Bi Any Means Podcast #106: Dispatches from Standing Rock with Desiree Kane

My guest for today is journalist and activist Desiree Kane. She’s is a Miwok woman, multi-media journalist, and a live-media event producer. Her body of journalistic work ranges widely, including a short form documentary on coal on the Navajo Nation for VICE News, photojournalism and writing for Yes! Magazine, her travel + tech column for nearly 3 years at Creative Loafing, reporting on an Indigenous Women’s Treaty Signing in Paris during the COP21 in Earth Island Journal, and writing and producing a multi-media exposé detailing immigrant detention in Aurora, CO for Shadowproof. She also spent 7 months at Standing Rock, so today we’re going to hear all about it.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #106: Dispatches from Standing Rock with Desiree Kane” on Spreaker.

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Respectability Politics, Not Identity Politics, Are Hurting Secular Activism –Latest Splice Today Article

A couple of weeks ago I went to the 76th annual American Humanist Association conference to give a talk called “WTF is Genderqueer?” They loved it! I lost track of how many people came up afterwards and thanked me for explaining it in a way they could understand. The conference also gave me the chance to catch up with old friends Sincere Kirabo, Matthew Facciani, and Diane Burkholder; meet online friends for the first time like Ashton P. Woods, Conor Robinson, and Desiree Kane; and make new friends like Rajani Gudlavalleti and Greta Christina. It was a great weekend that recharged my activist batteries, and made me feel accepted in the broader secular humanist movement.

Unfortunately, not everyone there received the same amount of love.

Several talks and presentations focused on racial justice, and while I thought they were all terrific, not everyone agreed. Not only were there white tears during Q&A sessions (which are always expected), but apparently someone on the AHA board walked out of Woods’ talk because they “didn’t want to hear another angry black man.” Allegedly this same individual gave Gudlavalleti a lot of shit about her presentation on racial justice with Robinson (who didn’t receive any push back even though he said the same thing Gudlavalleti did). Also, Kane (who spent seven months at Standing Rock) told me someone said to her, “If you all at Standing Rock didn’t burn stuff and leave so much garbage behind, maybe the cops wouldn’t have shot rubber bullets at you.”

If you spend enough time on YouTube, you’d be convinced “identity politics” are ruining secular activism. I disagree: respectability politics are the real culprit.

Click here to read the rest.

Bi Any Means Podcast #105: Race, Harm Reduction, and Humanism with Rajani Gudlavalleti

My guest for today is Rajani Gudlavalleti, racial equity trainer and board member of the Foundation Beyond Belief. Here’s what her bio says: “Rajani Gudlavalleti is a second-generation, South Indian-American queer humanist woman residing in Baltimore, MD. Rajani works at the intersections of social justice, public health, and the legal system, providing contract and consulting services as an organizer, evaluator, trainer and writer. Currently, she is a community organizer for the BRIDGES Coalition for safe drug consumption spaces in Baltimore City, and a facilitator with Baltimore Racial Justice Action. Rajani co-founded Baltimore Asian Resistance in Solidarity in February 2015, and explores her multiple intersecting identities on her website, charmingly-hyphenated.com.

In March 2016, Rajani joined the board of Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB) bringing with her over a decade of experience in social justice work. FBB provides humanists opportunities to engage in service work, such as volunteerism and giving, and advocates for compassionate secular action throughout the world.” So today we’re going to get to know Rajani and all the stuff she’s doing.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #105: Race, Harm Reduction, and Humanism with Rajani Gudlavalleti” on Spreaker.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #103: Nazi Punching, Tone Policing, and Racism and with Ashton P. Woods

Returning to the show today is Ashton P. Woods. He is the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Houston, and is the co-chair of the Black Humanists Alliance, which we talked about the last time he was on the show. Today we’re going to talk about some recent stuff going on with tone policing, free speech, and racism.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast” on Spreaker.

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Is The Bell Curve Scientific Racism? — My Latest for Paste Magazine

Sam Harris is no stranger to controversy. Known as one of the Four Horsemen of New Atheism, critics have accused the neuroscientist and author of being racist and Islamophobic for his comments, including suggesting we should profile Muslims at airports. He also raised eyebrows in a 2015 when he laughed along with gay conservative Douglas Murray’s transphobic comments during an episode of Harris’ podcast “Waking Up.” Most recently, Harris interviewed Charles Murray, co-author of the infamous 1994 book The Bell Curve, which suggests Black people are genetically predisposed to low IQs. According to Harris, the controversy surrounding the book is due to political correctness:

People don’t want to hear that a person’s intelligence is in large measure due to his or her genes, and there seems to be very little we can do environmentally to increase a person’s intelligence — even in childhood. It’s not that the environment doesn’t matter, but genes appear to be 50 to 80 percent of the story. People don’t want to hear this. And they certainly don’t want to hear that average IQ differs across races and ethnic groups.

Unfortunately, Harris must have missed the memo that the truth is more complicated than that.

