Fierce Divergence.

Author:Middlebrooks, Dennis
Position:LETTERS - Letter to the editor

In "Why 'Five Fierce Humanists'? A Commentary on White Supremacy and the 'Movement"' (J/A 2018) Sikuvu Hutchinson makes a number of rather extraordinary claims. She notes that "the reductive association of atheism, humanism, and freethought with an agenda based almost exclusively on church-state separation and science has stymied participation by people of color in secular movements." Hutchinson doesn't explain why these core issues of the freethought movement should stymie participation of people of color. But given the present political realities in the United States, where church-state separation, science, and public education are under fierce attack from rabid evangelicals and right-wing Catholics at all levels of government, it seems to me that an agenda based on those issues should be the precise focus of the movement. There already exist many other organizations that are well financed and can address feminist and minority issues far more effectively than we can.

Hutchinson then goes on to state: "But Western notions of logic, reason, and scientific inquiry have all historically been defined by whites in the service of validating white bodies and white humanity." Since when are logic, reason, and scientific inquiry mere social constructs designed to benefit white people, and not concepts of universal applicability? So much for the discoveries of Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, et al. So much for the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution. I guess Hutchinson feels that evolution, relativity, quantum physics, and modern cosmology were all designed by devious racists "to validate white bodies and white humanity."

Dennis Middlebrooks | Brooklyn, NY

I would like to offer a deep-felt appreciation for your most recent coverage of the "Five Fierce Humanists: Unapologetically Black Women Beyond Belief" (J/A 2018). As one of those "cis straight white men" Charles Murn speaks of in the same issue ("White Privilege and Humanist Leadership"), I will likely never feel the sharp stiletto of discrimination and marginalization pierce me. For that privilege I am most fortunate and I fully understand that. I also recognize that for many eis straight white people, such a privilege can effectively inhibit personal moral maturation; somewhat like a handicap. For that reason, I am always grateful and moved by the voices of brave, beautiful, and strong communities like the LGBTQ...

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