2012-02-20

Making Deities Out of Atheists and the Tyranny of the Majority

So apparently a newspaper has posted a story about Richard Dawkin's family and their ties to slavery. Yes, slavery was bad. Yes, his family was involved generations ago. I don't think anyone has openly denounced Richard Dawkins as a racist. However, the remarks I've found "defending" a man, who honestly doesn't need defending, have been a bit freaking disheartening. This post really isn't about Dawkins, but the atheist community in general.

I'm an atheist. I make no secret of it, you can also tell from the title of my blog, I'm black and angry. Well it's really subjective to determine if I'm really angry, but it's pretty darn obvious I'm black.

I think that like many other communities, the atheist community is made up of the majority, and their voices are the loudest, and often times, those voices drown out other voices. In terms of the atheist community, it's most vocal and noted are white men. I don't have a problem with this. I like reading Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris. I think these men are awesome and I think they've done wonderful things to mainstream atheism, or at least get the awareness out that atheists are just like everyone else, and tend to just believe in one less god than the average person in the Western World. I also know I don't necessarily agree with everything these men say. I don't agree with Dawkin's reaction to "Elevatorgate". I didn't agree with Hitchen's stance on the "War on Terror". It doesn't necessarily mean that I dismiss their impact on the world of atheism.

Same with the knowledge that Dawkin's had ancestor's that owned slaves. Why does this turn into a discussion about reparations and people "whining"? That's frustrating to me and further confirms that the majority cannot and will not empathize. However, I find that many people tend to make these men into Gods. They jump to their defense at the drop of a hat. It doesn't matter the subject, if they said it, it must be true. Which has me question those that hold this belief. How can you say you trust anything blindly? The beauty of being an atheist is being able to question. We get mad at people who defend god blindly, but then defend people who support your movement blindly without recourse, without empathy, and without the ability to hear the other side. How can you do that and call yourself an atheist, if you've replaced a god with a scientist?

When Richard Dawkins talks about evolution, I listen, that is his expertise, however when he talks about feminism or women's issues, I have to take a step back, as that isn't what he is known for. I can't defend him as being a know it all for all things. It doesn't mean I don't respect the guy, but I'm not going to go to him as an expert on ALL things. Does that make me a hater of Dawkins? I also don't understand the need to demonize and start stereotyping black people because now you've seen a story you didn't like about Dawkins. I don't think Richard Dawkins is a racist. I don't think he has ever advocated racism, and I don't think he should atone for the sins of his ancestors, but I also don't think dismissing the struggles of black people the world over and how slavery, colonialism, apartheid, and segregation have impacted black people will do any good to progress the atheist movement or prove that an irrelevant article about Dawkins ancestry should even be defended. It should be mocked.