Show 328: “911: The Day that Changed Everything?”

“911: The Day that Changed Everything?” w/ Deepa Kumar

It has been 9 years since the terrorist attacks on two cities in the US, that – at least according to the ruling classes – changed the world forever.  Certainly, these passing years have indeed changed the lives of many.  Many lives have been lost, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, American families have lost or welcomed home maimed and distraught young men and women from the Middle East, the American Left has been even more marginalized than before, despite an early, strong resistance to the Iraq invasion back in 2003, and tensions have been drawn between people of differing religions (and the non religious), not the least of these being, of course, Muslims here and abroad.

Every year since 911 – particularly with the vicious and sometimes delusional attacks on President Obama – fear and hatred of Muslims everywhere has grown to dangerous proportions, culminating thus far in a major protest over a  proposed Muslim Center near Ground Zero, to planned Koran burnings in Florida by a Christian Pastor. What is going on here, and can it be stopped before we have a full-fledged disaster on our hands? And can the Left find a voice in these deeply troubling times when those who seem to be heard the loudest – and who have genuine concerns we on the Left share – are taking their cues from the radical right?

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Show 320: Abortion via Racism

Black Women Committing “Womb Lynchings”!?  The Latest LIES from the Anti-Abortion Fundamentalists.

Across Atlanta, ominous billboard ads have appeared with the face of a young Black child and the words, “Endangered Species.”  But rather than objecting to the massive incarceration of Black youth or the rampant police brutality and abuse that confronts them… rather than challenging the decaying inner city school systems or the massive transfer of wealth through foreclosure out of Black families… these ads are targeting Black women!  They are religiously motivated ads that are seeking to equate Black women who choose abortion to the white supremacist slave-owners and lynchers of U.S. history.  They call abortion by Black women, “womb lynchings.”

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Show’s 311: “What’s all the Fuss About? Darwinism and its Discontents”

Two-Part (belated) Darwin Day Special!

“What’s all the Fuss About? Darwinism and its Discontents”

Featuring Dr. Joseph Graves, Jr. and Dr. John Bellamy Foster

As we’ve just bypassed both the 200th anniversary of the great Naturalist Charles Darwin’s birth on February 12th, and the 150th anniversary of perhaps the most influential scientific text of all time – “On the Origin of Species” (11/24/09) –  the humanist and Freethought community in general, and the world at large, has once again grappled with the significance of the scientific theory of evolution via natural selection.

In most of the developed world, and elsewhere, Darwin’s theories have not only been understood and championed, but put to the real tests of understanding not only the origins and complexity of life forms on Earth, but via the treatment of diseases for which evolution’s tenets are absolutely vital.  Still, populations  – usually those where religion still carries great meaning for many people (particularly the Abrahamic religions), including many states in the US – have not only been reluctant to embrace evolutionary science, but have actively fought against the teaching of evolution and it’s very existence.

The strong hold of Creationism in both Christianity and Islam has swayed more people in these areas then Darwinism ever had, and many freethinkers tend to believe the core of these problems lie in the supernaturalism and “scared” texts of which religion is built.  But does there lay a deeper, more systemic reason for the sway of Creationism over Darwinism which scientific advocates fail to, or don’t wish to discuss when combating anti-evolution sentiments and activism?  Indeed, can understanding one of the core reasons Charles Darwin himself sought out the science behind life’s’ diversity – especially with regards to human beings – shed some light on the vehemence aimed at evolutionary theory?

Show 308: Haiti

The eyes of the world are still on Haiti and hearts everywhere are aching. Aid and volunteers have poured in from around the world. And yet, the U.S.’s 12,000 troops have taken over Haiti’s main airport and are turning back much of this aid. An estimated 20,000 people a day died this past week under the rubble for lack of rescue. Surgeries and amputations among survivors were carried out without anesthesia or electricity.

Meanwhile, we are told – through the mainstream media over and over again – of the stories of worship and praise throughout Haiti. It is almost as if we are supposed to believe their suffering is not so great because of their faith. At the same time, Christian fascist Pat Robertson blamed the history of Haitians, who waged the only successful slave revolution in history, for bringing a curse down on themselves and causing their own suffering. As widely denounced as Robertson was, his voice was still treated as legitimate and promoted throughout the mainstream media.

This week on Equal Time for Free Thought Sunsara Taylor and her guests, Carl Dix and Rob Boston, will dig into the real history of Haiti, the dangerous and influential role of fundamentalists like Robertson, and shine a spotlight on the people who are not falling down on their knees and praising god, but waging active resistance both in Haiti and in the U.S. to demand humanitarian aid be let through.

