed into the “and I don’t care”

  33. 33
    Matt Penfold

    @Matt Penfold thanks for checking my blog but there is a rather limited overlap between its target audience and PZ readers. See, the reason I am such a vehement opponent of “religion” is that I happen to have noticed the existence of religion. We agree that irrational people and ideas are limiting, preferring rational ones. If you read my blog carefully you may find that there is a step beyond rationality – or not – waiting is!

    Sorry, but you are not rational. I checked your blog remember ?

  34. 34
    Cipher

    Still, the focus must be upon the struggle itself.

    You have not demonstrated that you have any fucking idea what “the struggle” is. Not all of us share your irrationally narrow focus.

    But actually, now that I think about it, I’ve just lost my patience with this shit. You’re not trying to raise a legitimate point; let’s not pretend you are. Yes, yes, we know, we should all shut up about things that aren’t either the problems of white men or how great y’all are. Fuck, aren’t we awful for caring about our own lives and those of the others around us. Moving on.

  35. 35
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Vijen:

    Two questions for you. I’ll repeat them.

    1. Do you really think it a coincidence that the religious right’s support of the economic right is based almost solely on a denial of women’s rights?

    2. Do you really think it a coincidence that the politics of race, whether played covertly or overtly, conveniently supports both the economic and religious right?

  36. 36
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Ing

    Also I’ve seen a bizzare trend of white MRAssholes fetishizing asian women seemingly because of racism

    Here (Hong Kong) you will find menz marrying their (other Asian national) maids. Go figure.

    (It is possible some are quite above board. But not the examples I mentioned.)

  37. 37
    Matt Penfold

    Actually, yes.

    Fuck you Vijen, for not giving a fuck about the discrimination non-white people face. I imagine you also do not give a fuck about the discrimination women face either, so in anticipation of that, fuck you again.

  38. 38
    Steve LaBonne

    The fact that it’s overwhelmingly associated with over-the-hill straight white dudes like me is a fucking disaster for atheism in America. If we are really serious about combating the disastrous influence of religion in this country we’d better recognize that we can choose between hogging power for those like us and failing, or relinquishing our privilege and succeeding. Like PZ, I know which side I’m on.

  39. 39
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    On the plus side, it seems like there is the larger number of non-whites getting degrees in the sciencey areas. Seeing as a large contingent of atheists have educations in science, I would think that is one sector of society that is going to help boost the ratios at Cons, as well as boosting the overall amount of real science being done.

  40. 40
    Anthony K

    As of this moment, there is nothing of greater political significance than opposing the malign effects of “religion” upon the flourishing, even upon the very survival, of the human species. That other stuff – sex, race – it’s trivial by comparison.

    Jesus fucking Christ, what an ignoramus.

    According to this fuckhead’s logic, every health researcher in the world should be working on eradicating heart disease and cancer. Everything else is trivial by comparison.

  41. 41
    gussnarp

    Or if some organization is feeling really brave, turn over the whole conference to this topic.

    I think this is a fantastic idea. And let me be clear, I don’t mean organizing a conference led by persons of color, I mean taking a major annual event conference and making this the conference theme and really turning it over. I’m thinking of a huge conference like TAM. Imagine if instead of saying, hey, we got Neil deGrasse Tyson as a keynote speaker, let’s have an astronomy theme they said, hey we got Neil deGrasse Tyson, let’s make the theme skeptics of color!

    I seriously love this idea, I really want to see some organization hand over their main annual event to underrepresented atheists/skeptics. You could hand one day over to atheists of color, one day to women, and one day to LGTB. Somebody do this, please.

  42. 42
    Anthony K

    Speaking of trivial issues, last Wednesday was Rare Disease Day. I guess those fools don’t realise how trivial their lives are.

  43. 43
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Theophontes: The ones who “mail-order” “brides” would be among the worst examples I could possibly think of.

    Ing: Ugh, yeah, the same ones who think that all American women are “spoiled fat feminist princesses.” A white friend of mine who lived in Japan for a while encountered some of those first-hand… not enough showers in the world to wash off the skeeviness.

  44. 44
    Bronze Dog

    I give a thumbs up to the idea of giving leadership roles to the group getting representation. I probably wouldn’t have thought of that, and end up falling into the trap of just having a token minority for my lack of imagination. I’m glad I’m not in charge.

    As for our current trolls: Racism and sexism are heavily entangled in religion as well as irrational when independent of religion. Making strides to overcome such discrimination is also helpful for getting past the perception that we’re all middle to upper class white males. Atheism and rationality are good ideas for everyone, and showing our diversity reinforces that. I may be a white male, but I can see how apparent homogeneity would give potential newcomers pause.

  45. 45
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Instead of trying to make the skeptic movement more inclusive, you want to put minorities on the spot and require them to broadcast how different they are than everyone else all the time. That sucks.

    Wrong. There are skeptics from all background, many who are great at communicating their causes. What PZ is advocating (And in the case of FTB, putting into action.) is not just having the same round of of middle age white men have the spotlight.

    And, if you fucking paid attention, these people are not being put on the spot, they are doing a damned good job.

    Thank you, oh mighty protector of all oppressed minorities.

    You suck.

  46. 46
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Instead of trying to make the skeptic movement more inclusive, you want to put minorities on the spot and require them to broadcast how different they are than everyone else all the time. That sucks.

    Doesn’t compute. Unless you think that the plan is to walk around on the streets Leno-style and goad minorities into leadership roles.

    Ahem…
    I think it’s a great idea for all the reasons that have been discussed above. But also, the sheer pleasure that comes from abdicating leadership is a reward in and of itself.

  47. 47
    lizdamnit

    The idea of an entire conference run by/staffed by under-represented groups is an incredibly exciting one.

    Jonas in #45, is it automatically patronizing? Instead of “putting minorities on the spot”, they’d be at the wheel itself, and if there are any among that particular group who want to do some outreach to the non-minority crowds, well, then they can have at it.

    Those in the minority group running this as-of-yet imaginary con that do *not* want to do a “difference 101″ talk can elect to do something else, like talk to other minority members about stuff that has little or nothing to do with white/male/cis/etc folks. Like the Bechdel test! There’d be room all around to do whatever, since they wouldn’t be in one slot at a more traditional con.

  48. 48
    Ing

    The MRAsian fetish seems to be based on
    1)asian women are submissive and quiet.
    2) asian women naturally prefer nonasian men because said men are more manly than asian men.

  49. 49
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    …asian women naturally prefer nonasian men because said men are more manly than asian men.

    Genghis Khan begs your pardon.

  50. 50
    justawriter

    Who’s talking about having their own their own separate conference? I was trying to say is that instead of meekly asking for a place at the table, atheists who are not old, bewhiskered, white guys should be kicking down the doors, upsetting the table and generally remaking these organizations and conferences into a more congenial place to be. Instead of complaining about this year’s conference, start demanding a place on the planning committees of next year’s agenda and all the ones after that. That’s what I meant by bulling ahead with their conferences and agendas. These events are their events. We just need to shake loose some of the OBWGs so all atheists, freethinkers or what have you get a place at the table.

    “… it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.” – Frederick Douglass

  51. 51
    Rey Fox

    Remember that guy who told Walton that he should go to southeast Asia to find a wife? Yeah.

    Before you shit on me, you might want to consider that I am myself in an interracial marriage: for more than twenty years.

    So you’re complacent then.

  52. 52
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    To be clear, (i)including(i) minorities in everything we do is important, however, don’t you see the irony in presuming to
    decide in advance what roles are available for minorities to play in the movement?

    To be clear, check out the blogs that are contained in FreeThoughtBlogs. Do you think all of the “minorities” are playing roles as dictated by PZ.

    Before you fucking criticize a person for their action, know what their action really is.

  53. 53
    lizdamnit

    Precisely where is Sikivu “meek”? That’s not my takeaway from her post(s). Not to mention that her list of notes sounds pretty active to me. I have yet to see something on Black Skeptics that is just plain griping or moping. There’s quite a lot of activity among non-old white dudes.

  54. 54
    Ing

    Genghis Khan begs your pardon.

    Gengis Khan does not beg. The Khan DEMANDS your pardon

  55. 55
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I do not think that Genghis Khan gives a damn about any pardon. Join the Horde or get annihilated.

  56. 56
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Dude, I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way, but that sounds like the thought process of a theist.

    I meant it like it sounds. I hate being in charge of shit. Also, your’e the Dude, OK? Call me Mr. Lebowski.

    To be clear, (i)including(i) minorities in everything we do is important, however, don’t you see the irony in presuming to decide in advance what roles are available for minorities to play in the movement?

    It’s ironic to decide in advance that minorities should be offered a role in leadership?

    Wait. Are you from the Alanis Morrisette school of irony?

    If our question is this: “Why do these conferences seem to be such a hit with white well-to-do men, and not everyone else?…

    maybe we should get the answer to that from some of the everyone-else crowd.

  57. 57
    justawriter

    I also found it amusing that when I wrote that these leaders should bull ahead with their own conferences and agendas everyone (including PZ) assumed that would have to be done outside the organizations PZ listed as if it were an impossibility that they could take such a leadership position within those organizations.

  58. 58
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Ing & janine: hee-hee!

  59. 59
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    *shakes head*

    sigh…

  60. 60
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Not at you, AE.

  61. 61
    justawriter

    @lizdamnit
    I was responding so much to Sikivu’s post so much and PZ saying an organization should “hand the reins over to some black organizers and let them build what they want to hear and what we all should hear.” I am saying that if people are feeling left out of the movement, then they should seize the reins themselves. OWBGs shouldn’t “let” anyone into the movement. Everyone else needs to push their way in, using their elbows if necessary, and take their rightful place.

  62. 62
    justawriter

    “I was responding not so much Skivu’s post as to PZ saying”
    Sigh. Me rite gud sumday.

  63. 63
    lizdamnit

    justawriter,

    I see where the issue of “letting” discomfits. But the politics of that words are a thought for another time. And I’m still torn on just what the most effective approach would be so I wouldn’t expect iron clad consistency from my thoughts at this point. (not that this is up to me to decide, but it’s interesting)

    But, just to throw something out there while I’m mulling, how effective is your suggestion? “If people are feeling left out of a movement, then they should seize the reins themselves” – I still feel a big-name gathering of atheists/secularists telling speakers of color to name their ticket like PZ said originally would make one hell of a point. Even if some may worry about the appearance of “letting”.

    Either way, whiskers would be tweaked. People that can’t (or won’t) deal would be left in the dust.

  64. 64
    lizdamnit

    justawriter @64 – i got you :) my super elite english major skillz made me grasp your sentence anyway!

  65. 65
    evilisgood

    maybe we should get the answer to that from some of the everyone-else crowd.

    As a member of the everyone-else crowd, I can tell you that many of us can’t afford $275 to attend a conference. While that may not be the only factor involved, the fact that such a conference is cost-prohibitive to anyone but the well-to-do could be a major point.

  66. 66
    Jadehawk

    I am saying that if people are feeling left out of the movement, then they should seize the reins themselves. OWBGs shouldn’t “let” anyone into the movement. Everyone else needs to push their way in, using their elbows if necessary, and take their rightful place.

    translation: the job of creating equality always and only falls on minorities.

  67. 67
    lancifer

    Assuming that a person of a certain “race” can speak for a plurality of people of that “race” shows a lack of respect for the individuals that are lumped into that irrational and unscientific category.

    I also find it amusing that some people are claiming that anyone that identifies as “white” and male and then says they are in a relationship with a “non-white” woman is displaying their racism if they express anything but the clearly laid out PC opinions of our host and his intolerant minions. This despite the fact that theses men are sharing their lives and in most cases their financial assets and inner-most intimacy with a “non-white” person.

    Yeah, they are obviously liars or “racists” that have tricked these “non-whites” into abusive or subservient relationships.

