And he sees this girl who catches his eye. He walks up to her, flirts and asks if he could buy her a drink. She declines. It seems she wants to hang out with her friends and doesn’t want to be bothered. So the man calmly and with a non sarcastic tone says: “Okay. Well, you have a good evening then”. He walks away and continues to enjoy his evening because life moves on and she didn’t owe him a goddamn thing.
Jamila Bey, a 35-year-old journalist, said, “To be black and atheist, in a lot of circles, is to not be black.” She said the story the nation tells of African-Americans’ struggle for civil rights is a Christian one, so African-Americans who reject religion are seen as turning their backs on their history. This feels unfair to Ms. Bey, whose mother is Roman Catholic and whose father is Muslim, because people of different faiths, and some with none, were in the movement. The black church dominated, she said, because it was the one independent black institution allowed under Jim Crow laws, providing free spaces to African-Americans who otherwise faced arrest for congregating in public.
Recognizing the role of churches in the movement, Ms. Bey still takes issue when their work is retold as God’s. “These people were using the church, pulling from its resources, to attack a problem and literally change history. But the story that gets told is, ‘Jesus delivered us,’ ” Ms. Bey said. “Frankly, it was humans who did all the work.”