Thoughts from Alix Jules on why #blacklivesmatter


Alix Jules, a longtime friend and supporter of Foundation Beyond Belief who spoke at last year’s Humanism at Work conference, has a wonderful post on his blog explaining why #blacklivesmatter should matter to humanists. He writes powerfully from his own experiences:

I want to be colorblind too, but that’s not the world I live in. Ask the cop that pulls me over if he sees my color, or ask the person that follows me around in the store if my shade is the source of her shade. By ignoring my experience, you deny my reality, and although I really want to be in a world where color isn’t relevant, that’s simply not real. I’ve written about the disparities between the rates of incarceration, police brutality, over-policing, and the legal over-processing of people who look like me. Yet even with the preponderance of evidence, I still get dragged into an unfair argument of equivalences or relativism…

This failure to address the disparity is also one of the reasons we fail to move the Atheist or Secular needle in the African American community. Even as the Pew Survey showed a rise in the rate of Atheism in the general population, the African American population experienced no statistically significant change. On the forefront of today’s racial Civil Rights movement, I am still joined by many of the churches and religious leaders (both black and white) who do acknowledge the concept of race as real. And as much as I’d like to argue the role of religion in both justifying and implementing the system of inequity, sometimes you just need to put your disruptive feet on the street and demand change.

If you’re a Humanist, there is a reason #BlackLivesMatter right now and a reason you should listen. If you’re a Humanist and aren’t paying attention to what is happening to other Humans or the inequality and suffering that exist for them, you’re doing Humanism wrong. Focusing on white only aspects of Humanism makes you a white only Humanist, which by that distinction doesn’t really make you much of a Humanist.

This is why we chose to make the theme of this year’s conference #blacklivesmatter: listen, learn, think, discuss, act. We’ll have the opportunity to listen to scholars like Sikivu Hutchinson and Monica Miller discuss what the humanist community can and must do to help diminish racial inequality, a crucial topic given the events of the last few months.

But this week is your last chance to register! After Sunday, it will be too late. Register now!