  68. 68
    Jadehawk

    Assuming that a person of a certain “race” can speak for a plurality of people of that “race” shows a lack of respect for the individuals that are lumped into that irrational and unscientific category.

    … and thus we should not bother trying to include any members of such minorities at all

  69. 69
    lancifer

    Jadehawk,

    and thus we should not bother trying to include any members of such minorities at all

    How about ensuring that the process is immune to considerations of irrelevant physical features and is open to all non-theist people?

    Is it you contention that the people you identify by certain physical characteristics are unable to ascend to leadership positions with out the assistance of people you identify based on their irrelevant physical characteristics?

    You irrational paternalism is showing.

  70. 70
    Forbidden Snowflake

    justawriter quotes:

    “… it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.” – Frederick Douglass

    That quote is descriptive, you know. Not prescriptive.

  71. 71
    David Marjanović

    off-topic: lancifer? As in Anthracosaurus lancifer?

    Is it you contention that the people you identify by certain physical characteristics are unable to ascend to leadership positions with out the assistance of people you identify based on their irrelevant physical characteristics?

    “We’re not trying to introduce quota for women. We’re trying to abolish quota for men.”

  72. 72
    Gregory Greenwood

    Vijen @ 8;

    PZ should stick to his core competencies, at least insofar as this blog is concerned. As of this moment, there is nothing of greater political significance than opposing the malign effects of “religion” upon the flourishing, even upon the very survival, of the human species. That other stuff – sex, race – it’s trivial by comparison.

    I see you are employing the ‘there is something worse out there’ gambit – sexism in Western cultures isn’t that bad because of stonings in the Islamic world, so we shouldn’t be talking about it. Homophobia isn’t that bad because racism is more widespread, so fighting it shouldn’t be a priority. Racism in the atheist and sceptical community isn’t as bad as that expressed by many religions, so why make a fuss…

    Has it occurred to you that it is not only possible to tackle more than one type of social inequality at the same time, but that all these differing types of injustice are actually linked, and that by targeting all the manifestations of toxic privilege in our society we have a greater overall effect in achieving social justice than if we give certain forms of discrimination a ‘pass’ in order to fight supposedly greater battles?

    As for your dismissal of sex and race discrimination as ‘trivial’, perhaps you should consider that such discrimination might not seem so ‘trivial’ to you if you found yourself on the other end of the privilege gradient in our society.

    Before you shit on me, you might want to consider that I am myself in an interracial marriage: for more than twenty years.

    I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt here, and take you at your word. That said, the ethnicity of your partner is, of course, completely irrelvant. Please don’t deploy your marriage as a defence against criticism of a statement that clearly belittles the seriousness of misogyny and racism in our society. The nature of your interpersonal relationships does not alter the content of your statement, or mitigate your attempt to exclude the experiences of certain victims of discrimination as unimportant.

    If you say something bigoted here, you will be called on it, and attempted manipulation of this type will avail you little.

  73. 73
    David Marjanović

    Theophontes: The ones who “mail-order” “brides” would be among the worst examples I could possibly think of.

    Oh yeah. Those “brides” aren’t necessarily Asian, they just necessarily come from poor places. Gleaming white Russians and Ukrainians are commonly on offer.

  74. 74
    lancifer

    David Marjanović,

    off-topic: lancifer? As in Anthracosaurus lancifer?

    Actually, until now I was unaware of the Upper Carboniferous era predator.

    I was given the nickname by my Mormon college (Rick’s College now BYU Junior College) room mates after expressing my rather geographically unique views on their idiotic mythology.

    “We’re not trying to introduce quota for women. We’re trying to abolish quota for men.”

    I wan’t aware that Atheist organizations have quotas of any kind.

  75. 75
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Oh dear, this has gone worse than expected.

    @bricewgilbert I agree: christinsanity is uninteresting if you live in Europe – I am happy to prioritize the fight to escape from the muslim delusion.

    From this alone we know that Vijen isn’t:
    -gay and might want to marry
    -a health care professional
    -a woman seeking an abortion
    What also know is that he’s an arrogant asshole.

    lancifer

    Assuming that a person of a certain “race” can speak for a plurality of people of that “race” shows a lack of respect for the individuals that are lumped into that irrational and unscientific category.

    Ah, yes. Flat out denialism.
    Obviously everything is just individual problems, experiences, perspectives. Just because that black guy got treated shitty by the police doesn’t mean a thing. He can’t possibly speak about the experience of racism that especially black men suffer from law enforcement.

  76. 76
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    …Now THAT is something practical that can be done to make the movement more inclusive as opposed to this superfluous bullshit of appointing a few tokens to prominent positions so that we can pat ourselves on the back.

    This is not what is being proposed. PZ is proposing that old whitey man makes room for someone else. People who are anything but tokens are prepared to step into leadership roles.

    I’m not opposed to cheaper conferences either, btw, but I have not the slightest how the cost structure is determined.

  77. 77
    carlie

    I see the point Jonas is trying to make, I think – depending on how it’s organized and discussed and billed, it could easily reek of the problematic “you’re a black person; teach me about racism”, which burdens anyone of a different ethnicity into becoming the all-knowing teacher who of course doesn’t mind educating everyone else instead of talking about whatever actually interests them and who speaks for everyone of their entire race. I think a solution to avoid that could be to choose the section leaders with an eye towards diversity, and then let them decide on their own topics for talks within the section they’re organizing.

  78. 78
    lancifer

    Giliell,

    Your so cool! Golly it’s clear that you have a great deal of empathy for “black” men. Of course since you’re not, I presume, “black” how dare you speak for the experiences of these people that you can never truly understand. Because you’re not, you know “black”.

    But it’s really important that you keep referring to these “other” people as “black” though. I mean how else can we keep these categories relevant, right?

    I mean it would be really “denialist” to insist that we treat all people as individuals regardless of these “true” racial categories right?

    Maybe you can make a list of features and physical traits so I can be sure to acknowledge the “difference” of these individuals that I can never really relate to because they are so, you know, different.

    It would be a great help to the rest of us that are laboring under the “delusion” that all homo sapiens are individuals of one species and that unscientific “racial” categories have been used to impose irrational and destructive policies and behaviors onto individuals (Like the cops you mentioned earlier.)

    We “denialists” have been trying to get people to drop these destructive arbitrary categories and insist that society deal with people on an individual basis and punish people that don’t.

    But hey, I don’t want to be a denialist so why don’t you tell me how I can group people into these “racial” categories?

    You seem to be able to tell which people fall into which race. Maybe you can give a scientifically valid definition of “race” and we will all be able to separate ourselves into these groups and treat each other accordingly.

  79. 79
    lancifer

    carlie,

    Youre heart seems to be in the right place but when I read,

    I think a solution to avoid that could be to choose the section leaders with an eye towards diversity, and then let them decide on their own topics for talks within the section they’re organizing.

    It strikes me that an “eye
    for diversity” really means people who look different than “white” people.

    Really, can’t we get away from this nonsense?

    Do you suppose you are going to fix the problem of racial discrimination with more racial discrimination?

  80. 80
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    lancifer, cupcake

    I mean it would be really “denialist” to insist that we treat all people as individuals regardless of these “true” racial categories right?

    It’s denialism to act as if that world was somewhere already existing.
    People’s lives and experiences are shaped by concepts like race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
    Doing the bad old “oh but it’s only a social construct, I’m treating everybody alike” is only helping the privileged majority.
    You know there’s tons of studies that show how even people who think of themselves as “egalitarian” discriminate against minorities because we’re still living in a shitty world.
    Race may be a social construct, but it is still a social construct that shapes the realities of millions of people in a certain way.
    Yes, each and every one of them is an individual with their own story, but there are experiences that are very common in the stories of POC and that are very uncommon in the stories of non-latino white people.
    And if you deny that you deny the racism still prevalent within societies, you deny that POC are still disdvantaged and underprivileged and discriminated against.
    Oh, and Bingo!

  81. 81
    Jadehawk

    How about ensuring that the process is immune to considerations of irrelevant physical features and is open to all non-theist people?

    lancifer doesn’t see color, you guys. just like Stephen Colbert. Such a hero.

    Is it you contention that the people you identify by certain physical characteristics are unable to ascend to leadership positions with out the assistance of people you identify based on their irrelevant physical characteristics?

    it is my contention that you’re an ignorant moron who doesn’t understand the racist forces that mean that a)a non-white person will experience our culture differently than a white person, and b)that results in the fact that they have to try twice as hard to be recognized for half as much. And that the way to counteract this is to make it a point to promote them, to achieve recognition in proportion to their actual skills, talent, and achievement.

    You irrational paternalism is showing.

    your complete ignorance of the fields of sociology and psychology are showing.

    are that Atheist organizations have quotas of any kind.

    of course not. the fact that most conferences consist of speakers who are older white dudes is because the most qualified speakers are all older white dudes.

    But it’s really important that you keep referring to these “other” people as “black” though. I mean how else can we keep these categories relevant, right?

    because as we all know, talking about racism is racist. If we just ignored racism, it would disappear by itself, you know.

    Wow, you are truly stupid if you can draw an inference that is the diametric opposite of what was explicitly stated.

    Race is a bullshit category=exclude people of other races.

    Interesting logic.

    what I find far more interesting is that you argue that:
    not trying to include any members of minorities = exclude people of other races
    is your reading comprehension so lacking, or are you admitting that unless we make an effort to include them, they become excluded by default? hmm….

    Really, can’t we get away from this nonsense?

    you guys, talking about diversity is boring, can’t we just move on and declare racism over and become completely colorblind? worked well in Yugoslavia, after all!

    Do you suppose you are going to fix the problem of racial discrimination with more racial discrimination?

    ZOMG REVERSE RACISM!!!11!!11!! u iz so mean!!!1

  82. 82
    lancifer

    Cupcake huh?

    You know there’s tons of studies that show how even people who think of themselves as “egalitarian” discriminate against minorities because we’re still living in a shitty world.

    Oh, tons? Thanks for giving me a “scientific” basis for your insistence on continuing to classify people by “race”.

    Your argument seems to be “lots of people act like racial categories exist so they do”.

    And if you deny that you deny the racism still prevalent within societies, you deny that POC are still disdvantaged and underprivileged and discriminated against.

    Where exactly did I say anything like that, “cupcake”?

    You seem more interested in showing how much you “get it” so you can run with the cool kids here at pharyngula than addressing any real problems in society.

    Fuck you and your Bingo.

  83. 83
    David Marjanović

    I wan’t aware that Atheist organizations have quotas of any kind.

    *eyeroll* In a – still – patriarchal society, there’s a default quota of 90 to 100 % for men everywhere, atheist organizations included. Oh, sure it’s not official or anything – it’s so taken for granted, people like you aren’t even aware they’re taking it for granted.

    But thank you for adding support to my point.

  84. 84
    Jadehawk

    Your argument seems to be “lots of people act like racial categories exist so they do”.

    that’s what “social construct” means, honeybunch. why are you talking about shit you obviously and evidently have no clue about as if your opinion on them was worth anything?

  85. 85
    David Marjanović

    you guys, talking about diversity is boring, can’t we just move on and declare racism over and become completely colorblind? worked well in Yugoslavia, after all!

    :-) Are you alluding to the fact that it was official dogma in Yugoslavia that all conflicts between the nationalities had been settled in the best possible way?

    Oh, tons? Thanks for giving me a “scientific” basis for your insistence on continuing to classify people by “race”.

    We’re talking about the social concept, not the biological one.

  86. 86
    Jadehawk

    I threw up in my mouth a little at reading this…

    reality makes Jonas ill. Can’t you guys be considerate and stop talking about it?

  87. 87
    Jadehawk

    Are you alluding to the fact that it was official dogma in Yugoslavia that all conflicts between the nationalities had been settled in the best possible way?

    yep

  88. 88
    David Marjanović

    You wouldn’t have a source handy, would you?

