Growing African American Inclusion in Atheism

Alix Jules is one of those atheists whose resume of leadership positions is long. He’s the director of the Fellowship of Freethought in Dallas, Chair of the Dallas–Fort Worth Coalition of Reason Diversity Council, and President of the Black Nonbelievers of Dallas.

At a recent gathering for Houston Oasis, Jules spoke about “religion in the black community and the history of black freethinkers in the secular movement.” Incredibly important topic and he’s an ideal person to deliver a talk on it:

I haven’t been able to listen to the entire thing, so please leave any notable timestamps/summaries in the comments.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Bob Churchill

    A timely evet: readers in London, UK, may be interested in leading Nigerian humanist Leo Igwe speaking on “Breaking the taboo of atheism in black communities” on Monday evening: http://www.meetup.com/London-Black-Atheists/events/108959882/

  • Leonidas

    The comments are full of idiots, but I was pleasantly surprised by this kinda ok (I’m not in a position to make any more of a judgement call on this) article in my paper this morning, “Black atheists search for sense of belonging”:
    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/os-black-atheists-20130322,0,4740417.story

  • Tobias27

    I have read, with interest, the growing number of recent posts about black atheists. As an atheist who lives in the bible belt, i have to tell you all that these black atheists are incredibly brave and they face all of the difficulties of which we are aware ten-fold. My hat is off to them for trying to lead their families and friends out of another type of slavery – and for facing all of the struggling that that entails. Keep up the good work.

  • Robyman4

    Alex is an awesome guy! I live in Fort Worth and have met him a few times, and know one other African-American gentleman who recently became an atheist. More power to them!

  • Ransford Hyman

    Here he notes many prominent African Americans in the past who are non-religious:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=gh1zW8r1cy4#t=1252s

    Here he gives a good perspective on how religion in today’s minority groups will have an effect on how religion the country will be in the future as population increases:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=gh1zW8r1cy4#t=1422s

    Here he denotes the elements which make religion so prominent in minority communities:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=gh1zW8r1cy4#t=1770s

    Being a black non-believer in today’s society makes it tough socially. I even wrote a short article on it awhile ago (http://toosmartmen.com/2012/10/28/the-taboo-of-being-agnosticatheist-in-american-society/). It’s very tough to have a social life in Black America given that religion is so ingrained in the culture. I don’t mention that I’m agnostic much to many of my associates merely for the fact that I know that the discussion may lead to a disagreement that my religious friends will not be able to handle.

    Another perspective why many African-Americans is the issue of trust. Not having faith in God means that eventually you will have to put your trust in mankind, and given American’s past you can see why African-Americans are “skeptical” in doing that. One could say “That was a long time ago”, but you have individuals living today who still have those emotional scars. You can’t expect them to just turn it off like that. You see a lot more younger black adults being more acceptable because we can evaluate the history without the emotional bias.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    one of the hard parts of being a black atheist is that it means you’re going to have a lot of white friends, and some black people will judge you for that. i totally understand what he’s saying at ~19:00 mark about this.


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