Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Calling black South African skeptics

A severely under-discussed topic among South African skeptics is race. The problem is stark and obvious: nobody seems to know any black South Africans who are also skeptics. Now, obviously, there are (must be) black South African skeptics... but we don't know who they are. And this situation is clearly unacceptable.

So... if you are black, South African and a skeptic (or know of someone who is) please contact me! I will make it my mission to help make your voice heard.

14 comments:

  1. Why is this situation unacceptable?

    ReplyDelete
  2. reminds me of this similar post by pz meyers (gender instead of race bias).

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/02/feminist_hypersensitivity_or_m.php

    it's an issue because sceptics, to my knowledge seek to be non discriminatory. if this is the case, how is it then that race and gender are not represented within its community?

    it's an issue, because, if the community is alienating certain groups through oblivious action (or inaction), then it's helpful to know about it.

    for example, if scepticism and related free-thought carries a greater stigma within black communities, perhaps a greater sensitivity to anonymity would be helpful.

    i don't see anyone calling for affirmative action here, just better understanding.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Joy-Mari: yeah, what Murray Biscuit...

    ReplyDelete
  4. did i miss something....was not Manta Tshabalala-Mismang a skeptic. Was not Thabo Mbeki an AIDS skeptic too?

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Muza: I meant skeptic in the sense of Carl Sagan, not in the sense of a Mbeki or a Wakefield. I.e. scientific skepticism.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh. You meant a white skeptic?

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Boer: no, I meant a scientific skeptic who is also (1) black and (2) South African.

    And I have found several.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "it's an issue because sceptics, to my knowledge seek to be non discriminatory. if this is the case, how is it then that race and gender are not represented within its community?"

    That just stupid. Reductio: "Nerdy strip poker players don't discriminate against women, so why aren't there equal numbers of female nerdy strip poker players?". Group A not discriminating against people from category B doesn't imply that people from category B are lame enough to join group A. So the race skew might not be your fault, but you're still lame.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The cause needs not be discrimination for the lack of representativeness to be (1) ethically problematical and (2) tactically troublesome.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You've found several? Well, what are you waiting for? Sharing is caring, you know... :) Anyhoo, wish I could help with the search, but I just found out we have SA skeptics at all last week (thanks for the updated Feb blogroll btw - that'll keep me busy for a while).

    I'm not sure there's an ethical problem with a lack of non-paleface skeptical representation, actually. At least, not if there's no discrimination involved. Though there could still be some reason (besides conscious bias) that it's harder for black skeptics to meet others of like mind, or get skeptical views out there, and that would be something that needs addressing. I suspect that may actually be the case, but I'm going purely on anecdote and guesswork here...

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Klaus: Still a work in progress, I'm afraid.

    Yeah, I agree. As long as there is no discrimination (which in my estimation is unlikely, but anyway) there's no real ethical problem. But the lack of black skeptics still causes tactical problems.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I know a few potential candidates. The only thing is, as with most sceptics (and me until 5 years ago), I didn't know I was one until I was told about the movement. They all certainly fall into the category.

    ReplyDelete