    The eyes in your head? Don’t they count?

    Did you seriously believe you’re living in a completely egalitarian society that has shed all vestiges of patriarchy? Sure, we’ve come a long way in 60 years, but we’re not there yet.

  89. 89
    David Marjanović

    yep

    Good. I explained it because an inside joke isn’t a good explanation for outsiders. :-)

  90. 90
    Jadehawk

    I’m not explaining to, I’m making fun of. I’m too preoccupied right now to bother educating the idiots.

  91. 91
    David Marjanović

    I seem incapable of not trying to explain.

    Or of being aware of being preoccupied. I should have gone home long ago. Now I have no chance of catching the last bus and will have to walk the last part of the way…

  92. 92
    lancifer

    Jadehawk,

    because as we all know, talking about racism is racist. If we just ignored racism, it would disappear by itself, you know.

    Yeah, insisting that people stop making decisions based on race is really ignoring the fact that there are problems in society because people make decisions based on race.

    Great logic on your part.

    The entirety of your post is just so much juvenile posturing.

    The topic of this thread was,

    …the way to appreciate and recognize our black and brown intellectual leaders…

    If the use of the words “black” and “brown” don’t strike you as odious in connection with the words “intellectual leaders” I don’t think there is much for us to discuss.

    So these “black and brown intellectual leaders” have some sort of authority over other “black and brown” less intellectual people?

    I hope everyone is keeping track of who is “black” and “brown” because then we will know when we have achieved a society where those things just don’t matter anymore.

  93. 93
    David Marjanović

    Nope, But I despise the argument from “everyone knows” it’s lazy and circular.

    Of course I’m lazy a quarter to midnight when I’ve had a headache all evening. For the record, studies that actually put numbers to such things have been done; I’m sure there are some at the link to “useful stuff” on Jadehawk’s blog. See you tomorrow.

  94. 94
    David Marjanović

    then we will know when we have achieved a society where those things just don’t matter anymore

    We can’t get there by pretending they already don’t matter anymore. We can’t get anywhere by wishful thinking alone. Racism and sexism do not go away when they’re ignored (and neither do most bullies, BTW); when they’re ignored, at best they just don’t change.

  95. 95
    Jadehawk

    The thing is, those categories NEVER HAVE mattered,anymore than Zeus or Quezcoathal ever “mattered” simply because they were supplicatedby the ignorant masses.

    you guys, actively promoting atheism and inclusion of atheist viewpoints is stupid because gods don’t exist and thus religious thinking and actions NEVER HAS mattered!

  96. 96
    carlie

    Jesus on a pogo stick. Lancifer, go google “I don’t see color”, and then read the first dozen or so essays that pop up on search results to see how ignorant you’re being. I’m not even going to do it for you because I don’t think you’re worth the effort. Go educate yourself. And then search for “I don’t care if people are purple” for some more. In a nutshell, you’re ignoring the actual lived experiences of people who have dealt with racism all their lives and pretending it doesn’t matter because you personally don’t want to pay attention to it.

    Where the fuck do the “power brokers” in the skeptic movement (ie “rich old white dudes”) get the right to appoint representatives of other races/ethnicities and delegate to them the authority to become spokespersons for everyone in their very broad arbitrary category?

    I think just because they’re the ones organizing it in the first place? The only way to start right now is for the people who are the organizers/leaders in the organizations that have enough money and clout and members to do conferences to start expanding on what the conferences do and what the organizations pay attention to, and at the moment the people in those positions are mostly the old white dudes. I don’t see them as appointing anyone, but inviting more participation.

  97. 97
    onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork

    The thing is, those categories NEVER HAVE mattered,anymore than Zeus or Quezcoathal ever “mattered” simply because they were supplicatedby the ignorant masses.

    Oh, yes, they NEVER have mattered. So, of course, everyone killed, injuried or impacted by slavery never mattered, everyone who died in racial and ethnic conflicts never mattered, every LGBTIQ individual harassed, bullied or killed never mattered, etc.

    Social construct means that we recognize now that the categories are artificial. That recognition does not create a time machine that erases all the violence, war and hatred those ‘artificial’ categories created. In order to make progress, we have to identify those artificial categories and systematically begin taking them apart and slowly undoing the damage.

    Saying “they aren’t real so they were never real so they don’t matter” is nothing but denying the problem.

  98. 98
    lancifer

    David M.

    We can’t get there by pretending they already don’t matter anymore. We can’t get anywhere by wishful thinking alone. Racism and sexism do not go away when they’re ignored (and neither do most bullies, BTW); when they’re ignored, at best they just don’t change.

    Again, where did I say any such thing? In fact I have said the opposite many times such as,

    unscientific “racial” categories have been used to impose irrational and destructive policies and behaviors onto individuals (Like the cops you mentioned earlier.)

    It is quite perverse to insist that someone that despises racial discrimination, and wants to end it, thinks it doesn’t exist.

    It is also quite absurd to insist that the way to end racial discrimination is to employ more of it.

    I have no doubt that there exist studies that show people, even well-intentioned, nice people, succumb to subtle racial discrimination.

    So fucking what! Does that somehow justify the implementation of institutional racial discrimination?

    Really, do you suppose that the answer to this subtle personal covert racial discrimination is systematized societal overt racial discrimination?

    Seriously?

  99. 99
    Jadehawk

    you guys, it’s just mean and wrong to try to fight privilege by actually addressing and dismantling it instead of just declaring oneself colorblind!

  100. 100
    Jadehawk

    in fact, doing so is classracial warfare!!!

  101. 101
    lancifer

    Jadehawk,

    Where did anyone say they were “colorblind”?

    Really, if you want to make a meaningful comment go right ahead.

    Standing there, making faces, is just making you look like an ass.

  102. 102
    Cipher

    Dear obnoxious I-Don’t-See-Color Race-Doesn’t-Matter denialist assholes,

    You seem to think that the status quo is okay, and that merit and desire determine who will lead things. In effect, you are saying that the reason the movement is disproportionately run by a bunch of older middle-class white guys is that older middle-class white guys have a disproportionate amount of merit.
    Sit and consider whether you really think that’s true, and secondarily, whether you’re okay with being the sort of person who thinks that’s true.

  103. 103
    Jadehawk

    you wish, honeybunch. in reality, you and jonas are the only ones looking like asses, spewing ignorant neo-liberalism.

    clowns. both of you.

  104. 104
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Her #2 took me a while.

    It’s fascinating, if not entirely unexpected: PZ sends people to Sikivu Hutchinson’s post, and these jokers don’t even have the guts to comment there.

  105. 105
    Jadehawk

    Sit and consider whether you really think that’s true, and secondarily, whether you’re okay with being the sort of person who thinks that’s true.

    it’s not that it’s ok, it’s that doing something to remedy the problem is just as bad and REVERSE RACISM and WAAAAAAAH.

    therefore we shouldn’t do anything. well, maybe we could ask the racists nicely to stop being racist, but that’s it. everything that actually dismantles white privilege is just anti-white racism, you see.

  106. 106
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I have no doubt that there exist studies that show people, even well-intentioned, nice people, succumb to subtle racial discrimination.

    So fucking what!

    Sums up your perspective, doesn’t it?

  107. 107
    PZ Myers

    “Jonas” was the banned misogynistic asshole halostarbucks. His comments, as well as those made under two other aliases elsewhere, have been deleted.

  108. 108
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    it’s not that it’s ok,…

    No, it’s that it’s OK. I have little doubt these people, posturing aside, think that “older middle-class [and of course "upper class"] white guys have a disproportionate amount of merit.”

  109. 109
    lancifer

    Cassandra Caligaria,

    You seem to think that the status quo is okay, and that merit and desire determine who will lead things. In effect, you are saying that the reason the movement is disproportionately run by a bunch of older middle-class white guys is that older middle-class white guys have a disproportionate amount of merit.

    Why don’t you try replying to my actual arguments instead of constructing, and answering, poorly worded straw men?

    I have no fucking idea why the “movement” is disproportionately run by “white men” but since the movement is disproportionately populated by “white men” that may have something to do with it.

    I really don’t give a rat’s ass what sex or “race” “runs the movement” so long as the intellectual ideals that they represent are rational and ethical.

    Do I wish that more people, of all shapes sizes and colors, were atheists? Sure.

    Do I think there needs to be a concerted effort to make sure that barriers, to people of all backgrounds, do not exist to getting into the “movement” at all levels?

    Yes siree!

    Am I willing to put in place a system that identifies members by “race”?

    Fuck no!

    I am an atheist first and foremost because of my dedication to reason and science and you are never going to convince me that treating people differently because of “race” is either rational or scientific.

  110. 110
    carlie

    Aw, dammit. I’m so bad at recognizing banned people. Sorry I engaged.

  111. 111
    carlie

    lancifer – did you go try to educate yourself on racial issues yet? Because if you have a dedication to reason and science like you say you do, then you’d know that you need to learn about it first and not just rely on what comes out of your own ass.

  112. 112
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    but since the movement is disproportionately populated by “white men” that may have something to do with it.

    Only in your delusional dreams. In actuality, old white men have a tendency to invite other old white men to speak, and ignore younger folks of color and ladybits who can speak intelligently (unlike you), and who have the means to attend a lot of meetings.

  113. 113
    PZ Myers

    Lancifer: you sound exactly like the guy who stood up in the Q&A and self-righteously announced that he didn’t see color anywhere, and that he was colorblind to these differences…as if that made him a good person.

    In other words, you sound exactly like one of the people who prompted Sikivu to make her post.

  114. 114
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I really don’t give a rat’s ass what sex or “race” “runs the movement” so long as the intellectual ideals that they represent are rational and ethical.

    And this is about making them rational and ethical.

  115. 115
    lancifer

    carlie,

    My own “ass” is married to an African woman and has spent a lot of time living in Africa.

    OH NO! I’m sure that BINGO! chips are flying as I speak.

    How dare I mention that my life experience includes sharing my life with African people!

  116. 116
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Lancifer: you sound exactly like the guy who stood up in the Q&A and self-righteously announced that he didn’t see color anywhere, and that he was colorblind to these differences…as if that made him a good person.

    It’s shocking, after years of Colbert mocking it so relentlessly, that anyone would claim this with a straight face.

  117. 117
    lancifer

    Hey PZ,

    Lancifer: you sound exactly like the guy who stood up in the Q&A and self-righteously announced that he didn’t see color anywhere, and that he was colorblind to these differences…as if that made him a good person.

    Where the fuck did I say anything like that?

  118. 118
    Cipher

    I have no fucking idea why the “movement” is disproportionately run by “white men” but since the movement is disproportionately populated by “white men” that may have something to do with it.
    I really don’t give a rat’s ass what sex or “race” “runs the movement” so long as the intellectual ideals that they represent are rational and ethical.

    And that’s a problem you have. A big fucking contrived blind spot. Because a movement run by a bunch of older middle-class white men is not going to attract people “of all shapes sizes and colors.” It cannot and does not adequately address the issues faced by people “of all shapes sizes and colors.”

  119. 119
    lancifer

    Tell me PZ what is the scientific demarcation between “black” and “brown”?

  120. 120
    Cipher

    Tell me PZ what is the scientific demarcation between “black” and “brown”?

    It’s really sad that you think you’re being clever.

  121. 121
    PZ Myers

    Here:

    I have no fucking idea why the “movement” is disproportionately run by “white men” but since the movement is disproportionately populated by “white men” that may have something to do with it.
    I really don’t give a rat’s ass what sex or “race” “runs the movement” so long as the intellectual ideals that they represent are rational and ethical.

    Why is the movement disproportionately populated with white men?

    You claim that you don’t care about anything but the ideas…and that’s a declaration that color is invisible to you.

    These are all the kinds of premises that promote the status quo and lead to a perpetuation of biases.

    You should care about the uniformity of the leadership, because it indicates a uniformity of experience and concerns.

