I had an amazing weekend! The Seattle Seahawks defeated the 49ers and clinched their spot in Super Bowl XLVIII. The Seahawks victory was the cherry on top of a day that started out well. This past Sunday I had the privilege of participating in a roundtable discussion, sponsored by Black Freethinkers and People of Color Beyond Faith. For over an hour we shared our experiences as secular black women, the challenges of being atheist in a community that is overwhelmingly religious, and the issue of sexism in the various communities that we belong to. Partaking in the roundtable was both positive and timely for me.
As a black female atheist I’m generally surrounded by those whose religious views do not mirror my own. While I certainly respect the freedom of individuals to believe or not believe as they see fit, I can’t front. When I see the way Black women in particular remain loyal to strains of Christianity that do NOT empower them I get sad and frustrated at times. Faith may serve as a source of affirmation for some sisters, but it also serves as a tool to pacify and make them accept circumstances which do not benefit them. By waiting on and expecting Jesus to fix everything that ails them they do not take the proactive steps which would actually improve their lives. But thankfully a change is coming. One by one, Black women are realizing how religion has been used to subjugate us. Through social media I’ve encountered a growing number of Black women who no longer subscribe to religion. Last week For Harriet, a blog community geared towards Black women, featured a piece on this phenomenon. And on January 15th popular blogger Bougie Black Girl revealed that she too is an atheist.
2014 is an exciting time for Black secular women. Though I don’t foresee the majority of Black women abandoning religion completely, the simple knowledge that I am far from alone is encouraging. As time goes on and as we Black secular women share our views and experiences I believe that we will encourage others to do the same. Moving past the burdensome dogma that has held us in place for so long, we can instead work together to build a world and community different from the one that we were born into.