Monday, January 28, 2013
In light of everything that has taken place over the last year in the secular community, I propose a plan to battle discrimination. Community groups/college groups do not have the benefits of having an official Human Resources department to instate their rights as a member and/or an established outlet to speak out on discrimination. Yes, I know there are constitutions in place to inform others on the pillars of a organization, but I do not think that is quite enough. A person should be designated the responsibility to ensure discrimination does not occur. That person will be responsible for enforcing equality, member's rights and trying to make the organization a safe place for all people. I creating this position will emphasize humanist values and will prevent discrimination. It may also make others feel much more comfortable. I suggest that others implement this organizational structure as well. About the duties: I am open to suggestions about the duties of director of diversity. These are the ones I tend to implement as Director of Diversity at Boston Atheists. - Reviewing and/or editing constitution to fit member's needs - Implementing a sexual harassment policy - Addressing issues such as: lack of diversity, privilege, discrimination and sexual harassment. - Consoling victims of discrimination and finding a just solution for their grievances.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
I look up to Shermer, Dawkins and other white privileged intellectual men. Notice I said, look, as in present. I think they are wrong for the various things they have said and done. No doubt about it. I think they want equality for women but have unfair notions about women that can be easily argued. So, why did thunderf00t say that feminism is ruining atheism? Because no one likes opposition. No one likes to be accused of anything (including privilege) Yet, we are human and perspectives are limited. That is why criticism is necessary! this is not a witch hunt, at least not for me, but a chance to make this community more inclusive and ethical. Sexism is in every nook and cranny of our culture. There is a lot to complain about. No wonder why it may seem that feminists complain about everything.... Anyways, PZ Myers sums it up pretty dam well-- But see, this is why the atheist movement can’t have leaders. The ones we’ve got, informally, all seem to think they’re like gods and popes, infallible and unquestionable, and that normal, healthy, productive criticism within the movement is all a conspiracy to dethrone them. ---Again, If you said/did something wrong, people aren't necessarily out to get you, the criticism is there to help, not to hinder. One of my favorite things about atheism is the ability to question authority and that nothing is sacred. Let's keep that up- no one, not even the most awesome intellectuals of our movements should be immune to criticism. Apologizing is easy people, really. I'm a master at it. Ask my mom.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
I am a member of various different secular organizations including CFI. As a latina/bisexual/atheist feminist, I do see various problems the secular community has in regards to inclusion. First and foremost, trying to deny white male dominance is like trying to deny evolution. Sexism/white male dominance clearly exists and it is ongoing. Although people have the right to discuss it freely, we should recognize that this is not a valid stance. Neither is it fair, because our pain and cause are very real- that is why it is a human rights issue. Furthermore, many should be made aware that white/male privilege is not an insult or personal attack. It is a fact. It is likely that those who are accused of being privileged felt attacked, and this is where the conflict with women/feminism began. Our community is already so marginalized, so small that leaders have to use conflict resolution education to work towards reconciliation. As a graduate student in conflict resolution, holding an “intervention/mediation” is really the only way we can deal with these issues. The conflict resolution field has made so many breakthroughs already. I am sure it can help the secular community thrive.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
I just started a graduate degree on conflict resolution. That being said, I think I can offer some insight about what is happening in the secular community. I do believe this anger towards feminists stems from our patriarchal society. It seems as though pointing out privileged initially created division because of perspectives on gender and society. This division has obviously caused a clear separation. In this particular case the parties are: People who are pro-feminist activism in the movement and those who believe feminist ideologies have torn apart the secular community. There are of course, people in between, including the apathetic. Anyways, In conflict both parties view each other as outsiders. Both parties believe that the other party are less moral than their own group due to their belief system. A spiral conflict is when both parties lash out at each other- which obviously has occurred. Everyone makes off-hand comments. That does not mean they they are misogynistic. That means that they MAY be ignorant. The solution to this is to raise awareness. I am completely ignorant to the plight of the Micronesian population, which just from hearing about it, is an immensely complicated issue that more people should know about. If the general public is sympathetic to a cause, the rest will follow. But we must remember that this could go both ways. If there is a general dislike towards a movement/population, it is likely to grow. That is the basic social psych/human nature which I am sure all of you know about. Thus, these off-hand comments must be denounced- I believe the best way to denounce sexism in general (this is my solution for everything btw) is to place human rights above everything else. Human rights, for me is the most important cause. If we emphasize the importance of human rights, implementation will follow.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Hello, I am a Howard University Alumni, class of 2011. First, I would like to say this e-mail is way overdue and would like to apologize for my laziness and cowardice. I experienced harassment at Howard for being an atheist and a woman my first year. The professor, a Muslim, which I can have many students of that class vouch that he said this- said that women should cover their hair, that way they could avoid getting sexually harassed. My speech teacher said that he does not associate or understand people who do not attend church. When I became an I-pal my second year the person who was directing the international students told me I was going to hell for not believing in god. Many people can vouch for this as well. The extreme religiosity really is not only a pity but something that should be addressed to your faculty. You cannot control what the students or the faculty believe but you are responsible for behavior. I should not have to remind you that discrimination or hate speech is supposedly not condoned by any institution- specially one that is funded by the government. One of the most famous scientists in the world came to Howard (Richard Dawkins, a prominent atheist)- and Ribeau was no where to be seen. Yet he is always in able to proselytize on Sundays. Being at Umass Boston has showed me that there is something deeply wrong with Howard. Hate speech, especially towards the LGBTQ community is wide spread and religiosity- dangerous religiosity has a strong hold on Howard. So much so, that there was actually an article on cults in the hilltop. Conveniently, the administration of Howard keeps on "losing" or flat out not giving the secular students of Howard University any real place at Howard. What spiked this letter into existence is the tragedy called graduation. Why was there religion in my graduation! I'm sure anyone who is not Christian did not appreciate the chapel presence in graduation. Every few minutes, when Jesus or the chapel was praised, it was a slap in the face to atheists and non-Christians alike. I hope you will exclude them next time. The government gives you money for to EDUCATE not to CONVERT. This is a clear example for putting religion before actual academic subjects- the walls of Howard University are littered with bible study flyers- that other groups and activities fall short. That is not right. I cannot tell you how sad it makes me that Howard and the black community have excluded secular values, humanism and critical thinking. I hope this letter will change something. Train your staff to not make inappropriate or hurtful comments regarding religious beliefs. Train them to be secular. Train them to be tolerant towards atheism and secular values, as Howard University claims not have a religious affiliation they are also supposed to exemplify secularism. Atheism or "none" is the fastest growing religion. Some say as high as 20%. We deserve respect. Lastly, please remember what some these holy texts say about our community and the atrocities committed against the black people in the name of religion. I am forwarding this to the American Humanist Association, The freedom from religion foundation and other organizations, as I am sure they want to know what the mecca of social justice looks like as well as how tax payers money are being spent. You need to be held responsible for the inappropriate place of religion in Howard. I want Howard University to be a place where atheists and the LGBTQ community feel safe and happy. Georgina Capetillo Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance University of Massachusetts Boston