  122. 122
    PZ Myers

    There is no scientific demarcation between black and brown…but there’s definitely a cultural one.

  123. 123
    lancifer

    Cassandra,

    The last time I checked American Atheists was founded by a woman and the president has been a woman 45 out of the 47 years it has existed.

    Maybe you should check your vision.

  124. 124
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Am I willing to put in place a system that identifies members by “race”?

    Fuck no!

    “Put in place”? *guffaw*

  125. 125
    Cipher

    The last time I checked American Atheists was founded by a woman and the president has been a woman 45 out of the 47 years it has existed.

    Maybe you should check your vision.

    American Atheists: it’s the entire atheist movement, apparently!

  126. 126
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Tell me PZ what is the scientific demarcation between “black” and “brown”?

    What is your scientific demarcation between idiocy and incompetency. You are somewhere in the middle. Society is still sexist/racist. Anybody who thinks otherwise is a delusional fool attempting to hide behind white privilege by pretending the status quo is OK.

  127. 127
    lancifer

    PZ Meyers,

    You claim that you don’t care about anything but the ideas…and that’s a declaration that color is invisible to you.

    I call bullshit. Where did I say any such thing?

    You should care about the uniformity of the leadership, because it indicates a uniformity of experience and concerns.

    Indeed, I do care that a range of experiences and concerns are addressed by the leadership of the “movement”.

    I’m just not willing to assign such things by the irrational proxy of “race”.

  128. 128
    PZ Myers

    Have you actually attended any atheist conventions? I’ve been going for a long time, and I can tell you that even when AA had a woman president, the rank and file were overwhelmingly old white men. There’s nothing wrong with old white men, of course, but there is something wrong with an absence of diversity.

    This has been slowly changing for the better over time (because people have been consciously working to improve the situation), but to point to the few women who have had prominence and pretend that that negates the recognized lack of diversity certainly will put chips on lots of bingo cards — it’s a standard ploy by sexists.

  129. 129
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I call bullshit. Where did I say any such thing?

    We call bullshit on your whole attitude. Typical of a white male, who without residual privilege would fall behind due to incompetency and stupidity. As you show so well.

  130. 130
    lancifer

    PZ,

    There is no scientific demarcation between black and brown…but there’s definitely a cultural one.

    Then use language that identifies culture. Brown is often a pseudo-racial proxy for Hispanic.

    And Hispanic is an overly broad term that attempts to connect a vast array of cultures that really only share a language.

  131. 131
    PZ Myers

    #127: I quoted your comment #109 in my comment #121. Do try to keep up.

    Yes, race is a totally irrational proxy. Tell that to the Republican Party, to the police, to bank lending agencies, to taxi companies, to human resources departments…the problem is that this totally irrational proxy is used to build walls around whole groups of people.

    You have to work to tear down walls. You can’t just pretend they don’t exist.

  132. 132
    Jadehawk

    “Jonas” was the banned misogynistic asshole halostarbucks. His comments, as well as those made under two other aliases elsewhere, have been deleted.

    shocking; shocking, I tell you.

    No, it’s that it’s OK.

    I was being facetious, but if I came across as saying these guys don’t think racism is ok, then I apologize

    I have no fucking idea why the “movement” is disproportionately run by “white men” but since the movement is disproportionately populated by “white men” that may have something to do with it.

    wow, you’re dumb.

    Where the fuck did I say anything like that?

    But hey, I don’t want to be a denialist so why don’t you tell me how I can group people into these “racial” categories?

    You seem to be able to tell which people fall into which race.

    lol. self-contradicting idiot FTL

    The last time I checked American Atheists was founded by a woman and the president has been a woman 45 out of the 47 years it has existed.

    the US president is black, therefore there are no racial disparities in US government.

  133. 133
    lancifer

    Boy, you folks really like BINGO!

    I only responded to Cassandra’s claim that “white men” were in charge by pointing out that the most popular Atheist organization was founded and presided over for most of its existence by a woman.

    I think the logic of this reply is self-evident. The fact that you wish to ascribe some nefarious intent based on my race and sex strikes me as disgusting.

  134. 134
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Thus excreted vijgen:

    PZ should stick to his core competencies, at least insofar as this blog is concerned. As of this moment, there is nothing of greater political significance than opposing the malign effects of “religion” upon the flourishing, even upon the very survival, of the human species. That other stuff – sex, race – it’s trivial by comparison.

    That’s right. Only white men count as “the human species”. The flourishing, even the very survival, of the other 85% is just a trivial distraction.

    And, of course, sexism and racism have nothing at all to do with the malign effects of “religion”.

    Can anyone tell me how to use comic sans these days?

    Brownian, I think you got your stats wrong here (unusual for you): “According to this fuckhead’s logic, every health researcher in the world should be working on eradicating heart disease and cancer. Everything else is trivial by comparison.” In Australia, ischaemic heart disease alone gets you 16%. That’s 12.64% globally, so yeah, you should add a 2-3% one like lung cancer or malaria. But you don’t need to add in anything major to ignore the other 85%.

  135. 135
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I only responded to Cassandra’s claim that “white men” were in charge by pointing out that the most popular Atheist organization was founded and presided over for most of its existence by a woman.

    I think the logic of this reply is self-evident. The fact that you wish to ascribe some nefarious intent based on my race and sex strikes me as disgusting.

    Which proves absolutely nothing. Tokenism until proven otherwise. I notice you aren’t big on citing the literature to show this is a post-sexist/post-racist society. I wonder why that is? Maybe because we aren’t, and you couldn’t compete in a totally unprivileged position…

  136. 136
    Cipher

    I only responded to Cassandra’s claim that “white men” were in charge by pointing out that the most popular Atheist organization was founded and presided over for most of its existence by a woman.

    Which doesn’t constitute a meaningful reply to that claim, as you would realize if you were not completely ridiculous. HEY WOMEN AND POC DID YOU KNOW RACE AND GENDER DON’T MATTER TAKE IT FROM ME I’M A WHITE GUY SO I KNOW

  137. 137
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Indeed, I do care that a range of experiences and concerns are addressed by the leadership of the “movement”.

    I’m just not willing to assign such things by the irrational proxy of “race”.

    Because, despite the centuries-long reality of racial prejudice and discrimination leading to different experiences and concerns, race remains an irrational proxy. You’re transparent, or stupid.

  138. 138
    consciousness razor

    Indeed, I do care that a range of experiences and concerns are addressed by the leadership of the “movement”.

    I’m just not willing to assign such things by the irrational proxy of “race”.

    Identifying to what extent there is a bias against race, as well as taking actions to reverse it, is not the same introducing such a bias. This is not difficult to understand.

  139. 139
    PZ Myers

    Gosh. Since your logic is so self-evident, I think you ought to go bring this up at the Black Skeptics weblog. It’s exactly the kind of thing Sikivu Hutchinson was talking about in her post. Why aren’t you discussing it there?

  140. 140
    Jadehawk

    You’re transparent, or stupid.

    both/and

  141. 141
    lancifer

    PZ Meyers,

    You have to work to tear down walls. You can’t just pretend they don’t exist.

    Agreed! Again, I have never claimed that racial discrimination doesn’t exist. So stop fucking saying that I do.

    I whole heartedly endorse all attempts, both personal and public, to repudiate racial discrimination.

    I just don’t happen to think that policies that perpetuate the use of race as a factor in decisions of organizations and governments help that cause.

  142. 142
    lancifer

    PZ Meyers,

    It’s exactly the kind of thing Sikivu Hutchinson was talking about in her post. Why aren’t you discussing it there?

    Cool, I’ll tell her you sent me.

  143. 143
    consciousness razor

    testing…

    Can anyone tell me how to use comic sans these days?

    I think it still works.

  144. 144
    Jadehawk

    PZ Meyers,

    lol

    I just don’t happen to think that policies that perpetuate the use of race as a factor in decisions of organizations and governments help that cause.

    “…and even though I have never bothered to find out if that’s true, I insist that you take this opinion of mine seriously”

  145. 145
    consciousness razor

    Yep, it still works.

  146. 146
    lancifer

    Well folks.

    I’m sure it’s a sign that I have dominated and subjugated my African wife but I have to go pick her up from work.

    I’ll check back in an hour or two.

    Enjoy your BINGO! while I’m gone.

  147. 147
    lancifer

    PZ Myers,

    Oops, sorry about the extra “e”. My sister is a “Meyers”.

    Clearly that typo has invalidate everything I have said and me as a person.

    Later.

  148. 148
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’m sure it’s a sign that I have dominated and subjugated my African wife but I have to go pick her up from work.

    If you aren’t lying. Odds are you are lying….

    I’ll check back in an hour or two.

    Enjoy your BINGO! while I’m gone.

    It’s your racism and sexism that makes our bingo game interesting. If you shut the fuck up, nobody could win based on cliches…

  149. 149
    Jadehawk

    I’m sure it’s a sign that I have dominated and subjugated my African wife but I have to go pick her up from work.

    translation: I have run out of stupid shit to say, so now I’m gonna strawman you and flounce

  150. 150
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    And Hispanic is an overly broad term that attempts to connect a vast array of cultures that really only share a language.

    I know! There are the people with pure Spanish blood, and there are the low-class, Indians, etc., who are mixed up with them. It’s stupid that they’re all often treated the same, and totally irrational for people to develop an identity for social struggle based on their treatment by more powerful groups.

  151. 151
    'Tis Himself

    lancifer #141

    I just don’t happen to think that policies that perpetuate the use of race as a factor in decisions of organizations and governments help that cause.

    You’ve told us, at length, what you don’t like and what you think is ineffective in combating racism. You’ve yet to explain what you think would work.

  152. 152
    Jadehawk

    Clearly that typo has invalidate everything I have said and me as a person.

    needs more straw.

  153. 153
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    consciousness razor – whut? Did your blockquote look like CS to you? Not to me.

  154. 154
    Cipher

    I’m sure it’s a sign that I have dominated and subjugated my African wife but I have to go pick her up from work.

    What was that you said about strawmen?
    You know what I think would be really nice and demonstrate your respect for your wife? If you didn’t parade her existence as a signal for how great you are and how impossible it is that you’re propagating racist views with your inane comments.
    I think that would be really nice.

  155. 155
    Jadehawk

    consciousness razor – whut? Did your blockquote look like CS to you? Not to me.

    CS doesn’t work globally on FTB. some people have a custom style sheet that makes it visible, so it’s an inside joke now (i don’t have that mod, I can’t be bothered)

  156. 156
    'Tis Himself

    I don’t know about pure Comic Sans but the gumby gif combined with Comic Sans in a blockquote can be done by using <blockquote cite = “creationist”>

  157. 157
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Cool, I’ll tell her you sent me.

    Still nothing from lancifer there yet.

    When you return, lancifer, I assume you’ll be commenting there.

  158. 158
    consciousness razor

    Off-topic: to get comic sans on Firefox, download Greasemonkey and get the script for it at this page on the Pharyngula wiki. Alas, it will only be visible to those using the script.

  159. 159
    Jadehawk

    SC, to be fair *cough*, he could be stuck in moderation if he’s never commented over there before.

  160. 160
    consciousness razor

    Pure comic sans outside a blockquote can be made this way:

    <q cite=”creationist”>Comic Sans Text Here</q cite>

    If I recall correctly, that doesn’t generally work when it’s inside a blockquote or in some nested blockquotes.

  161. 161
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I was being facetious, but if I came across as saying these guys don’t think racism is ok, then I apologize

    Sorry – I did think (90%) you were being serious, for some reason, though it should have been obvious you weren’t.

    These people are all about hierarchy.

  162. 162
    PZ Myers

    Please, Lancifer, once you get back, could you please focus on bringing your wisdom to Black Skeptics?

  163. 163
    lancifer

    PZ Myers,

    You claim to want “diversity” in the ranks of atheist organizations. But it seems that your tolerance of diversity is only skin deep. You seem to have very little appetite for diversity of thought.

