In a recent blog post, PZ Myers describes a significant problem for the atheist community if it wants to be a community that is welcoming to men and women:
[Rebecca] did not make these hysterical accusations everyone is claiming, she did not compare herself to the oppressed women of the third world, she did not demonize the clumsy sap in the elevator — she asked for some simple common courtesy, and for that she gets pilloried.
Sorry, people, but that sends a very clear signal to women that calm requests for respect will be met with jeers by a significant subset of the atheist community, and that’s not right.
It looks like we have problems … the questions for me are where do we go next? What can we do to fix these problems?
PZ Myers provides some advice to terminally clueless male conference attendees who are bad at reading social cues with “The Decent Human Beings’ Guide to Getting Laid at Atheist Conferences.”
Several months ago, Greta Christina blogged about the atheist movement and diversity issues by drawing parallels to mistakes made by bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender (BGLT) movements in their early days and how we are suffering from their mistakes today:
- Getting It Right Early: Why Atheists Need to Act Now on Gender and Race
- Race, Gender, and Atheism, Part 2: What We Need To Do — And Why
The individuals who attend Unitarian Universalist Association conferences occasionally make mistakes but the conference leadership do make an honest good-faith effort address openness, inclusion, and oppression concerns with their conferences (“Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression, Multiculturalism” expectations for conference attendees and a brief description of what happens when an incident happens at a conference).
More in Part III.