For starters, critics are quick to point out Murray and co-author Richard Herrstein’s scholarship is shoddy at best and outright political propaganda at worst. In a 1995 Scientific American article, psychologist Leon Kamin noticed that one of their sources was a 1991 paper by Richard Lynn comparing the average IQs of people of different ethnicities which, according to Kamin, “reported only average Matrices scores, not IQs; the other studies used tests clearly dependent on cultural content.” He also claimed that Murray and Herrnstein ignored social and economic factors that lead to individual success and instead just focus on IQ. Then there’s the fact that Murray and Herrnstein devote two chapters of The Bell Curve criticizing affirmative action, which led Kamin to believe the book was politically motivated (Wikipedia refers to Murray as a “libertarian conservative”).

Click here to read the rest.

Oh boy, this is gonna piss a lot of people off!

The Biskeptical Podcast #23: Debunking Transgender Myths

CN: Transphobia, Sexual Assault

Today’s show comes from our friend Ingrid who suggested we talk about myths surrounding being transgender and transitioning, which is exactly what we do on this episode. We get into the science behind gender identity, deconstruct what sociologists actually mean by “gender is a social construct” (spoiler alert: it’s complicated), and, yes, explain why there’s no comparison between Rachel Dolezal and being trans.

Listen to “The Biskeptical Podcast #23: Debunking Transgender Myths” on Spreaker.

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Is the March for Science “Playing Identity Politics?”–My latest for Paste Magazine

CN: Michael Shermer

In the wake of fake news and President Trump’s anti-science policies, organizers announced the March for Science, which will be held on April 22, 2017. “The March for Science demonstrates our passion for science and sounds a call to support and safeguard the scientific community,” the official website states. “It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.” Like the successful Women’s March back in January—which had an estimated 4,000,000 attendees nationwide—the March for Science will be held in Washington, DC, along with many other satellite marches worldwide.

Unfortunately, also like the Women’s March, the March for Science is facing controversy over diversity.

Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptic Society, recently voiced opposition to the March for Science’s diversity principles on Twitter. “By making the March for Science political,” he tweeted, “it will be less inclusive & effective [because] ‘social justice’ means different things to people.” Shermer then wrote a blog post further explaining his position, claiming that society has made a lot of progress “since the 1960s … to correct the biases of the past and open the doors to more people in more fields,” including science. Therefore, as Shermer recently tweeted, the March for Science’s emphasis on diverse representation is “identity politics defining who participates in science. Science is for all.”

“He’s totally missing the point if you ask me,” says ecologist Dr. Kaberi Kar Gupta. She is the Principal Scientist for the Urban Slender Loris Project, which aims to educate people about urban biodiversity and conservation by studying the effects of urban life on slender lorises in Bangalore. According to Kar Gupta, there is still a lack of women and people of color in science because of the way science is taught in schools. “The way we teach science with this very type of fixed mindset that science is not for everybody and you have to be smart enough to do science,” she says. “By saying that, we are actually chasing the students away or making students go away from science instead of being interested in science.”

Click here to read the rest.

Bi Any Means Podcast #92: Race, Atheism, and CPAC with Tiffany Harding

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My guest for today is Tiffany Harding. She’s one of the co-hosts of Road to Reason TV, a weekly TV show which airs on Fairfax County Public Access channels that discusses issues involving atheism and skepticism. Today we’re going to talk about her backstory, representation in the atheist community, and sneaking into CPAC.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #92: Race, Atheism, and CPAC with Tiffany Harding” on Spreaker.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #85: The Hispanic Atheist with Luciano Gonzalez

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My guest for today is Luciano Gonzalez. According to his bio: “Luciano Gonzalez is a vocal atheist. He’s also Latin American. As a Latin American born in the United States, and raised in Latin America, he has had quite a lifetime of experience with the Church. By the time Luciano was halfway through his freshman year of college he had realized that he was an atheist. Shortly after realizing that he had gradually lost his belief (having been raised by Catholic Puerto Ricans, in North Carolina, Georgia, Honduras, Colombia, and Panama), he made the decision to become a vocal and open atheist, a decision which isn’t easy for many Latin Americans, especially given that he lived (and lives in) the Bible Belt. Luciano is a college student who is studying history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He also runs the Honduras Report, a digital news group which translates news from Honduran sources (in Spanish) into English and presents them to 900+ people in Honduras, many of whom don’t speak Spanish, or aren’t native speakers and don’t feel comfortable with their level of Spanish who live in Honduras in places like Copan or Roatan. Luciano can be found on Facebook as The Hispanic Atheist and is a founder/administrator of the Secular Latino Alliance, a Facebook support group for Latinos who are no longer (or never were) religious and instead either don’t identify with any religious identity, or consider themselves someone who is irreligious. ” So today we’re gonna get to know Luciano and all that he’s doing.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #85: The Hispanic Atheist with Luciano Gonzalez” on Spreaker.

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The Biskeptical Podcast #17: WTF Are Identity Politics?

Just in time for Inauguration Day, today Morgan and I discuss identity politics. What the hell are they, and did they put Trump in the White House. Tune in to find out!

Listen to “The Biskeptical Podcast #17: WTF Are Identity Politics?” on Spreaker.

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