    I am atheist scientist/teacher that shares nearly all of your views of the universe but based on my reading of your blog over the last few years perhaps does not share all of your socio-political views.

    I’m no Republican but I do see things a bit differently than you do. Is there no place in the “movement” for atheists that may disagree politically?

  164. 164
    Ing

    You claim to want “diversity” in the ranks of atheist organizations. But it seems that your tolerance of diversity is only skin deep. You seem to have very little appetite for diversity of thought.

    I’m sorry we will endever to allow you to be wrong more.

  165. 165
    Jadehawk

    I’m no Republican but I do see things a bit differently than you do. Is there no place in the “movement” for atheists that may disagree politically about AGW?

    I’m no Republican but I do see things a bit differently than you do. Is there no place in the “movement” for atheists that may disagree politically about evolution?

    I’m no Republican but I do see things a bit differently than you do. Is there no place in the “movement” for atheists that may disagree politically about the efficacy of vaccines?

    The social sciences are not a matter of personal preference and opinion. Thus, there may very well be as little place for people who spout ignorance on those subjects as there is for those who spout ignorance on the question of Climate Change, vaccines, and evolution. At least if what we want is a rational movement.

  166. 166
    Jadehawk

    You claim to want “diversity” in the ranks of atheist organizations. But it seems that your tolerance of diversity is only skin deep. You seem to have very little appetite for diversity of thought.

    =

    These skeptics often express that anti-theism is a barrier to participation in our science-based events. Whatever your own feelings about religion, this is obviously a topic which fits under the heading of “diversity.”
    [...]
    It’s a sort of paradox: the wider the scope of skepticism, the less diverse its community becomes.

  167. 167
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    PZ Myers,

    lancifer, I just checked at her post again and there are still no comments from you. Are they being held in moderation? Are you going to post there and tell her PZ sent you or not? If you’re not commenting there, why not?

  168. 168
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    lancifer has now posted/appeared over there:

    Hi Sikivu,

    PZ Myers just referred me to your blog.

    I posted on his thread about ways to get “black and brown intellectual leaders” into the “movement”.

    After disagreeing about the need to identify people by race and then attempt to get the “right” number of “racial” people into leadership positions he seemed keen on my posting here.

    Have you read his post and the comments?

    So she, who wrote the post PZ referred people to in the OP, and with whose post you’re not going to be bothered to engage, is now obliged to read his post and comments?

    You utter asshole.

  169. 169
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    the “right” number of “racial” people

    As opposed to the white, nonracial, default people.

  170. 170
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’m no Republican but I do see things a bit differently than you do. Is there no place in the “movement” for atheists that may disagree politically?

    Your disagreement isn’t political, but rather factual. Only if there is no racism/sexism in society can it be considered political rather than factual. And you have shown absolutely no evidence that the facts aren’t this is still a racist/sexist society…I wonder why…

  171. 171
    consciousness razor

    I’m no Republican but I do see things a bit differently than you do.

    Is there any point in saying this if you’re not going to be specific?

    Is there no place in the “movement” for atheists that may disagree politically?

    There isn’t a set of ideas one ought to have in order to be an atheist, but that is not to say “anything goes,” that there are no ideas which ought to be opposed for being irrational or unethical. We’re still people, and there are plenty of other things than atheism which concern each of us, so it depends on what exactly the disagreement is. I’m simply not going to consider someone an ally if they have opposing views on what I consider important issues, because it wouldn’t make any sense.

  172. 172
    Kagato

    I whole heartedly endorse all attempts, both personal and public, to repudiate racial discrimination.

    I just don’t happen to think that policies that perpetuate the use of race as a factor in decisions of organizations and governments help that cause.

    Then you clearly don’t endorse “all attempts”, do you?

    “I support all efforts to fight racism!”
    “Okay, how about–”
    “EXCEPT THAT ONE!”

    Do tell; what effective approaches would you recommend?

    Because by shooting down the first constructive suggestion that was made, all you’ve done so far is voted for the status quo.

  173. 173
    Cipher

    Is there no place in the “movement” for atheists that may disagree politically?

    Dunno about PZ, but personally, I’m all for shutting you out til you educate yourselves. Go ahead and sputter.

  174. 174
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    “I support all efforts to fight racism!”

    “Okay, how about–”

    “EXCEPT THAT ONE!”

    :)

  175. 175
    lancifer

    Well, I support all rational, non-counterproductive attempts anyway.

    I love that first I am derided for not posting quickly enough at Sikivu’s blog and then I’m an “utter asshole” when I do because I asked her if she had read PZ’s post.

    How dare I ask her a question!

    You folks are a rather surly bunch. Getting enough fiber in your diets?

    So far as you know I am an atheist that agrees with the goals of the “movement” but doesn’t agree with perpetuating racial identity to, uh, end people identifying each other on the basis of race.

    Of course you don’t make any actual arguments to support your position, instead preferring straw men arguments and infantile personal attacks.

    Quite impressive.

  176. 176
    Ing

    @Lancifer

    Check your issues of Science and you’ll find a neat little news item about pro-activly creating minority role models. Discrepencies with demographics started to show positive improvement quickly once a push was made to represent minorities. They used women but I believe the results will be similar.

    http://s1164.photobucket.com/albums/q561/ingdamnit/Docs/?action=view&current=20120221124112.jpg

    http://s1164.photobucket.com/albums/q561/ingdamnit/Docs/?action=view&current=20120221124112.jpg#!oZZ2QQcurrentZZhttp%3A%2F%2Fs1164.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fq561%2Fingdamnit%2FDocs%2F%3Faction%3Dview%26current%3D20120221124122.jpg

    Now shuddup

  177. 177
    Sili

    Instead of the mostly white organization inviting a black speaker or two, hand the reins over to some black organizers and let them build what they want to hear and what we all should hear.

    So you’re saying the negros should do the work, while massa leans back and sips his mint julep?

    (Do I have to add the <snark> tag?)

  178. 178
    Jadehawk

    Well, I support all rational, non-counterproductive attempts anyway.

    in approximately the same way the Creation Museum supports science

    Of course you don’t make any actual arguments to support your position

    every time an atheist makes fun of a theist, god becomes a little bit more real.

  179. 179
    Ing

    TL/DR version: Science shows affirmative action works

  180. 180
    Jadehawk

    seriously though lancifer: if you’re a scientist, then you have access to a variety or research material. why aren’t you searching for the relevant information, instead of pestering us? and more importantly, why haven’t you searched out the relevant literature before forming an opinion on this subject?

  181. 181
    Jadehawk

    of*

  182. 182
    strange gods before me ॐ

    clearly laid out PC opinions of our host and his intolerant minions.

    You irrational paternalism is showing.

    Your so cool! Golly it’s clear that you have a great deal of empathy

    The entirety of your post is just so much juvenile posturing.

    Is there no place in the “movement” for atheists that may disagree politically?

  183. 183
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    and more importantly, why haven’t you searched out the relevant literature before forming an opinion on this subject?

    Probably an arrogant and ignorant liberturd. It would be true to type.

  184. 184
    strange gods before me ॐ

    My personal belief in this matter is that increasing diversity in general results in a similar outcome – more people who can bring unique experience and perspective to a novel problem will tend to outperform groups that are more homogeneous, regardless of individual merit of the members of those groups.

    And there are the usual insinuations that including someone on […] the basis of diversity, is “patronizing”. This one is especially infuriating in that presuming to speak for us about what would or wouldn’t be patronizing to us is itself patronizing in the extreme, and one also need consider the degree to which the deck is stacked […] against us by bias, assumptions, discrimination and the absence of privilege [such] that conscious acts of inclusion are pretty much the only means by which our voices and accomplishments will be recognized and acknowledged at all. It is not patronization, it is actually doing something about the problem.

  185. 185
    lancifer

    If you mean sociological studies, I’m open for suggestions but have been unimpressed with the research on the issues of “race”.

    Unfortunately sociology is fraught with observer bias unlike any other science and hence is more susceptible to political influences and group think than any other science.

    Most legitimate sociologists are open about the limitations of their discipline.

    But if you think there is a study that brings empirical weight to the proposition that racial preferences are scientifically justifiable point me to it.

  186. 186
    nms

    But if you think there is a study that brings empirical weight to the proposition that racial preferences are scientifically justifiable point me to it.

    He fumbled this sleight of hand because his fingers are still itchy from all the straw.

  187. 187
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I love that first I am derided for not posting quickly enough at Sikivu’s blog

    Her name is Sikivu Hutchinson. It’s the Black Skeptics blog.

    and then I’m an “utter asshole” when I do because I asked her if she had read PZ’s post.

    The point of PZ’s post, as he mentioned in the comments, was to direct you to hers. You didn’t address her points at all, and had the nerve to comment there, reluctantly, asking if she’d read the post and comments here.

  188. 188
    lancifer

    love moderately,

    And there are the usual insinuations that including someone on […] the basis of diversity, is “patronizing”. This one is especially infuriating in that presuming to speak for us about what would or wouldn’t be patronizing to us is itself patronizing in the extreme, and one also need consider the degree to which the deck is stacked […] against us by bias, assumptions, discrimination and the absence of privilege [such] that conscious acts of inclusion are pretty much the only means by which our voices and accomplishments will be recognized and acknowledged at all. It is not patronization, it is actually doing something about the problem.

    So do tell how the deck at atheist organizations are so “stacked against us” that it requires the “conscious acts of inclusion” of white people to get non-white “voices” heard?

    And please be specific. Saying that most of the leaders are “white” is not evidence of exclusionary bias.

  189. 189
    lancifer

    SC,

    If you had read my second post you would see that I did read her post and commented directly on it.

  190. 190
    consciousness razor

    But if you think there is a study that brings empirical weight to the proposition that racial preferences are scientifically justifiable point me to it. [my emphasis]

    Why the fuck do you think anyone here is claiming that?

  191. 191
    Jadehawk

    If you mean sociological studies, I’m open for suggestions but have been unimpressed with the research on the issues of “race”.

    what qualifications do you have to make this determination? Is it similar to the qualification weathermen have to criticize the methods of climate scientists?

    and again, how is it my job to make sure you do not have ignorant opinions? That’s your job. My job is it to make sure my opinions aren’t ignorant.

  192. 192
    Jadehawk

    Why the fuck do you think anyone here is claiming that?

    because he can’t tell the difference between correcting for bias and being biased

  193. 193
    'Tis Himself

    lancifer continues to whine “you’re not doing it right” and “I don’t like your ideas” but has yet to provide a single suggestion on how to improve racial balances at atheist functions. Apparently his sole function is whining, not correcting problems.

  194. 194
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    If you mean sociological studies, I’m open for suggestions but have been unimpressed with the research on the issues of “race”.

    I’m sure you’re quite the scholar.

    Unfortunately sociology is fraught with observer bias unlike any other science and hence is more susceptible to political influences and group think than any other science.

    Oh, definitely. That assertion is so overwhelmed by support that it doesn’t need any.

    Most legitimate sociologists are open about the limitations of their discipline.

    As are scientists in any field.

    But if you think there is a study that brings empirical weight to the proposition that racial preferences are scientifically justifiable point me to it.

    A study! Point to it! Never heard that request before.

    Again, what are the remedies you support? You’ve claimed again and again that you despise racism (although “So fucking what?”, which some might read as maybe not all that concerned), so I’m sure you’ve given this extensive thought. What are your proposed remedies within our community? Why aren’t you offering them at the Black Skeptics blog?

  195. 195
    Ing

    Um I did just point you towards such a study. Hello?

  196. 196
    Cipher

    lancifer isn’t offering them at the Black Skeptics blog because he’s too busy being fucking hilarious:

    It seems that you are more interested in hijacking the atheist “movement” into some sort of leftist “social justice” league than attracting more “non whites” to its cause.

