We Are African Americans for Humanism

I am very pleased to provide my modest signal boost for a new campaign called ‘We Are African Americans for Humanism’ launched by my colleague and (new) friend, Debbie Goddard:

Today I’m proud to announce the new African Americans for Humanism campaign, just in time for Black History Month!

Billboards and transit shelter ads fearing historic and contemporary black humanists are going up—in black neighborhoods!—in New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington DC, and Durham NC. The ads highlight historic black humanists Frederick Douglass, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston, as well as eight contemporary activists and organizers representing local AAH-affiliated groups in each city.

I’m very excited to see how this campaign takes off. There is a chance that I will become a contributor to the project’s blog (I’ve already expressed my interest), so I will keep you updated if that happens. For now, go check out the website and say hello.

Incidentally, it has not escaped my notice that this announcement comes right on the heels of Be Scofield’s completely moronic swipe at “New Atheists” for promoting racist ideology. I am deliriously happy that Frederick Sparks over at Black Skeptics is on the case and does a great job blasting a hole right through Scofield’s central straw-man. The timing of these two events is entirely coincidental, but it’s nice that the ground for this discussion came pre-softened.

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  1. clinton says

    excuse me if this is too personal but how do you describe yourself racially? i say i’m mixed race, my mom’s white english and my dad’s a brown skin jamaican

  2. F says

    What an amazingly good idea! The signal reached me, so thanks for the booster and repeater function.

  3. witless chum says

    As a white guy, I should probably tell black people what to call themselves…..wait, maybe I’m off here?

    But even so, I’ve always sorta thought the term African-Americanadianwhatever should be applied to people whose very recent ancestors are from Africa, as opposed to people whose ancestors have been here longer than the United States as been here. My friend who can trace his ancestry back to slavery is more like me, where I don’t have an identity based one my German/Irish/English/Scottish/unknown ancestors, than like my other friend who was born in Nigeria and has lived in the U.S. only since she was 12.

    That’s how it’s worked for other groups in the past, but of course the idea of assimilating people who aren’t white the way we assimilated, say, the Finns still hasn’t quite caught up to a lot of people.

  4. says

    There’s far more to it than that, my witless chum. Your subjective personal experience may be more similar to your American friend than your Nigerian one, but do you really think that cops/shopkeepers/Fox News hosts see the same level/type of similarity? Race is not solely about self-identification – it is informed by how society sees you.

    “African American” replaced ‘black’, which replaced ‘negro’, which replaced something else. The accuracy of the terminology is meaningless – it refers to a non-homogenous group whose membership shifts significantly depending on the context in which it is discussed. However, it rarely includes African immigrants, hence why Obama was seen by some in the black community as not “really black” (which is not to suggest that he is an African immigrant – only that his experience of being born to an African parent as opposed to being a descendant of American slaves is different from much of the USA’s black population).


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