Learning from the LGBT movement

Friendly Atheist has posted the speech that Greta Christina gave at the Secular Student Alliance conference. It’s an hour long, but it’s definitely an hour well spent.

While her focus is on the atheist movement taking lessons from the LGBT movement, I think a lot of what she says is extremely applicable to the skeptic movement as well. She spends some time talking about the importance of not bickering over communication method (fire brands vs. diplomats) which is of course very relevant after Phil Plait’s (in)famous “Don’t be a dick” speech at TAM this year.

What I found particularly relevant, however, is from about 25 to 40 minutes or so when she talks about gender and racial diversity, and the importance of correcting that problem now rather than later, and of acknowledging that there is a problem. The skeptic movement is still very much a white dudes movement, and we’re having that very same growing pain. Women and people of color within the skeptic movement (often with the Skepchicks leading the charge) are starting to agitate about the lack of diversity, and we may very well be at a crossroads when it comes to how the movement as a whole handles it. Greta Christina makes some very good points about how to get more minority involvement, and about making sure that when women or people of color speak, they don’t just get pigeonholed into talking about being a woman or being a person of color.

Good stuff.

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