    Your list reads like it could have been written by Marxist theist, and self described “prophet” Cornel West.

    Good luck with that.

  197. 197
    PZ Myers

    Lancifer has been banned. That was appalling: that instead of discussing his assertions about how to address race issues at the Black Skeptics, he scurried over there to claim I’m talking about inserting the ‘“right” number of “racial” people into leadership positions’. That is a total mischaracterization of my argument.

    He’s a coward. He’s happy to lie about what I think, but he’s afraid to talk about what he thinks. Disgraceful and shameful.

  198. 198
    Jadehawk

    lol. everyone should go over to the Black Skeptics blog to admire the density that is lancifer’s “critique” of Sikivu’s post: “zomg you are a marxist leftist hijacker of atheism!!”

  199. 199
    Jadehawk

    or, you could just read it in CC’s blockquote. that works, too :-p

  200. 200
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    SC,

    If you had read my second post you would see that I did read her post and commented directly on it.

    Not really – reads as generic stupidity. But the point was how much it took for you even to make the pretense of engagement with that blog. You had to be dragged there, and still haven’t really addressed the OP.

  201. 201
    Mr. Fire

    lancifer,

    Why are you wasting time on other Pharyngula threads? Are you not going to bother discussing the issue with Sikivu Hutchinson directly?

  202. 202
    'Tis Himself

    I’m beginning to think Nerd is right in #183. Over at Black Skeptics lancifer is doing his best imitation of Ron Paul, complete with racism.

  203. 203
    Jadehawk

    Why are you wasting time on other Pharyngula threads?

    that comment is also awesome in its lack of self-reflection:

    If they are coming to listen and learn and then engage in discussion, then I say welcome them. Why not. I would welcome the opportunity to engage them in a rational discussion.

  204. 204
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Does Cornel West have a Bingo square?

  205. 205
    tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach

    If you want a conference to be widely inclusive, include content of interest to a wide audience, involve a wide range of people in organising it and try not to be pillocks.
    If you want your conference to stay widely inclusive, then work to avoid it splintering into too-limited special interest events.

    A con intended to highlight atheism can attract attendees of any gender, racial background, cultural background and age, and provide a basis for communication and understanding between all those sub-groups. A hyper-specialised con aimed at young, female, straight, educated people from Pakistani families might be a very good thing for those particular folk but it isn’t likely to be a good way of building a wide community.

    If the world of science fiction fandom can produce good general cons like Baycon where even gamers are welcomed (really – even gamers!) then surely an atheism focussed con can do a decent job of welcoming people with non-pasty complexions and lacking dangly genitalia?

  206. 206
    Jadehawk

    Does Cornel West have a Bingo square?

    he probably should; he seems to come up with an odd regularity I don’t quite understand.

  207. 207
    strange gods before me ॐ

    The impact of multiculturalism versus color-blindness on racial bias; DOI 10.1016/j.jesp.2003.09.002

    Two fundamentally different approaches to the reduction of interracial tension and stratification have been proposed by social scientists. One approach, often called color-blindness, proposes that racial categories do not matter and should not be considered when making decisions such as hiring and school admissions. The primary tenet of this approach is that social categories should be dismantled and disregarded, and everyone should be treated as an individual (Firebaugh & Davis, 1998; Lipset, 1996; Sniderman & Piazza, 1993). The second approach, typically called multiculturalism, proposes that group differences and memberships should not only be acknowledged and considered, but also, celebrated (Takaki, 1993; Yinger, 1994). A central tenet of this perspective is that ignoring ethnic group differences, for instance, undermines the cultural heritage of non-white individuals, and, as a result, is detrimental to the well being of ethnic minorities (Sleeter, 1991). In short, color-blind perspectives advocate reducing, eliminating, and ignoring category memberships, whereas multiculturalism advocates considering, and sometimes emphasizing and celebrating, category memberships. [...]

    The present study examined the influence of different interethnic ideologies on automatic and explicit forms of racial prejudice. White American college students were exposed to a message advocating either a color-blind or a multicultural ideological approach to reducing interethnic tension and then completed explicit racial attitude measures, as well as a reaction time measure of automatic evaluations of racial groups. Results suggested that, relative to the multicultural perspective, the color-blind perspective generated greater racial attitude bias measured both explicitly and on the more unobtrusive reaction time measure. The findings of the present study add to previous research advocating a multicultural or dual-identity model of intergroup relations as the more promising route to interracial harmony.

  208. 208
    Jadehawk

    If you want a conference to be widely inclusive, include content of interest to a wide audience, involve a wide range of people in organising it and try not to be pillocks.
    If you want your conference to stay widely inclusive, then work to avoid it splintering into too-limited special interest events.

    translation: include only those minority issues of sufficient interest and entertainment value to white d00dz

    If the world of science fiction fandom can produce good general cons like Baycon

    a quick scan of google images for “baycon” produced virtually no images of non-white people. just sayin’

  209. 209
    PZ Myers

    Science fiction conventions are very poor examples of racial diversity. Sorry. You fail.

  210. 210
    Jadehawk

    lm, that must be one of those studies on the subject of “race” with which lancifer has been “unimpressed”, since it “disagrees” with him. :-p

  211. 211
    strange gods before me ॐ

    So do tell how the deck at atheist organizations are so “stacked against us” that it requires the “conscious acts of inclusion” of white people to get non-white “voices” heard?

    Omigosh this is not even hard to understand.

    Black people tend to have more black acquaintances than white people do. So if a white person is flipping through their contact list, looking for people to invite to a conference, and not thinking about color, they’re usually going to end up selecting a group which is relatively whiter, because the population (the contact list) that they’re sampling is relatively whiter.

    So when, as you say “most of the leaders are white” already, their selections are going to tend whiter than selections made by a more diverse group of organizers.

    This will happen even when everybody agrees that racism is bad, and when everybody agrees that we should try to avoid exclusionary bias.

    This outcome is not preferable, so attempts should be made to actively avoid it. You seem content with a biased outcome, so long as everyone involved had good intentions. But good intentions are small consolation to those who still end up being excluded.

  212. 212
    consciousness razor

    translation: include only those minority issues of sufficient interest and entertainment value to white d00dz

    Yep.

    It’s a bit ironic that it’s not interesting or entertaining to me that “gods” don’t exist. Of course, I comment here a lot, meet with other atheists pretty regularly and generally enjoy our conversations, and I’ve even been to a few atheist and humanist conferences. First and foremost, the people are what really interest me, as diverse and different from me as they are. That generally holds in other areas, whether you ask people going to gaming conventions, book clubs, knitting circles, or whatever it may be. The point in getting together with other people with a common interest has to do with being with those other people — the common interest should be secondary to that.

    Even if you don’t accept that, it should at least be obvious enough that when we’re talking about humanists, human beings should come first, not lectures or philosophical debates or political agendas or anything else.

  213. 213
    strange gods before me ॐ

    lm, that must be one of those studies on the subject of “race” with which lancifer has been “unimpressed”, since it “disagrees” with him. :-p

    Hey, it really is hard to learn new things. :)

    He will probably discount it because it doesn’t appeal to his intuition. I could be snookered by his apparent sincerity, but he does strike me as someone who cares about racism, and has learned, from other people who appear to care about racism, that thinking about color will cause racism and not thinking about color will decrease racism.

    I mean, I get it. It has a veneer of truthiness, and I can see how it’s intuitively appealing. And I think it can truthfully be said that the most hateful racists are people who assign too much salience to color; thus there appears to be such a thing as thinking about it too much.

    But the available research just does not substantiate the naively appealing idea that this is a one-dimensional matter, where thinking about color as rarely as possible would be best.

  214. 214
    Stephanie Zvan

    Science fiction conventions also quite successfully appeal to minority audiences. WisCon is 30+ years old. Gaylaxicon is about to turn 25. Looks like a working strategy to me.

  215. 215
    justawriter

    Oh dear, Stephanie just disagreed with Jadehawk and PZ. She must be destroyed.

  216. 216
    Stephanie Zvan

    justawriter, your paranoia is showing.

  217. 217
    Jadehawk

    do I care to find out how Stephanie’s statement about “specialized” sci-fi cons contradicts my statement about the whiteness of Baycon, or PZ’s statement about generic sci-fi cons?

    nah; not in the mood for fantasy today.

  218. 218
    Cipher

    justawriter, your paranoia is showing.

    wait
    but
    I

    :C
    *puts away flamethrower, looking deflated*

  219. 219
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Stephanie did not disagree at all with Jadehawk, who said

    a quick scan of google images for “baycon” produced virtually no images of non-white people. just sayin’

    and providing a few examples of conventions which explicitly cater to minority audiences is not a strong disagreement with the notion that

    Science fiction conventions [generally] are very poor examples of racial diversity.

    cf. “the exception that proves the rule”.

  220. 220
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Oh, I should have refreshed. All y’all left me was scraps.

  221. 221
    consciousness razor

    CC:
    If it would make you feel any better, I could use a good flamethrowing.

  222. 222
    Stephanie Zvan

    We could make s’mores?

  223. 223
    Vijen

    @love moderately ॐ (=213)
    In the time when most people believed in and were scared by witchcraft it was sensible, even for the few who didn’t believe, to give the matter some attention. Of course, they weren’t thinking “Is this person a witch?” but “Might others take this person for a witch?” In recent times (except in Africa) such considerations are no longer necessary. We don’t continually remind one another that:
    a) witchcraft is a delusion, or
    b) even knowing this we can’t ignore the ignorance of others.

    In just the same way, a time may come when we can afford to blithely ignore skin colour, but that time is not yet, alas. Even regarding witchcraft, many whose lives are blighted by it in Africa (and even some outside href=http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-17255470) would surely be offended by our failure to take it seriously: perhaps we should diversify atheist forums to allow the opponents of witchcraft to play a larger role?

  224. 224
    Cipher

    If it would make you feel any better, I could use a good flamethrowing.

    *dejected* Nah, it’s not the same

    s’mores

    Yay! ^.^ Now all we need is a real troll to roast and there will be singing and probably someone’ll have a guitar and
    Hi Vijen!

  225. 225
    justawriter

    Well, my suggestion that minorities demand a role in organizing atheist conferences rather than letting Old Bewhiskered White Guy PZ decide what was an adequately diverse gathering was met with …
    “translation: the job of creating equality always and only falls on minorities.”
    Since the idea that minorities have a right to seek power and influence for themselves rather than waiting for the power structure to grant them a voice is too terrible to consider, obviously suggesting that science fiction fandom isn’t a complete bastion of racism is something that must be stomped into oblivion.

  226. 226
    consciousness razor

    there will be singing and probably someone’ll have a guitar

    I’m out.

  227. 227
    Jadehawk

    Since the idea that minorities have a right to seek power and influence for themselves rather than waiting for the power structure to grant them a voice

    oh yeah. a scathing post pointing out the shit white people say and shouldn’t is totes “waiting for the power structure to grant them a voice”

    moron

  228. 228
    Stephanie Zvan

    Ah, yes. A bastion must be complete before it exists at all and should be dealt with. Of course.

  229. 229
    Jadehawk

    and of course asking white people to stop making it difficult for racial minorities to be heard is “too terrible to consider”; no, equality must be achieved only by the work of the disadvantaged, otherwise it doesn’t really count and is paternalistic. white people shouldn’t fight the power-structures they benefit from; that’s cheating.

  230. 230
    justawriter

    No. PZ said mostly white organizations should be nice and give black people one day to speak their piece is waiting for the power structure to grant them a voice.

    dick

  231. 231
    Cipher

    I’m out.

    OMG WHY WOULD YOU EVER DO THAT

    Well, my suggestion

    Oh wait, so, actually, your comment had nothing whatsoever to do with Stephanie’s post and was instead a passive-aggressive complaint about your own ignorant, simplistic comment’s reception earlier in the thread? I am shocked and appalled.

