For those interested in contributing a video, shoot me an EMAIL. Your story is important. Dwelling in the shadows is beneath us. Let us speak up and represent.
For an explanation of what Secular Voices of Color is and why I’ve embarked on this project, please see the information below the videos.
Secular Voices of Color is a unique opportunity to focus on the stories of nonbelieving minorities.
People of color who reject the god proposition are typically underrepresented in contrast to the more mainstream tenor of secular coverage. While I endorse any attempt to promote atheist acceptance and unity, I yearn for the stories of people of color to garner more attention, especially considering how religious traditions are so intrinsic within minority communities. For example, according to Pew Research data, Blacks make up one of the highest religious affiliated groups percentage wise in the United States.
I cannot help but smile at those who deem missions or projects assembled around those of diverse, non-white backgrounds as somehow being divisive when it’s these same issues that are typically marginalized otherwise. Oftentimes, events, groups, or efforts like this are born out of necessity due to lack of understanding or lack of proper exposure for specific issues particularly relevant to minority circles. Understand, then, that such emphasis is meant to trumpet diversity that may, otherwise, be underplayed through nobody’s explicit intent.
Many atheists of all shades and backgrounds remain hidden. This is expressly the case for non-white minorities where religion tends to play a vital role within communal thought.
As shown in my historical analysis in Better Understanding Black Christianity, to glimpse why religiosity is so widespread in certain ethnocultural groups, one need only observe this country’s track record of maltreatment towards non-whites and minority self-dependency through times of racially inequitable travail, lack of resources and institutional support. For some (or even many), to become disillusioned with or otherwise not possess faith in a shared god-belief largely ingrained into inherited customs is still met with great isolation, suspicion, disgust, contempt, or even violence.
I am acquainted with a Black man—who shall remain nameless—that is an “outspoken” atheist, associated with secular organizations in his region and attends secular-based events. However, when I once suggested he “come out” to his family, his entire countenance altered as if he’d seen a ghost (no, they don’t exist, either). The mere thought of revealing his full self to those closest to him petrified him. This instance represents a common fear of being ostracized and in some way becoming demoted in the eyes of loved ones.
In an attempt to diminish this and similar fears of becoming a kind of pariah, the ideal manner in which to respond is a “normalization” approach. Mark and Shanon Nebo, founders of Be Secular, advocate the catchphrase #normalizeatheism across social media as well as through products. This idea is on-point, and falls in line with the reality that there is no progress without confrontation.
What Secular Voices of Color looks to do is simply say, “Yes, I’m a nonbeliever – and that’s okay.” That’s all. We are everywhere. We are relatives, neighbors, co-workers, and peers—desensitizing this taboo is long overdue. These videos are but a sample of all those out there who no longer believe or never believed in any particular god-centered belief system. My hope is that this morsel creates a snowball effect in momentum and entices more nonbelievers to openly identify and let their heathen lights shine. Granted, there are some extenuating circumstances that does make open identification an issue or even detrimental, but more often than not, that isn’t the case in the United States.
For those who are hesitant, always remember you are not alone. If we are to gain more public acceptance, it will take openness and exposure. Please note, Secular Voices of Color is not an organization–this is merely an attempt to feature the stories of people of color who are also nonbelievers (whether agnostic, atheist, nonreligious, or however they describe themselves) to encourage more to openly identify. Let’s erode discrimination through normalcy!