Dienstag, 17. Juli 2012

Dear White Atheists,


From one skeptic to another, how is that you don’t see the issue of race and racism in the banning of circumcision in Germany? I get it. You perceived it as a victory for bodily autonomy, and I agree that kids shouldn’t be forced to have circumcision. But that’s not the point and that’s not the problem. The problem is this: A law targeting Semitic people and people of color was passed in a country with a history of racism and anti-Semitism. More specifically, it’s a law will affect people of color more than white people. You aren’t at all skeptical that their is a racist motivation for it? For people of color, this law is going to be perceived as an attack on them. And they should rightly believe it. White American atheists need to understand that Europe isn’t all Kumbaya and lovey as our media portrays it. Some European nations are certainly more progressive than the U.S. but they still have major race problems. And in Germany specifically, there has been a rise in White Nationalism. People of color are rightfully reactionary to this law and any laws created by white people that focus on POC, because Flying Spaghetti Monster knows that POC have been screwed over for centuries by laws that were meant to “help” us.

I was having this discussion with friends on Facebook. It was with an atheist, a fellow Eurasian. While he too opposes circumcision, he cannot help but to feel uncomfortable about the law. And I felt uncomfortable about white people discussing the law. This law should be for people of color to discuss because it affects people of color disproportionately. White gentiles have no business in this space and ought to stay in their own lane.  But that’s the problem with white atheists; they don’t see the importance of race in this discussion. Perhaps it’s white privilege preventing you from seeing racism all the time because you never had to be a victim of racism. Perhaps you’ve prescribed to the toxic colorblind notion. But whatever it is, it’s making you see only religion as the problem. You see, POC don’t have the luxury of having laws not attack our race in some way or another. When we had this discussion on Facebook, white atheists were only focusing on the religious aspect of the law. When we retorted that we saw racism in the issue, you silence and spoke over us. When asked to check your privilege, you didn’t. It’s a wonder why it’s hard for POC to subscribe to atheism sometimes.

White atheist, consider this: How many times were you shafted by Christian religious law? How many times were you told to be quiet or be less demanding while Christians get to discuss laws that disproportionally affected non-believers? Too much? Well from a POC perspective, that is exactly how POC feels when you speak over us, when you decided to have white people legislate the actions of POC. No, forced circumcision is not a good thing but there are enough POC atheist (and enough atheist Jews and Arabs) who are willing to discuss that with other POC. It is their discussion, not yours (especially if you’re American). It is their space, not yours. There is *women's space, there is queer space, and there is people of color's space. You wouldn’t want Christians coming in and speaking over you in your space. So why do the same to POC? So if you don’t want to be continually side-eyed by POC, I beseech you to shut up, sit down, and listen once in a while. Otherwise, POC are not going to feel safe in atheist space. 

Kommentare:

Anonym hat gesagt…

Hi there. Found your blog via Pharyngula. Absolutely fantastic. I hope you write more as I intend on lurking :)

Jake hat gesagt…

Hey...found you via tumblr. While there are plenty of issues to focus on in Germany, I'm not sure you are totally informed about this decision from one judge in the state of Cologne. Circumcision has never been prevalent in Germany or much of Europe. Most POC (a United States term) in Germany come from countries that either do not traditionally circumcise or who do for religious reasons. Of those who do for religious reasons, the Turkish population (the largest immigrant population in Germany...even moreso than other European nations) has a horrible current practice of circumcising pre-teen boys at kind of coming-of-age parties usually without a doctor present, outside of a doctor's office or hospital setting. In many instances, local anesthetic isn't used sufficient enough to make this ritual not painful for the pre-teen boy. There have been increased incidents of these boys needing medical treatment for loss of blood and infection. (Pediatricians in Turkey are even calling for reform, for circumcision to be performed at birth.) The majority of these incidents were seen in Cologne, where a lower court there banned circumcision practices only in Cologne until medical reform made current practices safer for the boys. The case the judge heard was about a four-year-old boy (who bled profusely afterward and had an infection) and they questioned if the doctor who had performed the circumcision was actually a doctor based on answers to questions about post-treatment and no license presented. The judge also considered the news of the pre-teens in his decision. Anyway, reform is happening now. Very good thing, right? The judge didn't ban throughout Germany and did not ban forever. It was done for the child's well-being. This, though widely reported in Germany and throughout foreign news, seems to have been covered up by others focusing on race and Antisemitism (poor Muslims...since it was a Muslim ceremony that started the trial and they've been forgotten even though they are the second highest religious group outside of Christians in Germany, followed by Buddhists, then Jews). Though I like your blog, this entry is filled with racism and erasure itself. And I am one of the Germans who is circumcised (by American parents for non-religious reasons). I like being "cut". That doesn't mean I would want a 4 year-old or 12-year-old to possibly loose his penis because in some incidents, tradition came before medical safety.