  232. 232
    Stephanie Zvan

    There are a couple of things to note about the fact that conventions for minorities are successful in a field. First, it means that if you have essentially no representation of that minority in the attendance at your convention, your convention is doing something that is keeping them away. You may be doing it passively instead of actively, but you’re still doing it.

    The second thing to note is that this convention has produced people more than comfortable talking about the subjects in your field. If you don’t have them talking at your convention, or if you limit their participation to discussing what it’s like to be a minority (waaaay too common), you are failing to draw from a deep well of expertise.

  233. 233
    strange gods before me ॐ

    perhaps we should diversify atheist forums to allow the opponents of witchcraft to play a larger role?

    I have no idea. One would begin by contacting “there is no witchcraft” activists in Africa and asking them what they need and whether they can afford to be associated with atheists.

    For all we know their primary need might be money to fund distribution of their materials.

  234. 234
    consciousness razor

    justawriter:

    I can tell you’re interested in having a serious conversation, not wildly exaggerating and misrepresenting people, so consider this: it isn’t simply up to a minority to demand its own rights. Everyone ought to demand a minority’s rights.

    This isn’t about deciding what’s best for someone else, but that we ought to do something about it ourselves, because laziness and indifference don’t help.

  235. 235
    Jadehawk

    1)that’s run-on sentence is difficult to parse
    2)a white guy telling white organizers to stop being exclusionary is entirely uninterpretable as non-whites waiting politely for inclusion
    3)The Black Skeptics, the people writing the blog PZ was referring to, are doing the opposite of “waiting for the power structure to grant them a voice”

    ergo: you’re making shit up, and it still comes out as you saying white people shouldn’t dismantle their own privileges by demanding and creating more and more inclusion

  236. 236
    Jadehawk

    in fact, i think that’s a false dichotomy. it isn’t a question of either whites dismantling their privilege and non-whites waiting meekly until whitey is done, or non-whites single-handedly wresting power from the hands of whitey without any help from white allies

  237. 237
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Nobody disagreed with

    the idea that minorities have a right to seek power and influence for themselves rather than waiting for the power structure to grant them a voice

    ! The objections were rather to your insistence that there’s something wrong with a white person suggesting that “white organizers just leave a big hole in their schedule, contact people like Sikivu Hutchinson and Anthony Pinn, and let them organize, arrange, choose speakers and format, and bring in the evening’s entertainment, using the organizations resources.”

    You have constructed what is known as a false dichotomy. It is a logical fallacy which is generally to be avoided whenever possible.

  238. 238
    strange gods before me ॐ

    in fact, i think that’s a false dichotomy

    goddamnit I need coffee

  239. 239
    Jadehawk

    hiiiiiveee miiiiinddd

  240. 240
    justawriter

    ! The objections were rather to your insistence that there’s something wrong with a white person suggesting that “white organizers just leave a big hole in their schedule, contact people like Sikivu Hutchinson and Anthony Pinn, and let them organize, arrange, choose speakers and format, and bring in the evening’s entertainment, using the organizations resources.”

    My objection is that “people like Sikivu Hutchinson and Anthony Pinn” should be involved with organizing the whole darn shooting match as a matter of course. Giving them a day instead of a panel spot is just allowing them a slightly nicer ghetto.

  241. 241
    Jadehawk

    and how do you propose to make that happen, when you throw fits at white people dismantling their privilege and insist that progress is only valid if it’s accomplished by the minorities themselves?

    or am I misunderstanding, and are you instead whining because the only progress you are willing to countenance is immediate erasure and disappearance of all racisms and racist structural artefacts?

  242. 242
    Ing

    My objection is that “people like Sikivu Hutchinson and Anthony Pinn” should be involved with organizing the whole darn shooting match as a matter of course. Giving them a day instead of a panel spot is just allowing them a slightly nicer ghetto.

    You’re not serious.

    Helping him paint my fence is exactly like kicking him in the balls

  243. 243
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Giving them a day instead of a panel spot is just allowing them a slightly nicer ghetto.

    Maybe. For the sake of argument, let’s say it is.

    So, if an atheist of color is contacted by a white conference organizer and asked to take over one day of a conference, should they respond by saying “no, thanks”?

    To be ckear, I don’t doubt there may be some people of color who would hold sentiments similar enough to yours that they would prefer to answer “no.” And I don’t argue that they should feel differently.

    But what about those who would prefer to say “yes” and take the day, for what it’s worth? Are you saying they should say “no”?

    Furthermore, will you denigrate them for saying “yes”? You’ve already effectively done so; if you think you ought not to, then perhaps you’ll retract some of your characterizations.

  244. 244
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Argh, now I spent so much time typing a reply working in two tabs and now lancifer has been banned.
    I ain’t going to delete it now, maybe it’s at least entertaining…

    lancifer, cupcake deluxe

    It is quite perverse to insist that someone that despises racial discrimination, and wants to end it, thinks it doesn’t exist

    UR doing it wrong.
    So even if your intention are noble, you’re obviously not getting that the opposite of well done is well meant.

    You want scientific studies?
    Well, I’ll point you to Cordelia Fine’s delusion of gender. Yes, I know, that’s not about race but gender, but from what I know about similar studies done on race, the mechanisms are the same.
    I’ll give you one short quote.
    The general topic was how people gave prevalence to a male candidate and not a female. This held true when applications were identical except for the name.
    It was also true when applications differed in one point and this difference was switched for some people: Whatever qualification the guy had was thought more important for the job than whatever qualification the woman had. If he had experience but lacked education, experience was more important. If he had eductaion and she had experience, education was important:

    As the authors put it, participants may have “felt that they had chosen the right man for the job, when in fact they had chosen the right job criteria for the man.”
    Ironically, the people who were most convinced of their own objectivity discriminated the most

    Sounds like somebody you know?

    My own “ass” is married to an African woman and has spent a lot of time living in Africa.

    OH NO! I’m sure that BINGO! chips are flying as I speak.

    How dare I mention that my life experience includes sharing my life with African people!

    Oh, but you yourself declared that to be rather unimportant.

    I have no fucking idea why the “movement” is disproportionately run by “white men” but since the movement is disproportionately populated by “white men” that may have something to do with it.

    Well, at least you admit that you’re clueless.
    Now, two questions:
    Do you think that it’s a good thing the movement consists of and is run by the small minority that is the most privileged group in society?
    If not, what do you think would be a good way to change that?

    I whole heartedly endorse all attempts, both personal and public, to repudiate racial discrimination.

    Except, of course, when that means that people actively look for POC (or any othe minority for that sake) and promote them because they bring exactly what the movement needs: their voices, experiences and competence.
    We can’t be having that.

    I’m sure it’s a sign that I have dominated and subjugated my African wife but I have to go pick her up from work.

    You probably also have gay friends….

    You claim to want “diversity” in the ranks of atheist organizations. But it seems that your tolerance of diversity is only skin deep. You seem to have very little appetite for diversity of thought.

    Yeah, teach the controversy.

    I am atheist scientist/teacher that shares nearly all of your views of the universe but based on my reading of your blog over the last few years perhaps does not share all of your socio-political views.

    Aaaaargh. I hate it when such clueless idiot are allowed to ruin the next generation.
    Hell, did they ever try to teach you about diversity, subconscious biases and the fact that you have to actively fight biases and prejudice first and foremost in your own behaviour in college?
    Or are you one of those people who claim “they’re teaching a subject” and that they are qualified in that subject and therefore sociology, psychology and pedagogy are not that important?

    If you mean sociological studies, I’m open for suggestions but have been unimpressed with the research on the issues of “race”.

    Unfortunately sociology is fraught with observer bias unlike any other science and hence is more susceptible to political influences and group think than any other science.

    Shorter lancifer:
    I’m going to invalidate a whole scientific discipline because they don’t yield the results I want. Suddenly biases and political influences exist.

    translation: include only those minority issues of sufficient interest and entertainment value to white d00dz

    Yep, and don’t forget that it’s supposed to be entertaining. Not educating or anything. Please don’t make them uncomfortable least they could learn something….

    justawriter

    My objection is that “people like Sikivu Hutchinson and Anthony Pinn” should be involved with organizing the whole darn shooting match as a matter of course. Giving them a day instead of a panel spot is just allowing them a slightly nicer ghetto.

    A fucking ghetto? Are you kidding?
    Saying: Those people are great. They have competence, knowledge, experience we’re lacking and having a whole day of them would not only be working against the current dominance of white old dudes but also be good for everybody (including the white old dudes who really, really need to learn more about diversity) is a fucking ghetto?

    Jadehawk

    and how do you propose to make that happen, when you throw fits at white people dismantling their privilege and insist that progress is only valid if it’s accomplished by the minorities themselves?

    Especially when quite often minorities themselves tell us privileged people that it’s (of course) our fucking job to do so.
    And usually the first thing is to STFU and listen.

  245. 245
    evilisgood

    Seriously. I’m going to point this out again, because it has been lost. The conference in discussion cost $275. In Florida. We’re not doing so well. You want people who are not old well-to-do white men to attend your conferences? Good on you. Charge less.

    Come on. It does not matter what color the leaders of a movement are if normal people can’t afford to attend the meetings. I’ll say this on Sikivu’s blog if it is necessary to do so. I wanted to hear Sikivu speak in my area, as well as others, but I cannot afford it.

    In the land of Rick “Fire Marshall Bill/Voldemort” Scott, nobody and I mean nobody but old white well-to-do fellows who maybe have car dealerships or some such thing are going to be able to spend that kind of money on a conference. I can’t even go to the horror convention to meet Clive Barker, and that’s going to cost a couple hundred bucks including hotel expense.

    Two Hundred Seventy Five dollars just to get in the door? Go fuck yourself. If you want diversity in attendance, start with that. In OTown, you are not going to get anything but what you got. Know that audience, and do not complain when that audience is what you paid for. Or do complain, and then fix it.

    I really wanted to go to that conference. If it had been cost effective I could have brought a lot of diverse friends. You want to open this up? This is where you begin, especially now, when people are disaffected with the system. Thanks for listening.

  246. 246
    evilisgood

    I am a little drunk and I realize that the concept of “normal people” might be unclear. I just meant regular, average, possibly unemployed persons. In FL, that’s a whole lot of people. Especially in my county. We are totally fucked over here.

  247. 247
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Fair point.

  248. 248
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Come on. It does not matter what color the leaders of a movement are if normal people can’t afford to attend the meetings. I’ll say this on Sikivu’s blog if it is necessary to do so. I wanted to hear Sikivu speak in my area, as well as others, but I cannot afford it.

    Shorter evilisgood:
    Stop talking about other people, care about me.
    Listen, I can understand your financial problems. It’s not like I haven’t been there.
    But what do you think is the aim of the many fundraisers you see here and in other places?
    Do you think that the people running those organisations poop out money?
    Do you think that to organize those events comes cheap?
    Yes, the well-off old white dudes can probably do more in that respect. Oh, wait, there’s already people doing such things, like skepchick and other organisations.
    People actively working towards greater diversity.
    There are many issues about all those conferences that need to be adressed. Affordable prices is one.
    Diversity is another.
    Coming to a thread about racial diversity to complain about your financial problems is derailing deluxe.

    BTW, have you ever contacted the organizers of such events with your problems? Have you ever tried to organize a conference in your area yourself, got involved in a group or started one?
    If the answer to all those questions is no, you’re just a spoiled brat who throws a tantrum about the world not revolving around them.

  249. 249
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Nah, what evilisgood is saying ought not to be controversial.

    It is a fact that as the price of something rises, it becomes less available to less wealthy people. And wealth does correlate with color.

  250. 250
    Cipher

    Seriously. I’m going to point this out again, because it has been lost. The conference in discussion cost $275. In Florida. We’re not doing so well. You want people who are not old well-to-do white men to attend your conferences? Good on you. Charge less.

