NECSS is so sorry they offended the fucking asshole who says something awful every 2.2 seconds, and hopes we can all just get along.
Well, we can’t.
Let me explain to the not-so-fine folks on the NECSS board why Richard Dawkins is such a divisive figure, and why giving him his talk back and asking him to be on a panel to discuss the issues “causing conflict both within the skeptical community and within society as a whole” is basically spitting in the faces of those of us who are trying very, very hard to end the abuses that are causing those conflicts.
Here is a brief history of Richard Dawkins being awful, pulled from my own archives, and therefore in no way comprehensive, because the man is a firehose of terrible statements and I have better things to do than spend 100% of my time trying to catalogue all his fuckery.He kicked off the opening of the Deep Rifts™ with a sneering attack on Rebecca Watson for mildly asking guys to please not corner women on elevators. Then he refused to understand why women might be a tad upset about his cavilier dismissal of our concerns.
He has a distressing habit of erasing women when he discusses abortion. (Alas, I didn’t get around to writing up his abhorrent views on fetuses with Down Syndrome, but any discussion of his views on abortion is incomplete without mentioning them.)
He decided that classifying some child sexual abuse as “mild pedophilia” was a reasonable thing to do. I mean, if Dawk wasn’t much bothered by being diddled as a child, it can’t be that big a deal.
He thinks that women who drink and get raped brought it on themselves. As if that wasn’t despicable enough, he’s also decided that only women with “clear and convincing memories” of their assault can report a rape – so those of us who get raped after being knocked out by drugs or physical force are shit out of luck, no matter what other evidence we have.
He attacked a black Muslim kid for building a clock and taking it to school, even going so far as to descend into conspiracy theories worthy of Alex Jones.
He’s impervious to criticism because he’s convinced himself we’re only in it for the money and fame. (My perpetually depleted bank account can attest to the fact that there is no fame and fortune to be found in criticizing one of the most popular men in the atheist movement.)
And then there was the episode that got him briefly disinvited from the 2016 NECSS conference, wherein he retweeted a video equating feminism with radical Islam (complete with a rape “joke”), and, upon discovering that the video targeted a flesh-and-blood woman who’d been horribly harassed, decided she deserved it.
And all of that is just a tiny sampling of the endless amounts of awful that spew from Richard Dawkins’ Twitter feed on a daily basis, aside from the days when he’s recuperating from a stroke. Then he just uses audio interviews to shit all over the people who’ve already suffered due to his above-noted words siccing hordes of harassers on them. Poor dear, he’s so stressed by the fact we get upset at him for being a sexist, racist, bigoted asshole.
This is the man you’re so very sorry for briefly subjecting to consequences for his actions.
Let me tell you something, NECSS organizers and board people.
I’m sick of this shit. I am completely tired of women, minorities, and people concerned with social justice being an afterthought in this movement. I’m sick of us getting trodden underfoot in the rush to kiss the asses of the Great White Menfolk. I’m tired of watching people and orgs take a tiny step forward, and then stampede back to the status quo.
We on the social justice side of the Deep Rifts™ will change the face of atheism. We will make a secular community where women, people of color, queer folk, trans folk, disabled folk, and other underrepresented folk find safe harbor. We will defeat the harassers, the old-school sexists, the gentlemen racists, the trolls, the harassers, the assholes, the greedy, and the other assorted jackasses that make movement atheism such a terrible place right now. We will resolve this shit, and we will make a better world.
And we will remember who stood with us, who failed us, and who opposed us.
And the question orgs such as yours need to ask: what do you want to be remembered for? Helping achieve equality and justice, or being the jerks we had to overcome to get there?
And no, there is no “room for a range of reasonable opinions on these issues.” There is no discussion to be had with people like Dawkins, who regularly shit all over women and minorities within the movement whilst proclaiming themselves our hero. We’ve tried. We have tried so hard, and so long, to reason with them, and we are done. We are moving on. You can move with us, or we can leave you behind.
As for those of you in the community who had a brief moment of hope when NECSS temporarily decided to do the right thing: they offered a refund to Dawkins’ fans for the disappointment, and now they owe you one. They didn’t bother to offer it, as they should have done. That’s another way they’ve shown that we aren’t shit to them.
If you donated to NECSS or purchased a ticket as a thank you for standing up for the women, minorities, and allies in the secular community who have been harmed by Richard Dawkins, it’s time to ask for your money back. Here’s a handy contact form.
They need to give your your money back. And then they need to give up all pretense of decency, because pretending these are just reconcilable differences is shitting on everyone who isn’t wealthy, white, and generally (though not always) male in this movement. There is a rift for a fucking excellent reason. If they can’t be bothered to figure out why, they need to stay the hell on the other side of it.
It’s okay. We can build a better movement without them.