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In Godless Americana, author Sikivu Hutchinson challenges the myths behind Americana images of Mom, Apple pie, white picket fences, and racially segregated god-fearing Main Street USA. In this timely essay collection, Hutchinson argues that the Christian evangelical backlash against Women’s rights, social justice, LGBT equality, and science threatens to turn back the clockIn Godless Americana, author Sikivu Hutchinson challenges the myths behind Americana images of Mom, Apple pie, white picket fences, and racially segregated god-fearing Main Street USA. In this timely essay collection, Hutchinson argues that the Christian evangelical backlash against Women’s rights, social justice, LGBT equality, and science threatens to turn back the clock on civil and human rights. As a result of this climate, more people of color are exploring atheism, agnosticism, and freethought. Godless Americana examines these trends, providing a groundbreaking analysis of faith and radical humanist politics in an era of racial, sexual, and religious warfare....

Title : Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels
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ISBN : 9780615586106
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 242 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels Reviews

  • Black Freethinkers
    2019-02-27 16:03

    Godless Americana is definitely a MUST READ!Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson is masterful at presenting the facts, precept upon precept, of secular social justice, white supremacy, patriarchy, heterosexism, capitalism, economic injustice, and global imperialism.Dr. Hutchinson expertly dissects the dismantling of the American public education system, the school to prison piepline, and the failure of charter schools. Dr. Hutchinson's Women's Leadership Project (WLP) is a fine example of feminist civic engagement and mentoring that was typically not afforded to young women of color.American fascism, exceptionalism and xenophobia is challenged directly with no apologies. While many shirk from addressing these issues, Dr. Hutchinson relentlessly gives us examples of the impact of these institutionalized policies that have been put in place. She gives hard facts about how the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), GI Bill, and Public Policy directly affected people of color to create and perpetuate our current wealth gap.Dr. Hutchinson's and Black Skeptics Los Angeles dedication to youth of color is admirable. The "First in the Family" scholarship for undocumented, LGBTQ, homeless, and foster care youth is geared toward students of under served and underrepresented students. The motivation behind this scholarship program is discussed in detail.Godless Americana directly complements "Moral Combat," Dr. Hutchinson's other brilliantly written book discussing black atheists and gender politics. They are both truly 'must reads' and I implore you to purchase them.

  • Tamara Harris
    2019-03-05 23:16

    Black people are not a monolith. We are not the same in the way we live, the way we love or the way we worship. In fact, quiet as it’s kept; many of us don’t worship at all. Increasingly, African Americans, along with other people of color, are turning away from religious dogma and the oppressions—including sexism, racism, classism and homophobia—it can abet. Much credit has been given to the church for its role in civil rights movements. In Godless Americana, Sikivu Hutchinson examines the flip side—the role of religion in helping to maintain systemic oppression and the status quo in America. As in her book, Moral Combat, Hutchinson lays out her case in righteous, accessible prose. She tackles a weighty and controversial topic in a way that is pleasure to read, as well convincing.

