While we’re talking about advocating equality…

…let’s not forget that other gigantic issue, racism. The secular movement ought to be clearly on the side of the angels on that one, too, and we need to listen more to people of color. I know well the phenomenon of speaking at secular events and looking out to see that sea of paleness — I swear, I could work on a tan off the reflected light from those audiences. And the only way to put more black and native American and Asian faces in the seats is to put more of them on the podium.

We do have a problem with the white assumption of privilege. And the scary thing is that some people think giving a minority a seat at the table excludes a white person.

The study, called ‘Whites see racism as a zero-sum game that they are now losing’, by Michael Norton and Samuel Sommers, suggests that white Americans surveyed think that they are now more widely discriminated against than black people, and that this supposed ‘anti-white bias’ is a bigger societal problem than the real anti-black bias.

Would you believe that the average white person in this study rated anti-white bias as more prevalent than anti-black bias in the current decade? I was flabbergasted on reading that — that’s insane. “Reverse discrimination” is an imaginary problem — white people get all the advantages by default in our society. I know. I’m one of the lucky melanin-deficient individuals.

That link had a perfect image that I had to steal, simply because it illustrates the situation so well.


Right now, I get more requests to come speak than I can possibly manage; you know that bigger names like Dawkins or Harris or Dennett are impossibly swamped. We aren’t going to be at all discomfited if a meeting organizer asks a brown woman of wit and intelligence to speak — in fact, a more diverse roster of speakers is more likely to make your meeting interesting. A community of ideas is not going to blossom if we keep recycling the same few communicators of the same limited backgrounds.