Does Atheism in the United State Lack Racial Diversity?

Reading blogs, books and watching videos, I've noticed that we, atheists, and yes even TA, is very white. The seems to be a lot of diversity in terms of gender and culture, but especially with member from the US, we seem to be lacking in diversity.

 

I'm not really sure if this is an anthropological or sociological question but do you think, race has anything to do with belief systems or more specifically the belief in non-belief? Are there any statistics out there that cover or explain this?  What factors would explain this? Or am I totally off-base which is also entirely possibly due to my innate white-maleness?

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Yes, but not for any nefarious reason.

I attend several meetings with Atheists and have done so for years. Some attendees of the more recent ones held in Dublin and Cork in Ireland. All are atheists.

A Syrian woman who has always been an Atheist.

A black man from NYC.

A man from Iraq.

A man from Kurdistan.

A young woman from Uruguay.

A woman from Germany.

2 women from Brazil.

1 Malaysian woman.

2 women, one man from Australia.

6 Irish women, 11 Irish men (2 of whom were black).

2 tourists from San Francisco.

1 ex Mormon from USA.

A woman from Scotland.

3 Iranian sisters.

4 men, 2 women from England.

Various people from Africa, 4 men from Libya / Tunis. 2 Sudanese women, some from SA.

Several children and teenagers.

Within the wide variety of attendees over the years the gap between male and female has narrowed and on some occasions there are more women than men attending.

I would say that most are university educated but the ones who are not – because of wars or religious persecution – are articulate and intelligent. Many of us, myself included have been “active” as atheists before the Internet or any of the “horsemen” arrived on the scene. Having said that, I have attended several events where Dawkins was a keynote speaker, including one last week. Too many people, including some atheists, still cling to the notion that it is somehow impolite to either criticize or satirize religions. It is not. Religions are deserving of both.

1 month ago less than 50% of a meeting I attended were “white” and about 40% were female. The females were more highly educated than the males with 3 of them holding masters degrees. However some had left school at aged 15.

(Robert Karp - hope all is good with you!!)

Hi, Reg! Your comment makes a lot of sense. And thanks for passing on your information and experience. I must also point out that in my experience, most of the atheists I have personally encountered were female! My high school was full of so many atheist girls--even a few of our cheerleaders [ra! ra! there's no god!]. It is only up until now (about a year or so) that I observe that the most outspoken atheists, agnostics, and anti-theists online are male (accepting Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Julia Sweeney). It doesn't matter to me, though, because I get along just fine with males and females alike and enjoy the company and knowledge of both. Still, it's an interesting dichotomy...who you meet vs. who you tweet. Do you find this same diversity on other forums or in any other digital medium?

The Dublin Conference (Atheism Corks Religion?...sorry I can't help myself), sounds intriguing. It makes sense to me, though, that peoples under more overt attacks by religion yet living closer to Europe would be more outspoken atheists. I'd like to hear what this pool of people has to say as well.

@ Byrdie - A little dated now but we hosted the World Atheist Convention in 2011 which was fully booked out for all talks. You can see the list of speakers and topics in this link. I generally find at these events that people are only interested in debating and promoting Secularism. Racism, sexism, etc. is never an issue for anyone as it often might be at other events.

Many people still see criticizing an idea as that of criticizing an individual. For example the invention of the “crime” of Islamophobia is cited all over the media now. When (eg Dawkins or Maher) are critical of Islamic fundamentalism they are accused of being anti-Muslim. This is just a ploy to shut down the debate. Blasphemy Laws are only in place so weak religious arguments do not need to be defended as people claim to be offended instead. What, you are offend that someone does not believe what you believe? I challenge people to debate catholic doctrine when it is used to indoctrinate children in school and I get accused of “hating ordinary Catholics”. Typical ad hominem attacks by the feeble minded flock!!

I might use your Cork line! When the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland were in full flow there was a conversation reportedly asked of a Belfast atheist by some fundamentalists – “Are you a protestant atheist or a Catholic atheist”? I think you might like to listen to some of Maryam Namazie ideas on Youtube. She is underrated.

One thing I have become very aware of is the number of young people that claim to be atheists. Not only do they say that they are but they KNOW why they are. I have heard 12 year olds tell me why they are atheists (and can’t understand why their teachers “actually believe this shit”) with so much reasoned eloquence that my eyes have watered up with joy. A recent survey in East Germany on religious beliefs amongst the under 25’s failed to find anyone who was not an atheist!! The future is looking good and godless.

Other areas where there is evidence of prejudice against minorities:

pro hockey — are there ANY black or Hispanic hockey players on the pro level?

pro basketball — needs to work on getting more white guys into the sport to reflect national demographics

backpacking — never saw a black man or woman in REI buying serious backpacking gear

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