  • Book
    2019-03-01 15:50

    Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels by Sikivu Hutchinson“Godless Americana" is an eye-opening passionate critique of the current socioeconomic struggle faced by people of color. It also exposes the role white Christian nationalism has in vilifying urban communities. It's a quest for how Humanism can be relevant to such communities. You may not agree with everything Dr. Hutchinson has to offer but we can no longer afford to be uninformed of the circumstances that have negatively and unfairly defined people of color. This revealing and at times uncomfortable 234-page book is composed of the following seven chapters: 1. American Terror, 2. God’s Body, Science’s Brain, 3. Straight to Hell: Christian Fascism and Americana, 4. White Picket Fences, White Innocence, 5. Prayer Warriors and Freethinkers, 6. Seeing Things, and 7. Ungrateful Dead. Positives:1. Well researched, and ardent prose. Dr. Hutchinson has a way with words. 2. Fascinating topic in the hands of a keen observer.3. Dr. Hutchinson brings it! This is a book of social criticism backed by substantive arguments.4. Discusses her important role of empowering young women with tools to become critical observers of society.5. Mentions many books and makes many interesting pop-culture references.6. Understanding white privilege. "But white privilege means never having to be in an environment in which whites are the racial others, and secularism means more than freedom from religion. It means never having to be conscious that the black and brown hotel “help” outnumber the paying participants of color at plush academic conferences."7. Fair and even-handed treatment of religious organizations. "In some instances, faith communities have been far more proactive in creating safe cultural and social spaces for LGBT people of color." Does a wonderful job of explaining why faith-based organizations are so invested in communities of color.8. Thought-provoking questions made throughout the book. Many times I found myself more intrigued by the questions than the answers. "If heaven is such a paradise, a land of milk, honey, and godly blessings, why defer the everlasting?" 9. Race relations discussed. "Women of color have never had the luxury of looking down on white women from pedestals or plantation houses." Uncomfortably enlightening. "10. The paradox for African American non-believers. Fascinating stuff!11. Politics and race. "Much of GOP presidential primary messaging about work—from Newt Gingrich’s racist slurs about blacks waiting for food stamps, to Rick Santorum’s “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money” comment—evoked the myth of black welfare dependency and white industriousness."12. Science and race. "Graves (the first African American to have earned a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology) is in an elite group of internationally-renowned African American scientists who have struggled with entrenched institutional racism in academia." Also debunks some myths.13. Education and race. " In 1999, students from the Inglewood Unified School District in Los Angeles successfully sued to get more AP courses at their schools. The suit charged that black and Latino students were systematically denied access to college preparation courses that were standard fare at white schools in Los Angeles County."14. Christian fascism exposed. "Early colonial law prohibiting the enslavement of Christians presented the white ruling class with a quandary: If black “heathens” converted to Christianity then their enslavement was unlawful. So how could good Christians justify enslaving their brethren? When blacks converted, the colonists simply moved the goal post. Thus, “in 1639, Maryland became the first colony to specifically state that baptism as a Christian did not make a slave a free person.”15. Enlightening look at sexuality. "Official history denies women of color the right to narrate their own stories. Their bodies become re-territorialized as a result of racist sexist assumptions about black women. There is no space for anger, vengeance or public airing of sexual terrorism; only shame, forbearance, steely caricatured strength, and silent suffering. For women of color, this burden is intensified by the presumption of hyper-sexuality and amorality that communities of color often reinforce with uncritical acceptance of, if not reverence for, million dollar-selling hip hop, pop culture, and TV/film artists that promote dehumanizing images of black and Latina women." Wow!16. Abortions, fetal homicide laws...oh my. " Dispossessing black women of their humanity, the new cult of true womanhood puts a bulls-eye squarely on communities of color. This backlash is exemplified by the right wing war against contraception, abortion, and health care for poor and working class families."17. Is critical of religious and freethinking people as they fail to relate the experiences of women of color. Many great examples.18. Great quotes, "In segregated communities of color, prayer has become the last sham gasp of agency, dynamism, and “control” under capitalist neoliberalism. It provides the illusion of action with no commitment to struggle or evidence. It illustrates Mikhail Bakunin’s caveat that “The idea of God implies the abdication of human reason and justice; it is the most decisive negation of human liberty, and necessarily ends in the enslavement of mankind, both in theory and practice…"19. Keen observations. "Contrary to what some atheists believe, the need for religion will not simply evaporate when the masses get a steady diet of reason, science, and logic. Religious belief will not recede by lecturing people of color or working class whites about how ignorant they are to believe. Unless structural inequality is radically redressed, religious belief amongst disenfranchised peoples, both globally and within the U.S., will continue to thrive." An outstanding point, I couldn't agree more.20. The value of life. W.E.B. DuBois makes some very astute observations.21. Dr. Hutchinson completes her enlightening book with a heartfelt personal story that must only be read. 22. Endnotes and a formal bibliography.Negatives:1. Endnotes not linked in the digital version. Amazon please address.2. Charts and tables would have made understanding the economic divide much clearer.3. This book is unrelenting. I would have probably advised a positive chapter on the progress and accomplishments of her students and or organizations Dr. Hutchinson is affiliated with. Something of a lighter nature to break up the overall intensity of the book.4. I'm a capitalist. I think that the problem with capitalism is that it has been bastardized by those in power. Eliot Spitzer provides an excellent book on how to protect our capitalism. One of the reasons religion has flourished in America is because it is one of the best business models ever conceived. Where else can you blame your customers for their shortcomings and tax-free to boot.In summary, this is an eye-opening book. Dr. Hutchinson provides readers with keen insight into the struggles of people of color and in particular women of color. It's an uncomfortable journey into a world where most Americans are unfamiliar with but it's a voice that desperately needs to be heard. This is a very powerful book that is unrelenting, informative and eye-opening. This book will help readers see the world from a different perspective, it did for me. I highly recommend it! Further recommendations: "Moral Combat" by the same author, "Protecting Capitalism" by Eliot Spitzer, "Saving Our Science" by Ainissa Ramirez, "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, "Why Are You Atheists so Angry?" by Greta Christina, “Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know About Our Biological Diversity by Guy P. Harrison, "Age of Greed" by Jeff Madrick, "Attack of the Theocrats! by Sean Faircloth, "Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism" by Susan Jacoby, “Doubt” by Jennifer Hecht, “American Fascists” by Chris Hedges, and "Man Made God: A Collection of Essays" by Barbara G. Walker.

