Indigenous Peoples Day 2020.

On Friday, the preferred president of assholes everywhere issued a shitty proclamation declaring that today’s federal holiday is exclusively a celebration of Italian-American contributions to our nation and the exploits of a particular 15th century Italian explorer, said exploits necessarily encompassing the ensuing brutal colonization and genocide of Indigenous people in the Americas. This proclamation is much, much worse than I even imagined. (And I write this as a person with significant Italian-American heritage.) If you choose to read on, you will first want to ensure that your irony meter is in excellent working order and – this is the important part – still under warranty.

For one thing, consider what Pres. Alpha Asshole and his Merry Minions of Masklessness would be saying and doing about Italian immigration a hundred years ago. You know: before Italians suddenly and miraculously became white. I’m pretty sure my grandmother, who happened to be exceptionally dark-skinned even for southern Italy, would have been locked up in a cage along with her sister and all the other Italian immigrant children.

Of course those among us who think we should instead recognize and reckon with the truth of our nation’s history are deemed “radical activists” and “extremists” who “seek to squash any dissent from their orthodoxy” and instead promote a “radical ideology” and “revisionist history” just to “spread hate and division.”

Let us pause for a moment here so that you can recalibrate your irony meter and/or attempt to extinguish the flames emanating therefrom.

Okay now? Good. The preceding was merely setting the stage for what I really want to talk about on this Indigenous Peoples Day. If you guessed that is “Indigenous people,” you win all the internetz! 🏆⭐️🏅

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Erasure and Victorian women.

I first started giving more thought to the phenomenon of erasure in 2013, after hearing talks from Susan Jacoby and Jennifer Michael Hecht at CFI’s Women in Secularism 2 conference (yes, that one). Both presentations touched on the stories and accomplishments of women being written out of narratives in favor of men’s, a well-documented and observable manifestation of male privilege. A woman’s erasure turns out to be even more likely when she is a nonbeliever or otherwise unorthodox (Christian/conservative privilege); similarly, atheist men also tend to be erased from historical narratives in favor of believers (same).

Erasure of racial, sexual and other minorities should be too obvious to need mentioning, but I will mention a few off of the top of my head*:

As with all modes of privilege, for those with intersectional identities the likelihood of erasure is compounded. And as with all modes of privilege, erasure is self-perpetuating.

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My friend Tony.

Some of you may know Tony as a frequent and frequently excellent commenter at various sites on FtB. He now blogs ferociously at The Orbit. As a gay black atheist living in Florida, Tony is subject to multiple intersectional marginalizations that many of us will never experience, and of course the crap economy only amplifies these effects. He has been struggling off and on with joblessness (although there is a bright spot of hope on that front in the not-too-distant future), and is a few hundred dollars short on his rent this month. If I can help it, I would not like to see “homeless” added to his burdens.

I know that times are tough for many of us, and no one should feel obligated to give what they do not have. But if you can spare just a few dollars, they really do add up. Despite the ugliness that plagues our movement on a regular basis, there is also goodness and strength in this community. I think it’s important to put our social justice talk into action when it really counts, such as when one of our own finds himself in need.

Please donate whatever you can to Tony via PayPal here.

And Tony has another problem you can help with: he likes squirrels. I KNOW RIGHT. I have been trying desperately to enlighten him on this urgent matter before the coming Squirrelpocalypse, but he remains under the spell of the enemy rodent menace and has so far proven resistant to my pleas.

So when you donate via PayPal, there is a space below the amount that says “Write a note (Optional).”

Make it good:D

#deathtosquirrels