Being a Black atheist in America can be challenging; being a Black atheist within the Black community can be seen as criminal. Black folks have long used religion to discover answers for their historical suffering within white America. And though there are Black folks who live a life of contradictions vis-a-vis scriptural rules, there is no place for being a nonbeliever. It was God who rescued the American Negro from bondage. Centuries of lynching and years of Jim Crow created a universal sense of “togetherness” as it relates to the Black church. There are members who do attend church for its spiritual collectiveness and a haven for congregating. However, things have shifted in terms of Black religiosity. Though many within the black community continue to showcase their religious conservatism, others have slowly drifted away. And not just from the Black church — but from religion in general. With the educational attainment of Blacks increasing — more and more are asking the question: Do I believe in God? Or, can I afford to believe in God? Black attainment in terms of education brings about greater financial gains. The bourgeois life opened up a secular window defined by tangible substance, which has long been acceptable for white Americans. Their plight and need for God and religion are different from that of Blacks. Still, for blacks to admit atheism is a misnomer.
“To posture oneself alongside the #AllLivesMatter movement is to erase the true oppression of our Black population….Similar to “separate BUT equal” you have “ALL LIVES matter” as seemingly espousing that all lives do, and should, matter. Yet, white folks did not create this hashtag on their own; its a reaction, similar to how one would view segregation. Segregation is not the normal state of things, its an active decision. One would not need to say “BUT EQUAL” if something were inherently equal. Similarly one would not need to defend that “ALL LIVES” matter in response to “BLACK LIVES” mattering, if there were not something inherent underlying their assertion — namely, racism.”
It was President Lydon B. Johnson that instituted affirmative action legislation via an Executive Order to cut back on discrimination. Much of this policy was aimed to provide opportunities for both women and minority populations. It should not come as a surprise that those who oppose affirmative action the most… are those that will power. And hence, seek to protect such power. Liberal defenders of affirmative action have long noted that white heterosexual males are the greatest critics of affirmative action programs. Many, who are self-described conservative Republicans, find that any type of programs engineered by the federal government, works against the will of the people. That will, of course, notes that state and local governments should make such decisions; yet, it was in part implemented to limit the degree of discrimination at the state level. Conservative Christians operate off a notion of color-blindness. Some will tell you that Jesus Christ does not see race, thus nor should American society. But in the end, it seems almost racist to deny that different races exist, and that one’s race can and does depict his/her/their plight. Christ, of course, often noted the plight of both Jews and Gentiles.
While various different groups argue that affirmative action is reverse discrimination, liberal advocates believe that it promotes a more egalitarian society. Mike Tomlin (my favorite coach) is a great example. The National Football League, for a long period of time, had been the target of racists arguments (i.e., being accused). Organizations such as the NAACP pointed to the fact that Black players were a dominant reason for the success of the NFL, but Blacks could not be found in key front office positions or as head coaches. Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and chair of the NFL’s diversity committee, enacted the Rooney Rule. This rule states that all NLF teams must interview at least one minority candidate when a vacancy is available. Unfortunately, many teams do not adhere to this policy. Dan Rooney clearly made a great call with Tomlin. Maybe other institutions will follow the Steelers in actively seeking to promote diversity. It would be nice to see all institutions operate this way. In the end, maybe many institutions would reflect what the world looks like. We still see too many schools and boards that do not reflect the world.
This blog reflects the views of a soul brotha who believes in radical love. I must confess a love for Black & brown folk, gay & lesbian folk, bi & transgender folk, Asian folk, non-binary folk, and my white allies.