  • Alyson Miers
    2019-03-23 20:01

    Friends, countryfolk, students of secularism, direct your attention this way, please. Grab your lined notebooks and pens and take a seat facing the board. It is time for the lessons you didn't get in high school, or for that matter in college. Sikivu Hutchinson's new book, Godless Americana, will offer you the history, sociology, psychology and social studies you've been missing while asking why black people in America are so invested in the supposed religion of their oppressors. Buckle your seatbelts and keep your hands inside the car, because you will travel a very long way in a short period of time.As we have come to expect from Dr. Hutchinson, there are no sacred cows, no privilege unexamined, no prejudice left unexposed. She stands in the middle of a set of groups which encompass practically everyone in America, emphatically including several groups which count her as a member, and she calls them all out on their inequality-perpetuating shit. If you've followed the politics within the atheist movement at all in the past couple of years, you've probably noticed that even a mild criticism of the behavior of some elements in the movement will open you up to an avalanche of shit raining down on your undefended head. Godless Americana is the honey badger of intra-atheism politics, because if you are under the impression that Dr. Hutchinson and her book give the slightest fuck about the Shit Avalanche, you will soon discover that you are mistaken.Dominant American society is full of white supremacism and patriarchy, the black community is shot through with patriarchy and heterosexism, the mainstream feminist movement is soaking in racism and classism, and the mainstream atheist movement is generously laden with the baggage of patriarchy, white supremacism and classism thanks to its roots in the emphatically inegalitarian culture that enabled its development. These issues are all related in keeping black and Latina women heavily invested in Christianity.Of particular relevance to mainstream (white) atheist culture is Hutchinson's exploration of a syndrome known as scientism. This is a word that tends to make atheist brains (including my own) shut down as soon as we hear it from the mouth of a religious apologist, but I urge my fellow white secularists not to let this turn them off the book. For the purposes of this review, I will draw a distinction between small-s science, as a system of investigation, and big-s Science, as a cultural institution and body of acquired knowledge. Scientism implies not an appreciation for the former, but an overreliance and unquestioning trust of the latter, without concern for its long history of unethical and abusive experimentation on marginalized people whose descendants are now understandably mistrustful of the representatives of Science. While science is a self-correcting system, scientists are only human and their work takes cues from the system of inequalities in which they grew up. For a concrete example of the problems with atheism's enthusiasm for Science, Dr. Hutchinson surmises that if Science were to take on the question of why so many African-Americans are incarcerated, it would conclude that blacks are a deviant race and must be socially engineered. The efficacy of using hypothesis, experiment and evidence to answer a question is a separate issue from the actions of scientists, and that tension between ideal and practice has made Science a problematic institution for many African-Americans, especially women, who bore the brunt of Science's disregard for informed consent and human dignity.The main theme running throughout Godless Americana is that while investment in theistic religion is erroneous and itself a driving force in many social problems, the fact remains that secular society is inadequate to meet the needs of many African-Americans and Latinos, which is why these groups are so much more invested in Christianity than whites. It is in answer to the question of how atheism can become more diverse and relevant that it is in the atheist movement's interest to focus more on social justice issues, particularly those concerned with poverty, incarceration and sexual violence, and less on church-state separation. It is also because addressing these inequalities is the right thing to do. If the atheist/skeptic/humanist movement wants to do good in the world, then it must take interest in the concerns of people outside of those who are already educated in physical sciences and can afford to attend conferences. If you find yourself tearing your skeptical hair out over the question of how the movement can attract more people of minority racial groups, and/or attract more women---and these are not separate and discrete groups---then a great place to start is to read Godless Americana. It's a much better deal than paying for all those history and sociology classes, but be careful about reading it on mass transit: you might miss your stop.

