Hello there my fellow heretics!
I’ve been thinking hard. Since my post on black atheism, a new world has opened up to me. I got a wave of responses on Twitter and engaged in very stimulating discussions – discussions that led me to discover a bunch of new people who are just like me. If you recall, I felt quite alone in my world view as a person of Afro-Caribbean origins. Now I think about it, my point was not perhaps not so much that black and ethnic minority atheists do not exist, it was more that they do not exist in great numbers OPENLY. Thanks to Twitter though, I’ve started following several black men and women who have managed to free themselves from the shackles of cultural stereotypes. It’s all quite exciting!
I’m glad I finally wrote about it. If you don’t talk about something, people won’t know about it. I have even come across black Christians who are actively looking for black atheists to try and understand their point of view and are keen to engage in debates with me. It makes a change from the constant fighting with people who think I am waging war on my own culture. One of the most exciting people I came across is a lady who I call Donnie (@HarrietThugman) who is like my long-lost sister! She’s amazing and has a strong following. She’s a lesbian, feminist, atheist and skeptic and she’s not afraid to speak her mind. She often poses questions to her followers – questions that might agitate a certain type of person, but will excite and engage another type of person. Another fine character I’ve come across is a photographer called Ubuntu (@Afrotonomy) who may well be one of the most intelligent and interesting people I have ever come across. His world view is fascinating and he, too, is an atheist. I look forward to his tweets because they often pick my brain a bit. He also just has a beautiful way with words. The third person that deserves a mention is someone I think I’m becoming good friend with. Her name is Nadia Gamos (@HomeslessGirl1) and she was once homeless because her mother gave all their money to a corrupt Nigerian Church. I wondered if she still believed in “God” after all of that and to my surprise, and my relief, she said she does not. Funnily, when I asked her this, she assumed I was a Christian and shelled up a bit. She said the reason for this was that she often gets tweeted by African people who want her to find religion again before it’s “too late”. I know that narrative well. We both assumed the worst. Fortunately it turned out favourably.
All of this reminded me of just how powerful things like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Youtube and the rest can be. People have direct and instant access to you. I’ve seen people build fashion, literary, and music careers through Twitter. It’s a powerful tool. The gap between us, no matter where in the world we are, is getting a lot smaller and atheists all over the world will be brought closer together and share their individual experiences. I find this really inspiring. Sure, there are internet trolls, but with every good thing comes some bad. I’m really keen to create a network for British atheists of ethnically diverse backgrounds to get together and interact. I’m sure using social media will be the way to achieve this.
Until the next post,