Over at Balancing Jane, a post on what it means to pass as normal in America.
Read it here.
This one struck home to me, because she's talking (partly) about the Christian/Atheist divide, and as an atheist in Arkansas, sometimes I just shut up about the fact that I'm an atheist when I'm teaching, especially with my freshmen students.
For instance, right now in my 1213 class, I have a couple of older returning students who have made comments about essays we've read -- side comments, comments that I felt I could pretend not to hear -- but comments to the effect that the author of the essay was not a reliable source because he or she was an atheist.
(No actual evidence in any of these cases that the writers were atheists, btw. I think what made the students think so was that the writers were clearly scientists and were writing about evolution as factual. Ergo...)
Part of me wanted to challenge the students. To wheel on them and go down their throats, drive them to the wall with the force of my logic.
It would have been totally off topic, for once thing; and for another, another part of me knew/suspected that at this point in the semester (two weeks into the class) if they learned I was an atheist, they would lose all trust in me.
So I exercised one of the most important tools in the professor's toolkit, selective deafness, and pursued other issues.
But it bothers me, because if atheists stay in the closest, as it were, then people like these students, who are decent enough people, continue to believe what they believe: that atheists are monsters, that we have no moral compass, that the only good people are people just like them.
Which -- as we know -- could not be further from the truth.
4 hours ago