There never seem to be many of us minorities in the atheist crowd. You go to a conference or a local meeting, the percentage of minorities are a lot smaller than in the general population.
Quick: Name ten non-white atheists! (Can you do it? Are you struggling?)
Vjack has a theory about this:
This is mere speculation on my part, but I wonder if minority group members tend to view atheism as a less important part of their identity than do White atheists. For example, I wonder if more White atheists may place “atheist” ahead of “White” in prioritizing the various components of his or her identity whereas African American atheists are more likely to place “African American” ahead of “atheist”…
I don’t know if it’s an identity issue as much as it is a cultural one. I can speak for Indians at least: our culture is deeply tied into religion. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re religious; everything ties back to religion: how you meet a significant other, where people gather, how you celebrate important moments in your life, etc.
If you’re white and non-religious, though, you may be able to find decent secular alternatives. That doesn’t work as well for the rest of us.
I think the same thing can be said about African-Americans. Church is a big part of their lives, whether or not they’re religious.
Saying you’re an atheist when you’re a minority may carry a lot more weight — you’re not just turning your back on a religion, you’re turning your back on the entire culture.
Am I way off? Does anyone else have an explanation?
How many atheist readers here are not white?