Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 9.46.59 AMIt wasn’t until I joined Twitter a few years ago that I first read the words “black” and “atheist” in the same sentence. No wonder since we are the most religious ethnic group in the nation, according to writer and Black Skeptics Group founder Sikivu Hutchinson. Nonbelievers only make up one percent.

In a piece for The Washington Post, Hutchinson argues this is an issue not only because blacks face discrimination and other disparities but also because it is often the faith-based organizations that step in to assist. Black atheists receive no support, even from mainstream atheist groups.

She writes:

African Americans still live in disproportionately segregated neighborhoods, with few living-wage jobs, parks, accessible public transportation and healthy grocery stores. We make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, but nearly 40 percent of its prison and homeless populations. This disparity has only deepened in the Obama age.

Faith-based institutions provide resources to these poor and working-class families. They also fight racial discrimination, offer a foundation for community organizing and create access to social welfare, professional networks and educational resources. These are essential issues, and atheists of color often find themselves allied in these missions.

White atheists have a markedly different agenda. They are, on average, more affluent than the general population. Their children don’t attend overcrowded “dropout mills” where they are criminalized, subjected to “drill and kill” curricula and shunted off to prison, subminimum-wage jobs or chronic unemployment. White organizations go to battle over church/state separation and creationism in schools.

She continues that although mainstream atheist organizations have “jumped on the diversity bandwagon,” they still don’t address the specific issues that black atheists face, and when black atheists form their own groups, white atheists automatically think “separatist” group.

Read all of Huthchinson’s piece on The Washington Post.

Clutchettes and Gents, do you agree that faith-based groups offer the most assistance in black communities, and black atheists have no resources?

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  • Cumberbatchfan

    I’m not even understanding what’s going on here. I’m a devout atheist. But I know that white atheists are notoriously racist to the point of whte supremacy. What exactly are we expecting them to do? What’s happening? Lmfao

    • Primmest Plum

      Lol @ “devout atheist”
      But same here. In my experience most white atheists call themselves liberal but are really some of the most racist people I’ve ever come across. They’re the main ones who become so flustered at the mentioning of white privilege and institutionalized racism.
      But yet they think they’re so above it all because they don’t have any “ridiculous fallacies” like religion to cloud their judgment.

  • cnj

    I think people are missing the point. She is saying black atheist are few and far between and when they have an issues they can’t turn to the normal places black people go to for help (i.e. church). At the same time they can’t go to non black atheist groups either because of obvious race issues. So what they are experiencing is isolation which is a legitimate thing to discuss. I’m not sure why black atheist have to get used to isolation. I’m also not sure why people believe she’s hoping for white atheist to save black atheist rather she was pointing out issues around inclusion in mainstream atheism.

  • cnj

    It is sad that you wouldn’t think black people practice various faiths or choose to not believe.

  • MissFLondon

    I was once invited to a regular Atheist group meeting (a bit of a contradiction in terms) and politely explained that one of the unforeseen delights of being godless is that I no longer have to congregate. This was over 15 years ago and I have come to realise that that need for people and the company, has nothing to do with religion. It can be cultural. Typically, wasps are not as dependent upon family and networks, so lose very little in the switch. The same cannot be said for those of ethnicity, who I have noticed seem to still miss the fraternity and all the rest, not to mention extreme cases of shunning and other penalties (Last week a Nigerian was committed to an asylum by his family- and still it could have been worse). This issue is not that dissimilar from the issues faced by Black feminists. People just need to accept that we all have different issues and consequences and it’s OK for us all to pursue our own separate agendas. I really don’t understand why Blacks are always seeking validation and understanding from others. This ugly stepchild act is getting tiring, it’s not as though Atheists are competing for resources or recognition, as in the case of other minority groups. You would think that people who have broken away from one main group and risked the wrath of their family and community would be a bit more prepared to be misunderstood and stand alone???