Difference between revisions of "Atheism and racism"

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*[https://brill.com/view/title/19113?lang=en Race and Racism in Modern East Asia] (Brill's Series on Modern East Asia in a Global Historical Perspective, Volume: 1), Editors: Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel
*[https://brill.com/view/title/19113?lang=en Race and Racism in Modern East Asia] (Brill's Series on Modern East Asia in a Global Historical Perspective, Volume: 1), Editors: Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel
== Western atheism and race ==
== Western atheism and race ==

Revision as of 09:01, 31 July 2019

Below are resources on atheism and racism.

East Asia, China, atheism and racism

See also: China and atheism and Asian atheism

China has the largest atheist population in the world.[1]

China has the world's largest atheist population.[2][3]

East Asia contains about 25 percent of the world’s population. China’s population represents 20 percent of the people on earth.[4]

Razib Khan points out in Discover Magazine, "most secular nations in the world are those of East Asia, in particular what are often termed “Confucian societies.” It is likely therefore that the majority of the world’s atheists are actually East Asian."[5] See: Asian atheism and Global atheism

China and racism

Leroy Adams writes in an article entitled What is it like to be Black in China?:

China is a country plagued by racism.

To be Black or African in China is to be labeled unintelligent, dangerous, unattractive, or to see an empty seat next to you on a crowded subway.[6]

Barry Sautman published via the Cambridge University Press about racism in post Mao Zedong China:

Expressions of anti-black sentiment by Chinese students have caught the world's attention periodically since the end of the 1970s. Demonstrations against African students in Nanjing and other cities between late 1988 and early 1989 received wide press coverage. Because the African population in China is small and transient, some observers saw these events as a manifestation of a vestigial xenophobia, not as part of a developing trend of thought within a key segment of Chinese society. Placed next to the brutal ethnic conflicts that plague much of the world, the episodic, non-lethal incidents in China seemed evanescent, with only fleeting implications for China's foreign policy.[7]

An article entitled Racism in China declares:

The Han Chinese have traditionally considered themselves more advanced and civilized than other ethnic groups in China. In the imperial era, this was almost state policy. The sentiment continues today even though laws have been enacted to protect minorities, racism is officially condemned and Chinese multi-ethnicity is celebrated in propaganda. In recent years assimilation has been encouraged, particularly in Tibet and Xinjiang, whose ethnic groups are regarded as a threat.

The Chinese have many prejudiced views about race, gender and nationality. Chinese often have no compunctions about directly mocking ethnic minorities, and there sometimes seems to be a prevailing belief that anything non-Chinese is primitive.

Throughout most of their history, the Chinese have regarded anyone who lives outside of China as a savage or a barbarian. Europeans, for example, were thought to have more hair than monkeys, larger noses than anteaters and a smell more awful than dead bodies. The Chinese believed some white people tied themselves together to keep from being snatched away by eagles and other had holes in chests so the they could be carried by poles. According to one account some towns in Europe were composed entirely of women who became pregnant by staring at their shadows.

Chinese have also been victims of racism. In World War II, Chinese-Americans were not allowed to become pilots because it was believed that their slanted eyes prevented them from seeing well enough to fly a plane.[8]

The Internations organization website declares concerning racism in China:

When it comes to foreign nations against which racism in China exists, the Japanese are particularly disliked. The use of slurs, such as “little Japanese” and even “Japanese devils”, is fairly common. The two countries’ bloody history — particularly Japan’s occupation of China and the atrocities against Chinese citizens during World War II — is neither forgotten nor forgiven. According to a BBC World Service poll, nine out of ten Chinese think negatively of their island neighbors.

Black people are often regarded suspiciously, too, and considered as all coming from Africa, regardless of their actual origin. In a society where light skin is still deemed desirable and seen as a sign of fortune, darker skin is often associated with less favorable traits. There have, for instance, been reports of African-American English teachers (and thus native speakers) being turned down in favor of white English teachers with non-native language skills.

China’s economic investment in a number of African countries may well have helped to create the prejudice that all Africans are poor and profiting from money that should rather be invested at home, thus fostering racism in China. In Guangzhou, where a large number of Africans have settled over the last few years, racial tensions have been particularly high.

