Even Humanists Can Be Racist — My Latest for Splice Today

Last week, a white Yale student named Sarah Braasch called the police on black student Lolade Siyonbola for falling asleep in the student dorm common room. Siyonbola broadcasted the entire incident live on Facebook, and the story quickly went viral. Reporters immediately started looking into Braasch’s background, and found something disturbing: although she’s a humanist, she has a history of racial insensitivity.

In 2010, Braasch wrote an article for The Humanist about how she was assigned to defend slavery for a middle school debate, and won after bringing up the fact that some slaves didn’t know what to do after being freed. “[I]n the land of the free,” she argued, “who are we to tell people that they can’t be slaves if they want to be? Who are we to tell someone that she has to be free? Who are we to tell someone that she has to be regarded as fully human? It doesn’t matter that the alternative to slavery, which would mean walking away from everything one had ever known to recreate life anew without any resources, was regarded as healthier and more dignified. It was still the individual’s choice to make.”

Read the rest here.


  1. says

    Braasch is also the walking, talking, cop-calling stereotypical “white feminist”. Based on everything else that’s been found out about her, I fully expect her to be pulling in thousands per month through Patreon soon as she’s inducted into the Intellectual Dark Web.

  2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    Interestingly, I had to take a pro-slavery side in a high-school debate. It was, fortunately, in a history class and the parameters were much better than probably in most of these exercises. We were required to source arguments (though we could add opinion) and we were not allowed to use any sources published after 1856, I think (sometime in the 1850s anyway).

    Although everyone in the class was assigned a side and participated in doing the research and creating our sides bibliography and reference document (listing where specific arguments or facts would be found in a particular document that was listed generally in the bibliography), I ended up being the primary speaker for my side because I was the only one who had participated in debate club.

    We easily won the argument because the pro-side of the argument simply didn’t take their work seriously. They tried to make general arguments (e.g. “the bible says we were all created equal so obviously no Christian should support slavery”) which we would then blow up by citing specifics, (e.g. “actually the bible does support slavery, providing extensive rules for how to treat your slaves and where to buy them, and the apostles of Jesus even tell us ‘slaves obey your masters’, so obviously good Christians should support slavery”). They tried to state things that are widely accepted facts today, (e.g. “Biological science tells us that races are poorly defined things that certainly don’t correlate well with anything as extreme as one race needing to be a slave of the other”) which we blew up by asking for sources, (“When you say that biological science tells us this, are you a biologist? If not, perhaps you could tell us which professor or which book includes this information”), which they would not have prepared because they were drawing the information from the present day but in the debate could only cite pre-civil war sources. But, of course, we also had scientific sources of our own lined up as there were plenty of racist medical doctors and biologists who’d written various things that are SOOOOOO fucked up, but also sound authoritative if you can’t cite anything better.

    My experience with that makes me guess that rather than having great arguments, students assigned the slavery side probably win a lot of these debates because most students take for granted that slavery sucks so bad, and is so utterly unjust, that it shouldn’t take any work at all to argue against it …and thus they don’t do the work. The slavery side then wins because even with sucky arguments they’re still better prepared than the abolitionist side.

    At least that’s my take.

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