  • Stephen
    2019-02-28 16:56

    In this follow-up to her excellent book Moral Combat, Sikivu Hutchinson leaves no political stone unturned and no sacred cow unscathed. From the white nationalist shenanigans of the Religious Right to the delusion of American exceptionalism and neo-liberal assaults on public education, Hutchinson gives us a bracing and provocative vision of humanism that puts the half-baked "We are the World-isms" of most humanist books to shame. I was especially intrigued by her dissection of “mainstream” (yes we can call it that now) atheist movement gyrations about diversity and colorblindness. She has a whole chapter that blasts the white atheist love affair with the ideal of infallible science—an ideal that is conveniently shorn of Western science’s colonialist history and present. She also zeroes in on the shameful lack of science literacy and opportunity provided youth of color in our public school systems, and condemns the way these youth are criminalized and shut out of the college prep curriculum many white students take for granted. Other chapters focus on the appalling racial wealth gap and its implications for the upward mobility of people of color in a so-called post-racial nation. None of the major atheist books I’ve read seem to notice or care that this factor drives the dominance of faith institutions in inner city communities that have been ravaged by the decline of manufacturing. By taking on the sacred ideal of American “everybody in the world wants to be like us” exceptionalism from an atheist perspective, “Godless” is a groundbreaking commentary on racial injustice and economic inequality.

  • Diane
    2019-03-24 15:47

    Sikivu's Americana will have you musing at the space contemporary cultural characters like Honey Boo Boo occupy and in the next breathe, have you ponder the true intentions and operative strategies of political heavy weights such as Newt Gingrich.Godless Americana is a thoughtful and beautifully written book on the broader cultural climate people of color live in. It is also, at the same time, the lens from which people of color see through. This book is the articulation of complicated daily negotiations and all too common clashes/ indignities people of color are subject to as citizens that are pathologized and marginalized by a dominate culture. Sikivu's book premieres on the heels of a sixteen year-old African-American girl who has been charged with two felonies for conducting science experiments where no one was hurt and no property damage occurred.Sikivu: Thank you for taking the time to include the often overlooked experiences of Latinos in United States. I really appreciated the connections you illustrate between Black and Brown communities.

  • Bryan
    2019-03-17 23:10

    Sikivu Hutchinson's latest critical assault on unreason, intolerance, ignorance, and injustice in America is just as viscerally hard-hitting and intellectually satisfying as her 2011 effort, "Moral Combat". "Godless Americana" picks up where "Moral Combat" leaves off, shifting the analytic focus from Black Christian culture to White Christian, but maintaining the theme of the necessity of grass-roots culturally relevant humanism to effect social change in America. Dr Hutchinson's superb research once again embellishes her critiques of the institutionalized racial, sexual, and religious mythologies that have stymied cultural and social progress in this country since before its' founding.Anyone claiming to be human in America needs to read her work....and act on it.

  • Bakari
    2019-03-02 23:10

    Provides a much needed analysis about atheism, race, gender, and class inequality. Hutchinson: "Contrary to what some atheists believe, the need for religion will not simply evaporate when the masses get a steady diet of reason, science, and logic....Unless structural inequality is radically redressed, religious belief amongst the disenfranchised peoples, both globally and within the US, will continue to thrive." This is to me one the main points of the book, and it is why Hutchinson's should be read just as much as Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens.