Typically, however, racism in China is more common in remote areas than in the big cities with a large number of foreign residents. China’s long isolation from the rest of the world has also helped to foster stereotypes.

However, with the opening up of the country and especially the younger generation’s increasing contact with foreign cultures (e.g. basketball is now immensely popular in China), some of these negative stereotypes will hopefully disperse soon. Until then, while discrimination and racism in China do prevail, they are at least non-violent in the vast majority of cases.[9]

Racism in East Asia

Western atheism and race

See also: Western atheism and race

The atheist and evolutionist PZ Myers giving a presentation to a group that is likely largely made up of white males.[10][11][12] In June 2010, PZ Myers commented that atheist meetings tend to be significantly more attended by males.[13]

In 2015, BloombergView reported concerning the United States:

According to a much-discussed 2012 report from the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life, only 3 percent of U.S. atheists and agnostics are black, 6 percent are Hispanic, and 4 percent are Asian. Some 82 percent are white. (The relevant figures for the population at large at the time of the survey were 66 percent white, 11 percent black, 15 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian.)

...Craig Keener, in his huge review of claims of miracles in a wide variety of cultures, concludes that routine rejection of the possibility of the supernatural represents an impulse that is deeply Eurocentric.[14]

See also: European desecularization in the 21st century

In the United States, blacks have the highest rate of religiosity.[15] Among Hispanics, religion has traditionally played a significant role in daily activity.[16]

At the same time, due to immigration, Europe is expected to become more desecularized in the 21st century (See also: Global atheism and Atheist population).

The atheist Sikivu Hutchinson declared “If mainstream freethought and humanism continue to reflect the narrow cultural interests of white elites who have disposable income to go to conferences then the secular movement is destined to remain marginal and insular.”[17]

The atheist community has not had significant outreach to racial minorities within the Western World whereas Christians have done this (particularly among the poor).[18] See also: Atheism and uncharitableness

Sikivu Hutchinson speaking ath the Center for Inquiry.

In 2010, an atheists' conference was organized in the United States concerning the future direction of the atheist movement and 370 people attended. The conference, sponsored by the Council for Secular Humanism, drew members from all the major atheist organizationsin the United States. The New York Times described the attendees as "The largely white and male crowd — imagine a Star Trek convention, but older..."[19]

Survey data and website tracking data of prominent atheists' websites indicate that in the Western World, atheism appears to be significantly less appealing to women.[12][20][21] These findings suggest that the atheist movement in the Western world and the New Atheism movement are significantly more appealing to white males.

In 2011, Beliefnetnews reported concerning the race and gender of American atheists:

From the smallest local meetings to the largest conferences, the vast majority of speakers and attendees are almost always white men. Leading figures of the atheist movement — Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett — are all white men.

But making atheism more diverse is proving to be no easy task.

Surveys suggest most atheists are white men. A recent survey of 4,000 members of the Freedom from Religion Foundation found that 95 percent were white, and men comprised a majority.[22]

Black atheism

See: Black atheism

Atheism/Latino Americans and religiosity and Latino culture

See: Atheism/Latino Americans and religiosity and Latino culture

Cultural diversity of the atheist population

See also: Atheism and diversity and Atheism and white males and Atheism and culture and Evolutionary racism

Since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the evolutionary position which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists and agnostics (see also: Causes of evolutionary belief).[23] Charles Darwin's book The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life has been translated into 35 languages.[24]

In terms of its geographic distribution, Christianity is a much more a global religion than most, if not all, religions (See also: Global Christianity).[25][26] The Bible has been translated into 518 languages and 2,798 languages have at least some portion of the Bible.[27]

Collectively speaking, the Christian community has a much greater degree of linguistic and cultural diversity than the atheist community (see also: Atheist community and verbal–linguistic intelligence).

See also:

Evolutionary racism

See also: Atheism and evolutionary racism and Social effects of the theory of evolution

As noted above, since World War II a majority of the most prominent and vocal defenders of the evolutionary position which employs methodological naturalism have been atheists.[23] The errant and ill-founded writings of atheist Charles Darwin (see: religious views of Charles Darwin) ,[28] which became very influential in the late 19th century, provided a pretext for racism.

