Five Fierce Humanists

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By Sikivu Hutchinson

 

For the first time ever, a group of openly identified Black women atheists has been featured on the cover of an American publication. The Humanist Magazine’s July/August issue, “Five Fierce Humanists: Unapologetically Black Women Beyond Belief” spotlights the cultural and political views of Black women non-believers in a Trumpian, Christian fundamentalist political climate that (on the precipice of Roe v. Wade’s potential demise) threatens the very firmament of secularism, social justice, gender justice, and human rights. The feature is a direct challenge to the parade of covers/articles featuring whites, and spotlights fellow Black women non-believer authors, educators and activists Mandisa Thomas, Liz Ross, Bria Crutchfield and Candace Gorham.

In a nation in which the vast majority of the African American and general population identifies as religious, the Humanist magazine feature is a turning point in Black women’s representation. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Black women are one of the most devout groups in the U.S.  And faith has long been a tacit prerequisite for “authentic” black female identity and respectability.  Leading by example, these women have pushed back against sexist, heteronormative religious dogma and discrimination in communities of color. They have brought a uniquely intersectional, black feminist vision to humanism while also challenging white supremacy and racist exclusion in historically Eurocentric atheist, humanist, and freethought circles. Although there has long been a robust tradition of black secular thought, the reductive association of atheism, humanism, and freethought with a church-state separation and science agenda has stymied participation by people of color in secular movements.  Moreover, white atheist and humanist cosigning of racist perceptions of African Americans and people of color, as well as backlash against social justice organizing, further underscore the racial divide that informs secularism…

 

Full article @ https://thehumanist.com/magazine/july-august-2018/

 

 

 

About the Author Karen Garst