Below the fold is the video of Oprah and her encounter with Atheists.

“So you don’t believe in a higher being? … I’m puzzled. I’m confused. You don’t believe in god …? Maybe you believe in you don’t know you believe … maybe it’s more spiritual …”

Oprah, has anyone ever told you that they assume you would prefer to not be black? There are people who think that, you know. I certainly hope that if someone said that to you … something like “I can’t believe you’d want to be black. Wouldn’t life just be easier if you were white….” that you would not find such a thing offensive.

Or would you?


Comments

  1. #1 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    October 22, 2009

    It is so odd that she has been polled time and time again as someone that people would vote for as President. I can’t watch this from work, but I will definitely come back to it tonight.

  2. #2 Rich Wilson
    October 22, 2009

    This is pretty tangential, but reminds me of an ‘after the show’ clip on Dr. Phil where audience members got into a screaming match over Prop 8 (before it was passed). It centered on whether or not the Prop 8 fight had anything to do with the Civil Rights movement. An African American woman was shouting “nobody ever chose to be Black”, the inference of course being that sexual orientation is a choice so it’s perfectly ok to discriminate against Gay people.

    Which made me wonder, if you could choose your color, would that make it ok to discriminate against someone based on color?

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    October 22, 2009

    It depends on what color people chose to be. Certain colors would be bad, and those people should be discriminated against.

    Cyan. People should not be cyan.

  4. #4 Stephanie Z
    October 22, 2009

    If people are cyan, they have other issues.

  5. #5 The Science Pundit
    October 22, 2009

    I never liked the whole idea of focusing on whether or not something is a choice because that does imply that it’s alright to discriminate against people because of their choices. So by that logic, it’s not okay to discriminate against black people because they had no choice. It is however, perfectly acceptable to discriminate against people with tattoos or pregnant women: they chose that! Is it alright to discriminate againsts gays or atheists? It all depends on whether or not they’re that way by choice.

    I’m inclined to just say “So what if it’s a choice or not?”

  6. #6 Paul D.
    October 22, 2009

    If you choose to believe it is a choice, then so be it.

  7. #7 Virgil Samms
    October 22, 2009

    “Maybe you believe and just don’t know you believe.”

    Or, maybe you’re just rude and don’t know you’re being rude.

  8. #8 Lorax
    October 22, 2009

    Blue! Its F#$&ing blue!!! Cyan? My god, is this really what we’ve come to….

  9. #9 Jared
    October 22, 2009

    Would it be socially acceptable to label my own skin cells with GFP?

  10. #10 Irene
    October 22, 2009

    I think it is up to people to decide what they are called.

  11. #11 skeptifem
    October 22, 2009

    is it really appropriate to compare a position like atheism, that anyone can in theory understand, to blackness? I will never know what its like to be black no matter how I try. And really, if Oprah is new to thinking about atheism (and I suspect she is) why wouldn’t she be kinda resistant to it? Attempting civility in thinking about a position so foreign to your own world view is not half bad, if you ask me. I can’t count the number of times I acted kinda douchey when I first heard of something that I was originally opposed to, but that I now agree with.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    October 22, 2009

    Skep: Good questions. I’m not making a comparison between being black and being an atheist. I’m using the old substitution trick. Like where you have CNN reporters babbling about “Atheist this, atheists that” and it may not sound so bad to many people, but if you replace “Athist” with, say “Jew” suddenly it sounds astonishingly racist, horrific, even scary.

    I’m sure Oprah reads my blog, and when she reads this post, it will change her whole world view!

    I doubt very much that Oprah is new to thinking about atheism. Maybe. How could anybody be, though, really?

  13. #13 llewelly
    October 22, 2009

    Which made me wonder, if you could choose your color, would that make it ok to discriminate against someone based on color?

    It would be like the choice to wear a suit. Which is to say, it would be really stupid and asinine to judge someone by the color they chose to be, but such judgments would be endemic in large swaths of business and academia.

  14. #14 Donna B.
    October 22, 2009

    I will never know what it is like to be black, nor will black people ever know what it is like to be white.

    However… blacks know what it is to “act” white as whites know what it is to “act” black. Perhaps those of you who do not live in an area where the numbers of blacks and whites are near equal do not see this as much as I do.

    It’s obvious to me that the differences are cultural now. Skin color has lost its meaning, but culture has not and it is the black culture that has changed the most (IMHO) over the past 50-60 years.

    The cultures will not change as long as skin color is used for an excuse – this applies to both blacks and whites.

  15. #15 Radge Havers
    October 22, 2009

    Cyanosis — caused by deoxygenated hemoglobin… yikes!

    “Blue! Its F#$&ing blue!!! Cyan?”

    Blasphemer!

    The prejudice expressed in favor of the color blue seems to derive from the antiquated but persistent notion that there is but one important color model, that it’s subtractive and that its primaries are Red, Yellow and Blue (RYB). It’s a hold over from the 1800′s.

    Now-a-days, in the most common subtractive model, Cyan is a primary (CMYK). It has been so for the last 100 years give or take. Blue is a primary in the complementary additive model (RGB). Believe it or not, this actually matters to people who have to work with color models; not just foo-foo-chi-chi decorators but engineers and researchers.

    FWIW, if you arrange the colors on a wheel they are roughly related like this:
       Red
       Magenta
       Blue
       Cyan
       Green
       Yellow
       and Red again

    Additive: Blue+Green=Cyan
    Subtactive: Cyan+Magenta=Blue

    Now can’t we all just get along?

  16. #16 Rich Wilson
    October 23, 2009

    I will say kudos to Oprah for showing people what life is like in other countries. Too many Americans think that since the US of A is the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave that everybody else is just 2nd rate Chicken Shit.

  17. #17 Radge Havers
    October 23, 2009

    If you really want to promote atheism on Oprah, you need to come up with a special atheist diet or a newly discovered atheist secret ritual and meditation technique with lots of affectations. But whatever you do, it has to have the word “secret” in it. Act like it will save the universe and be sure to be deferential and plug all of Oprah’s stuff.

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    October 23, 2009

    Rich: I agree with you . I think this show was probably a good thing to do.

    Radge: Working on it…