Evolutionary racism refers to a racist philosophy based on Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory. It assumes that men have continually evolved, and thus some races are more evolved than others. It replaces Christian morality with the atheistic "survival of the fittest" ideology of Social Darwinism.

Charles Darwin wrote in his work The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex:

At some future period not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes...will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest Allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as the baboon, instead of as now between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla.[29][30]

The atheist Ernst Haeckel was a virulent evolutionary racist. The agnostic and staunch evolutionist Stephen Gould admitted the following:

Haeckel was the chief apostle of evolution in Germany.... His evolutionary racism; his call to the German people for racial purity and unflinching devotion to a "just" state; his belief that harsh, inexorable laws of evolution ruled human civilization and nature alike, conferring upon favored races the right to dominate others; the irrational mysticism that had always stood in strange communion with his brave words about objective science—all contributed to the rise of Nazism.—Stephen J. Gould, "Ontogeny and Phylogeny," Belknap Press: Cambridge MA, 1977, (pp.77-78).[31]

When asked in an interview, "If we do not acknowledge some sort of external [standard], what is to prevent us from saying that the Muslim [extremists] aren’t right?", Richard Dawkins replied, "What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question, but whatever [defines morality], it’s not the Bible. If it was, we’d be stoning people for breaking the Sabbath."[32]

The interviewer wrote in response, "I was stupefied. He had readily conceded that his own philosophical position did not offer a rational basis for moral judgments. His intellectual honesty was refreshing, if somewhat disturbing on this point."[32]

Evolutionary racism still exist today. For example, evolutionary racism was recently directed at Michelle Obama.[33] The historic taint of white evolutionary racism within the white atheist community no doubt has been a factor which has hindered the adoption of atheism in the Western World among racial minorities. Leading creation science organizations such as Creation Ministries International, Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research commonly point out the evolutionary racism that has existed within the evolutionary community.[34][35][36][37]

See also


  1. Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)
  2. A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  3. The Growth of Christianity in East Asia
  4. Most atheists are not white & other non-fairy tales, Discover magazine
  5. What is it like to be Black in China?, Inkstone News
  6. Anti-Black Racism in Post-Mao China by Barry Sautman, Cambridge University Press
  7. Racism in China
  8. Discrimination and Racism in China, Internations.org website
  9. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/16/us/16beliefs.html?_r=1
  10. http://www.conservapedia.com/Racial_demographics_of_the_Richard_Dawkins%27_audience
  11. 12.0 12.1 http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_appears_to_be_significantly_less_appealing_to_women
  12. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/06/the_woman_problem.php
  13. The Atheism Gap By Stephen L. Carter, BloombergView, Mar 27, 2015 4:26 PM EDT
  14. Gallup: Blacks Most Religious Group in U.S.
  15. Understanding Hispanic culture
  16. Atheism’s white male problem: A movement needs a moral cause beyond glamorizing disbelief by CJ Werleman, Salon, October 4, 2014
  17. Atheism has a big race problem that no one’s talking about by Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, Washington Post June 16, 2014
  18. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/16/us/16beliefs.html
  19. http://www.americanreligionsurvey-aris.org/reports/NONES_08.pdf
  20. http://www.livescience.com/culture/090227-religion-men-women.html
  21. http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2011/01/atheists-diversity-woes-have-n.php
  22. 23.0 23.1 * Dr. Don Batten, A Who’s Who of evolutionists Creation 20(1):32, December 1997.
  23. Darwin in translation
  24. Many religions heavily concentrated in one or two countries
  25. Christianity in its global context
  26. Bible translations
  27. http://www.aim.org/wls/90/
  28. The Descent of Man, chapter VI
  29. http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/social.html
  30. 32.0 32.1 http://byfaithonline.com/page/in-the-world/richard-dawkins-the-atheist-evangelist
  31. https://creation.com/obama-racism-row
  32. https://creation.com/racism-questions-and-answers
  33. http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/topic/racism
  34. https://www.icr.org/article/evolution-modern-racism/
  35. https://www.icr.org/article/ascent-racism/