Show 305: On Liberty, Freedom and the Policed Society

On Liberty, Freedom and the Policed Society w/ Author Kristian Williams

Humanism. According to the two documents which outline this philosophy, the Humanist Manefesto’s I & II, the goal of humanism is “a free and universal society in which people voluntarily and intelligently cooperate for the common good.  (A belief) in maximum individual autonomy consonant with social responsibility. (And that) alienating forces should be modified or eradicated and bureaucratic structures should be held to a minimum (because) people are more important than decalogues, rules, proscriptions, or regulations.”

How close are we to attaining these goals in today’s America?  Has capitalism and Jeffersonian democracy (as weak as they may be here in 2009), been able to realize some of these goals?  Any of these goals?  Or have these ideologies led to a society profoundly unable to become free, and indeed – against human nature itself – have found ways through propaganda and brute force to ensure such freedom never exists?

On this special one-hour Equal Time for Freethought, we will chat with author Kristian Williams about these questions, focusing on one of the key methods by which the nations elite “regulate” freedom… the Police.

Show 293: Dr. Joy DeGruy Reacts to Conservative African Americans on Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome.

Belief in Free Will and Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome Denial

The belief that people’s behaviors are freely chosen, and not the result of all of their previous experience, enables some to justify the plight of others and perpetuates blaming victims for being victims.  And although it’s a belief that is contradicted by a mountain of evidence, it remains replete throughout our entire society, primarily inculcated as part of a traditional religious worldview.

This Sunday on Equal Time for Freethought Dr. Joy Degruy, author of “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome,” defends her work against criticism in the recent book by Sana Butler, “Sugar of the Crop: My Journey to Find the Children of Slaves.”  Butler claims that the children of freedmen simply chose to leave their slave experience behind, and that any  problems currently experienced in families who descend from African slaves is just the result of people deciding to not “choose” correctly.

Join us as Dr. DeGruy weighs in on personal choice, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome denial, and recent events in general.

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Show 273: Race & Racism in the 21st Century: A Humanist Approach

Race & Racism in the 21st Century: A Humanist Approach w/ Tim Wise & Joseph Graves

It can be argued that perhaps the key issue which separates the United States from the other 17 world democracies is that this nation was built in no small way on the backs of chattel slavery, an institution which has had an impact not only on the “race” of people whom were enslaved, but the entire sociopolitical structure of the nation itself.  Not only has slavery, and the justification of slavery and domination which we know today as racism, affected the relationships between those of African-Americans and the dominant “race” (Caucasians) – as well as other people of color whose entrance and experiences in this nation, however problematic, were different by the very nature of how they came to be in America – but it has also blurred the line between the powerful and rich and the rest of us who share a class consciousness’ (or who should!)

And now, with the rise of Barack Obama to the most powerful position of power on the planet, many Caucasians – especially conservatives, but many liberals as well – have decided that the U.S. is a post-racial society, and that the only thing that really stands between other African-Americans and their potential Obama-like success is what whites perceive of as a lack of “personal responsibility” on behalf of blacks in America.

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Special Repeat: Dr. Joy Leary on Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome

Dr. Joy Leary on Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome

Dr. Joy Leary is a social scientist and accordingly she takes a causation oriented view of behavior. In contrast to supernatural explanations she recognizes that there are causal determinants which lead people to behave as they do. In the black community this is a viewpoint which is under represented. The vast majority of public discussion by black Americans regarding behaviors by fellow black individuals which create problems for themselves and for those around them is void of social scientific causal frame work. Instead on the left we hear about racism and ongoing oppression by the white majority, and on the right we hear about the need for individual responsibility and the assertion that the blacks who have managed to succeed are proof that the claim that there continues to be racial barriers to success is false.

Leary’s work takes a more comprehensive view both acknowledging the intimate family cultural issues that result in perpetuating pain and suffering while also connecting it to the history that created those family dynamics, as well as the larger social issues which exist today. By reflecting on the challenges which continue to be faced by black Americans through the lens of psychology and sociology, Dr. Leary brings a level of rational analysis into the discussion that is desperately needed yet extremely rare. Rather than condemning white society, rather blaming black individuals, Leary stays clear of the partisanship; and, like a scientist, tries to describe what she observes as accurately as possible and without passing self-righteous judgments, she offers viable explanations for what she observes which are consistent with our best understanding of developmental psychology and various other fields of social science.

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Show 255: Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black People in America from the Civil War to World War II

Sunsara Taylor will speak with Douglas Blackmon about “the lost stories of slaves and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude … and those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking,” as she uncovers the material basis which allowed such to occur (as opposed to some sense of divine working out of things or natural inferiority), and how the psychological burden of not having material explanations for this persisting inequality has had consequences right up to today.

A passage from “Slavery by any other Name“:

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