  • Kamela
    2019-03-08 23:02

    Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels is a pointed and necessary resource for both public and academic discourses to better understand the experience of secular people of color forging visibility in the battle of social justice. Secular activists of color are rendered invisible and improbable within the community politics of religious institutions and predominately white humanist and secular institutions. These institutions response to secular activism among people of color contributes to an American consciousness which mythologizes authenticity and denies the complexities of the human condition. The measure of a sole authentic story is mired in notions of religious practice, racial stereotypes, intra-racial conflicts over a recognizable racial self, gender discrimination, and white privilege. Hutchinson’s accounts of secular activists catalyzing grassroots humanist movements’ counters American solace in oppressive definitions of what a person of color believes. An accessible analysis, surveys and interviews are some of the research methods utilized to animate markers of race, identity, and non-belief. Engaged scholar Sikivu Hutchinson expertly traverses cultural, religious, gender, and racial landmines to make visible the experiences of women, high school girls, and men who are, or, have the potential of becoming secular activists. Historical examples of early African American freethinkers, atheists, agnostics, and first-hand accounts of Latina feminist atheists, for example, present a seldom discussed tradition of people of color and humanism. Godless Americana queries the marginality and invisibility of secularists within communities of color and within mainstream humanist communities by engaging authentic stories of race, gender, activism, and humanism.

  • Peter Mcloughlin
    2019-03-03 18:47

    It has been said the most segregated part of American life is Sunday Services at Church. The same can be said strangely enough about Secularism. Secularism based on enlightenment universality and humanism has a hard time reaching humans of color. Atheist events look a lot like the convening of Mormon elders White, Male, Heterosexual, Affluent, even middle aged. Religion has often been a solace of people of color but it is also a buttress of racism and the capitalist order and reason should be an ally of the oppressed but history can make a mess of all good and bad ideas. This book explores the intersection of secularism, religion, racism, xenophobia, white supremacy, capitalism, science. These many strands of American life have created systems of oppressing poor and people of color. Where is the place of people of color in the enlightenment kingdom of reason? Why do race and religion seem to work sometimes to help but mostly to oppress people without power? What is the role of secular people in making a place for people of color who often feel out of place in secular movements which should be on their side? This is a very knotty tangle. Worth exploring despite the sometimes harsh tone.

  • Marsha Butler
    2019-02-27 18:11

    In her new book, Godless Americana, Sikivu Hutchinson engages us in a relentless examination of the insidious cloak of Christian evangelicalism that threatens to snuff out race, gender, and sexual equality. She skewers the hypocritical Dick-and-Jane mentality of white society, which belie the very morals trumpeted with sanctimonious regularity from pulpits across America. A highly, articulate, singular voice among radical humanists, Dr. Hutchinson’s superlative intellectualism resounds loudly and clearly, expressing an African American, humanist, feminist perspective unparalleled in the depth of its political, social, and psychological insights. Sikivu HutchinsonSikivu HutchinsonGodless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels

  • Noah Wiles
    2019-03-06 21:07

    There are a few points made throughout this book that I currently don't agree with. However, being fully aware of how much I am still ignorant of, this was not a problem for me. It has simply inspired me to continue seeking deeper understandings.On the whole though, this book gave me the same experience as I had with the Carl Sagan book; Demon Haunted World. It was so dense with important information and valuable insights I found myself flagging almost every page as one I needed to be sure to revisit. This is very likely due to the fact that I am fully in the category of those most privileged in our society, and so there was much here for me to learn. Regardless of this, there are many categories of folks who would gain from reading this book. The thoroughness of the research reveals a complex picture that would interest many and that many would learn from.I highly recommend this book to everyone!

  • Sara Sharick
    2019-03-26 22:03

    If you think the phenomena of theism and atheism are just about whether any gods or goddess exist or not, and not about social conditions, read this book, along with Dr. Hutchinson's Moral Combat. You will be irrevocably awakened.

  • Brian
    2019-03-24 20:48

    Excellent book, unsettling to read. Lots of powerful points. I don't think she makes her case cleanly in all areas, but worthwhile reading and thinking about.