Skepticism and Race

On Desiree Schell’s Skeptically Speaking Radio with Quiche Moraine and Almost Diamond’s Stephanie Zvan

… a panel discussion on skepticism and race. Is the face of modern skepticism really as monochrome as it appears? How do we make our message appeal to a broader, more diverse audience? And how do racial demographics influence belief in pseudoscience and the paranormal?

Our panel includes LaVerne Knight-West, Stephanie Zvan, and Girl 6.


By the way, here’s an interview with Massimo.

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5 thoughts on “Skepticism and Race

  1. As a second generation African American Atheist, it is disheartening to walk into to atheist group meetings as not only the only AA, but often the only minority of any sort at the meeting. It is getting better, I am seeing more Asians of various backgrounds, but there are even fewer Hispanics than African Americans…. I will have to listen to the interview.

  2. Skepticism and race is an important but under-addressed topic, in many ways.
    I admire those who are able discuss it clearly and publicly.I know that I am under-educated on race questions, and do my best to remedy that, bit by bit. This seems to consist mainly of reading, listening, and keeping my mouth shut until I understand what’s being said.
    However, I’ll venture a comment or two.

    Gwen: Very good to hear it’s getting better, but I definitely have seen the unbalance you mention on my few visits to atheist meetings. And without doubt the room for improvement is huge. It reminds me I need to find and learn more about the experience of non-white atheists, in American/Western European culture and elsewhere.

    Greg: Thanks for the link, and off to the podcast for me.
    Some of the diversity issues are almost certain to arise from the level of integration between identity (cultural/social/racial) and religious belief. But I’m sure there are more factors than just that at work.

  3. As we all know, religion is more than a belief in the supernatural, it is a bond with our fellow humans. It is a conduit for mutual trust, codes of behaviour, a tribal identity.

    I am not a minority. I can only guess at the need in many minorities to feel an acute need to belong and a shared religion provides one way. With American black folks in particular, Christianity provides the backdrop to the honorable narrative of the civil rights protests, still fresh in the collective memory.

    When is the last time Christianity, or any other religion, provided a similarly strong bond for white folks? The Puritans maybe? Utah Mormons and the polygamy war? Hollywood Scientologists?

    Atheists, I believe (and I am one), are a healthy sign of confident minded individualists in society. Over time whites have gained confidence enough to shed their religous beliefs, Slowly mixing the hardwon advances of science and reason into their worldview at the expense of ritual and superstition. I expect blacks and hispanics in America will follow if their lot continues to improve.

  4. I really enjoyed this episode of “Skeptically Speaking”. I do not come across this issue often, but I really liked to hear from LaVerne, who I recently befriended, and addressed some of these issues from my own perspective as a Native American by staring my own blogsite, Native Skeptic. I look to highlight the hope that the skeptics movement has to offer Native Americans and their communities for the future of tribal sovereignty as well as discuss these areas amongst the community.

    Here is a link to my Diary of a Native Skeptic Entry:

  5. FN: Very interesting. There are some who will tell you that there can not be a “Native American” perspective in skepticism because skepticism is a pure form of thinking and has no ethnic bias or tint. Those would be the Vulcans, it is their way to say that sort of thing. As an anthropologist, I’m very excited about this project.

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