Is This #NotAllAtheists?

Is it #NotAllAtheists to ask that people talking about the Shermer allegations and Dawkins’ recent tweets urging rape victims to shut up and accept responsibility for being raped if they were drunk–to ask that these people also talk about the fact that the people who have busted their asses and taken abuse for years to keep this problem from being swept under the rug are also thoroughly tied in to movement atheism and skepticism? I’m not sure.

I’m still going to ask that people do this. Why? Nothing to do with trying to make atheists look better, though there are good reasons to to be wary of painting atheists as a monolith, particularly in the U.S.

No, I ask that people not erase those of us who stood up and yelled and agitated on this because that’s why this managed to stay quiet as long as it did. We have nothing like the platform of a Shermer or a Dawkins, which means we can go unheard. And Dawkins is doing his damnedest (which isn’t enough) to try to make sure no one listens to us.

Please don’t help him.

Is This #NotAllAtheists?

8 thoughts on “Is This #NotAllAtheists?

  1. 1

    I don’t know. What’s the right way to be *not one of those*, anyway? It’s a little frustrating to support the right side of a fight and then get collaterally crapped on because your dissenting voice isn’t loud enough.

  2. 3

    So, how does someone with less voice then you amplify yours? Linking? Speaking up in the comments? What little voice I have is usually lost in the roar of the crowd.

  3. 4

    If you can handle the reactions of your social circle, linking is always good. Personal social networks may feel small, but they’re more powerful than you might think. That’s why we talk about saying something when friends make racist or sexist jokes. Those social ties carry weight.

  4. 5

    Here’s the thing with #notAllX that makes it different… well, two things.

    First, #notAllX is usually applied when there is systemic power imbalance. Do atheists have some sort of deeply-ingrained social/economic/political advantage over women? Certainly male atheists do, so you might ridicule #notAllMaleAtheists, but then you might as well shorten it to #notAllMen, because I don’t think that there is anything special about the atheism per se that is contributing to the privilege at work here.

    Second, #notAllX is generally used as an excuse to not address the problem. For instance, it is #notAllMen to say “But it’s not fair that I can’t politely proposition a woman in an elevator at 3AM, because I’m not a rapist” — but it is not #notAllMen to say, “Look, guys, plenty of us live happy lives without propositioning women in elevators at 3AM. We can do better than this.”

    So I don’t think it’s #notAllAtheists. The closest I think we come to #notAllAtheists is that sometimes we are a little flippant about “we attack ideas, not people — you’re just offended because your idea is wrong”. For one thing, that ignores that a lot of internet atheists do attack people, not ideas. #notAllAtheists, of course, but this is going to color perceptions. And also, it is easy to ignore some of the intersectional issues that might make it difficult for a person to separate religious ideas from their identity. Not that this means anybody gets a pass for believing in wrongheaded ideas, of course, but sometimes we could be a little more compassionate, I think.

    But is it #notAllAtheists to point out that there is a large faction in movement atheism that wants to do something about our misogyny issue? No, because that protestation doesn’t deny the problem; in fact, it affirms it. #notAllX is about denial.

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