• Reason Rally Lineup Hits 100% Minority Status

    Almost a year ago, Hemant Mehta prophesied that the 2016 Reason Rally would probably run into certain difficulties with appeasing all the various constituencies which make up the secular community as a whole:

    I don’t envy the job that lies ahead of them. The first rally cost a lot of money (hundreds of thousands of dollars) and took years to plan. Even compiling a list of speakers is a disaster in the making since just about anyone they choose will offend some group of people. But the first Reason Rally included a mix of celebrities, group leaders, and individual atheist activists. I suspect another rally will be similar — though I’m hoping they can lure even bigger celebrities this time around.

    Emphasis mine. And lo, these many months later, it has come to pass. Ashley Miller writes:

    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.

    The reply from the Reason Rally organizers was to puff up their minority numbers to 71% using some sort of mathemagical legerdemain, the details of which one can only guess. I’m here to tell you that they can do much better, though.

    All of the women speakers are oppressed and marginalized, obviously, because of rape culture and patriarchy. That leaves only the men.

    James Randi is not only gay, but he has been subjected to incredibly unfair and arguably defamatory allegations as a result, so that’s him sorted. On to the affable and hilarious Paul Provenza.

    Provenza is a proud Italian American, of course. (TW: Nudity)

    I probably don’t need to remind you all that Italians are an historically oppressed minority here in the United States but just in case, here you go.

    Que sera sera, as they say.

    As to Dr. Krauss, he was raised in a Jewish household with a German surname. If that’s not an oppressed minority, what is? I shudder just thinking about what that must have been like.

    That leaves only the 900 lb. gorilla in the room, Dr. Richard Dawkins. Surely an Englishman and former Oxford don cannot be oppressed in any way, right?

    Wrong. Not only was Dawkins a survivor of sexual abuse, but he had to deal with being continually retraumatized by the latter-day warriors for social justice who have repeatedly accused him of failing to process his childhood experiences in the proper way.

    And that’s all she wrote, folks. When it comes to choosing speakers with a history of oppression (either on an individual or group membership basis) the Reason Rally is batting 8/8.

    I defy anyone to disagree.



    Category: Uncategorized

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.
    • The fact that we are more worried about the gender and race of the speakers or whether their gender and race might be responsible for “turning off a lot of potential attendees” than we are about the quality of their contributions speaks volumes. There is something almost cancerous about this sort of identify politics, victimhood culture, social justice warriorism, or whatever else one wants to call it.

      • I can actually think of a couple of arguments for thoughtfully diversifying the lineup. By adding people who have apostatized from different faith communities the rally broadens its appeal with potential attendees who can relate to various experiences. Coming out atheist from an historically black church is a unique experience, as is coming out atheist from a majority Latino Catholic parish, as is coming out from a fundamentalist cult like the FLDS or Westboro. Being an ex-Muslim, former Hindu, or secular Sikh is different than all of the above. When people see their apostatic journey represented on stage, they are more likely to intuit that the Reason Rally relates to them.

      • Their is something labelled Religious Trauma Syndrome. Former believers have been traumatized too.

      • Very thankful not to be able to relate to this, despite being raised both Catholic and Baptist. Looking back at my church days, I feel vaguely wistful.

      • Sure. I would think that increasing the diversity of speakers in terms of their experiences and backgrounds could be quite beneficial. But that seems to have more to do with the content they would bring than just their demographics. Bringing someone in to speak about coming out in the context of a historically black church, for example, strikes me as rather different and far more valuable than just arguing that more black speakers are needed.

      • I’ve hardly ever seen the arguments for diversification being made explicitly by the sort of folk who e-mail conference organizers with threats of rage blogging. Probably they do exist somewhere, though.