    I think possibly the reason it looks like your point got lost is because everyone just knows you’re right, but it’s slightly off the topic, so we generally nodded in assent and moved along. For what it’s worth, though, yeah. You’re right. A lot of people just can’t afford to go, and that would be bad enough, but based on the way our economy functions, I’d bet that it’s also disproportionately affecting and discouraging women and people of color.

  251. 251
    evilisgood

    Shorter Gilliel:

    Money doesn’t grow on trees!

    It’s your fault. Stop talking about your problems. Here’s Muslima. Shut the fuck up, that’s why!

    Two hundred seventy five dollars is a lot of money in this state. It’s not a fucking controversy. Your privilege is showing, Gilleil. Please enjoy.

  252. 252
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    evilisgood

    Two hundred seventy five dollars is a lot of money in this state.

    Hmm, yeah, I know. It’s a bit less than the money I have for feeding a family of four on average. It’s about half the rent I pay.

    It’s not a fucking controversy.

    I never said so.
    Wait, let me see what I actually wrote:

    Listen, I can understand your financial problems. It’s not like I haven’t been there.

    Yes, the well-off old white dudes can probably do more in that respect.

    There are many issues about all those conferences that need to be adressed. Affordable prices is one.

    Does that sound like I’m dismissing your problem?
    I pointed out to things that are already done to counter this problem.
    And I also mentioned that this is not the topic of the current thread
    You came here, made your point and when nobody chose to engage you on it you came back and demanded that people care about it.
    Which is actually derailing.
    Turning the conversation from A to B because B is of greater importance to you personally.

    Your privilege is showing, Gilleil. Please enjoy.

    You’re utter inability to use copy+paste is showing.

    love moderately

    Nah, what evilisgood is saying ought not to be controversial.

    It is a fact that as the price of something rises, it becomes less available to less wealthy people. And wealth does correlate with color.

    I’m not saying it is.
    See above, I never doubted or rejected the claim that economic inequality is barring the entrance for many people and especially POC.
    I don’t find it controversial. I just find it OT. And since evilisgood framed it to be all about hir person, it stuck me as grossly inappropriate.

  253. 253
    strange gods before me ॐ

    And since evilisgood framed it to be all about hir person

    Not “all”:

    You want people who are not old well-to-do white men to attend your conferences? Good on you. Charge less.

    Evilisgood is not the entire set of people who are not old well-to-do white men.

    There is a reason why she started on this. It wasn’t out of the blue. AE said:

    If our question is this: “Why do these conferences seem to be such a hit with white well-to-do men, and not everyone else?… maybe we should get the answer to that from some of the everyone-else crowd.

    To which evilisgood figured she was welcome enough to answer,

    As a member of the everyone-else crowd

    And, while I acknowledge there’s room for disagreement here, I do think the topic of this thread is broader than you do. Sikivu’s #3 was a response to «How do “we” diversify the “movement”&raquo, and the response did mention economic issues.

  254. 254
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Oh, and btw, let’s talk about what you call my privilege.
    I have privilege manyfold in that aspect:

    -I’ve had the privilege to be too broke to attend such events
    -I’ve had the privilege to organize such events (albeit much smaller) and that included doing financial calculations and negotiations. I juggled the problem of price vs attendence.
    If we swab speaker/artist A for B, we can lower the price, but will it still be attractive to people?
    Provider X may be very supportive to the cause, but can they afford to work for that money?
    Where are additional funds we could access like grants, advertisement, renting out space to booksellers etc…
    How to price food and drink so people can afford to eat and drink. Can/should catering make profit we can use to offer discounts in other places? Do we have the necessary amout of volunteers to cater to people at all?
    -I’ve had the privilege to volunteer to such events which meant that I didn’t get to enjoy much of the event because I was working most of the time. Sometimes that gave me a discount, most of the times it didn’t
    -I’ve had the privilege to do tons of fundraising to send people to events who could never have afforded to do so.
    So, yes, my privilege is showing.

  255. 255
    John Morales

    [meta]

    I don’t think accessibility is the point of the post, and therefore consider this recent slant a digression, though not unmeritorious in itself.

    (Specifically, PZ ain’t talking about attendees, but about presenters)

  256. 256
    evilisgood

    Apologies. It is not all about me. Point is, in regards to the conference in question, which took place in Central Florida, where I live, the price was cost prohibitive. All I was saying. No tantrums, really. It cost too damn much for anybody but old well-to-do fellows to make appearances. I think that’s important for diversity. If you disagree, that’s fine, but I’m not accusing anybody of having a tantrum when they talk about the difficulties of their region, so I’d hope that in future discussions, you’d take lived experience as something valuable.

    Not meaning to derail. Just meaning to make a point about income disparity in regards to diversity in the movement.

  257. 257
    consciousness razor

    Shorter evilisgood:
    Stop talking about other people, care about me.

    That isn’t a shorter version of what evilisgood said. What was said was while being “a little drunk,” so you should be able to do better if and when you’re sober.

    Coming to a thread about racial diversity to complain about your financial problems is derailing deluxe.

    He or she wasn’t simply complaining about personal financial problems. This rather obviously generalizes to minorities and is perfectly on-topic. That you don’t immediately recognize the implications of it doesn’t mean it is derailing….

    Does that sound like I’m dismissing your problem?

    In fact, it does sound like you were dismissing it, if one doesn’t cherry-pick parts of your comment.

    I pointed out to things that are already done to counter this problem.

    Which aren’t enough.

    And I also mentioned that this is not the topic of the current thread

    Sure it is, as I and others have already said.

    I don’t find it controversial. I just find it OT.

    On what planet is it off topic?

    It’s like concerning ourselves only with belligerent racists who blatantly and unapologetically discriminate against minorities. Yet there are other racists who don’t foam at the mouth quite so much, who still manage to do quite a lot of harm. It’s clear that they are also racists by any reasonable definition, so it’s not “off topic” to bring them up in a conversation about racism, or wrong in general to put them in the racist category. Same basic thing here. We want more diversity among atheists in general, so anything whatsoever which could achieve that is under discussion.

  258. 258
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    In fact, it does sound like you were dismissing it, if one doesn’t cherry-pick parts of your comment.

    How on earth can I cherry-pick my own comment?

    On what planet is it off topic?

    So, obviously, different people have different opinions about what’s the subject of this topic.
    Fair enough.
    I thought it was about diversifying the speaker-part of the events. Clearly, not everybody shares my opinion. And since I’m not the thread-police and don’t aspire to be, that’s an issue of disagreement.
    So, yes, I found it OT and I especially found the manner in which it was done derailing.
    But I object to the constant accusations that I were pulling a “Dear Muslima” here.

  259. 259
    pelamun, the Linguist of Doom

    I do see the exorbitant cost of attending many atheist events as a problem (though I wouldn’t usually speak up on the issue as I haven’t attended such events before). Has PZ addressed this before? I couldn’t find anything in particular when doing a Google search. So it’s hard to argue it’s “grossly” OT if it’s never been addressed before, or only rarely. A little OT, yes, but nonetheless it also ties into the problem of minorities having fewer opportunities to attend because of it.

  260. 260
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Ing: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream So I Comment Instead

    Here are the papers you cited at #176.

    http://www.zshare.net/download/992944694684ec81/

    http://www.zshare.net/download/992944716066061b/

    http://www.zshare.net/download/9929448086029762/

  261. 261
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Oh, and those links will expire so do something safe with the PDFs. (Though you can always email me if you lose them.)

  262. 262
    PZ Myers

    my suggestion that minorities demand a role in organizing atheist conferences rather than letting Old Bewhiskered White Guy PZ decide what was an adequately diverse gathering

    I said what?

    No, I said the opposite. We OWGs can’t decide what is adequate…so the typical conference where OWG decides on a range of topics and slots one or two black speakers into them doesn’t do the job. If we’re serious about invoking new and different voices, we have to hand over the reins and let them decide what to do.

    PZ said mostly white organizations should be nice and give black people one day to speak their piece is waiting for the power structure to grant them a voice.

    Who says they’re waiting? They’re doing their own thing already. I’m definitely not saying they have to sit down and shut up until the OWGs grant them a day to speak.

    What I am saying is that if we OWGs are sincere in our desire to see a more diverse community, we can’t do it by saying they must fit our mold, but we OWGs have to learn and adapt and listen.

    All the people complaining about the costs of these meetings…I know! These meetings are also planning events for large organizations that have to sustain themselves and maintain a year-round administrative structure, so the cost reflects that. There are inexpensive to free meetings: Skepticon and MSOCC are two that come to mind. These meetings replace the admission fee with the sweat equity of volunteers who do fundraising and organizing to bring them together.

    Don’t complain. You can work as a volunteer with your local freethought/skeptic organization to make them happen. It does require work.

    As a speaker, I’d happily waive any honorarium or fees for free conferences (although that doesn’t mean much, since I usually waive them for just about all conferences.)

  263. 263
    David Marjanović

    you guys, actively promoting atheism and inclusion of atheist viewpoints is stupid because gods don’t exist and thus religious thinking and actions NEVER HAS mattered!

    …You know, sometimes I seem to have a filter that completely blocks me from even seeing stupidity that is off the scale.

    I don’t know about pure Comic Sans but the gumby gif combined with Comic Sans in a blockquote can be done by using <blockquote cite=”creationist”>

    Only on ScienceBlogs. And <q cite=”creationist”> doesn’t work anywhere unless, presumably, you have that style sheet.

    Your disagreement isn’t political, but rather factual.

    Most political disagreements are factual.

    every time an atheist makes fun of a theist, god becomes a little bit more real.

    Full of win.

    Unfortunately sociology is fraught with observer bias unlike any other science and hence is more susceptible to political influences and group think than any other science.

    …So you don’t even need to read the Methods section of a paper to critically examine just how much observer bias, political influence, groupthink and whatnot there is in that paper. You can just can it straight away.

    Right?

    Right???

    Stupidity is a banning offense over here. It’s one of those that got you banned.

    I think possibly the reason it looks like your point got lost is because everyone just knows you’re right, but it’s slightly off the topic, so we generally nodded in assent and moved along. For what it’s worth, though, yeah. You’re right. A lot of people just can’t afford to go, and that would be bad enough, but based on the way our economy functions, I’d bet that it’s also disproportionately affecting and discouraging women and people of color.

    Exactly.

  264. 264
    Sili

    Unfortunately sociology is fraught with observer bias unlike any other science and hence is more susceptible to political influences and group think than any other science.

    Dunning-Kruger much.

    All scientists are subject to bias and self-indulgence. If nothing else, look up Project Alpha. Or N-Rays. Or Pons and Fleischman. Or Millikan. Or Teller.

  265. 265
    tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach

    Science fiction conventions are very poor examples of racial diversity. Sorry. You fail.

    Bull. Shit. And beside the original (intended to be humorous, since gamers are frequently the butt of jokes) point. Which was that you *can* organise conference that provides wide coverage of interests if you make some effort. Cons like BayCon cover a wide range of *SF* interests. Some other cons stick to very narrow areas. Skin coloration is totally fucking irrelevant to *that point*. *Racial* diversity was not the direct subject of the analogy – *interest* diversity was. If you don’t think that that is quite sufficiently divisive amongst large groups of people then you’ve ignored how stupid people can be.

    translation: include only those minority issues of sufficient interest and entertainment value to white d00dz

    Bull. Shit. You really are having trouble reading for comprehension. My comment needed no dumbfuck translation. I suggested to include a wide range of people in organising the event and not to be pillocks about it. How much more clear could it be?

    a quick scan of google images for “baycon” produced virtually no images of non-white people. just sayin’

    Totally damned irrelevent to my original point, no matter how true the observation may or may not be. Complete comprehension fail. It’s ten years since I was able to get to BayCon and it was certainly getter to be a *better* mix of colour and gender though a long way from being *good*. I’d like to hope it has improved in that time.

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