I sent a web form message to Reason Rally expressing concern about the people who were speaking and their ability to appeal to a broad base of non-believers. I thought, especially with both Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins in the line up, that they might need a nudge to understand that they were turning off a lot of potential attendees. They should consider finding more women and people of color to speak. I submitted it via web form quite a while ago, so I don’t remember the wording exactly, but that was the gist — be more inclusive, add diversity, get a bigger audience.
This is the email I got back.
Thank you for your interest in Reason Really. We appreciate your concerns regarding minority speakers. Please visit the website to view the 7 confirmed speakers thus far.
You mention James Randi, who is homosexual. Of the remaining 6 confirmed speakers, 3 are women, and Lawrence Krauss was raised Jewish. At this moment, the 7 speakers are 71% minority and 42% female.
Of course, we are always striving to improve and hope to bring a diverse and interesting variety of personalities together in an effort to appeal to a very wide audience.
I commend them on having nearly as many women as men on their roster. It took me a minute to figure out who the 5 minority speakers were. It’s 71% minority AND 42% female.
The Reason Rally Speakers: James Randi, Cara Santa Maria, SciBabe, Lawrence Krauss, Richard Dawkins, Paul Provenza, and Eugenie Scott
OK, so, Cara Santa Maria is part Puerto Rican, everyone else is white, so minority in this case must mean something like, “Any possibly marginalized population.” They told me Lawrence Krauss was “raised Jewish” and James Randi “is homosexual,” so that’s two more by their definition of minority. And I guess all the women are “minorities” as well. Paul Provenza and Richard Dawkins must be the odd straight white non-Jewish men out.
I could certainly spill a lot of ink here about Richard Dawkins, James Randi, and Lawrence Krauss’s unfortunate behavior. It’s enough to know that Dawkins says ridiculous things on Twitter about women all the time and blackballed a woman from speaking at the previous Reason Rally, Randi, according to himself, knew of sexual misconduct by a male speaker and did nothing about it, and Lawrence Krauss supports his close friend who went to prison for sexually abusing many underage girls.
So that’s Reason Rally 2016 for you. Way to be a leader on diversity and inclusion!