So there was this billboard in Pennsylvania put up jointly by the American Atheists and the Pennsylvania Nonbelievers, and I learned all about it from Kylie Sturgess at the Token Skeptic, in her post Is Anyone Else Talking About How Bloody Awful the American Atheists Inc. “Slaves” Harrisburg, PA Billboards Are?
Yes, I’m late to the party, and I know this is all old news now, but my thoughts have finally cohered enough to make my points, and so I am ready to talk about how bloody awful the billboard is and how bad the people defending it look. I will number my points so I stay focused, and I will employ bold font to add an element of design because I’m artsy like that.
In case you don’t want to click a link to read Kylie or the AA’s discussion of the billboard, I’ll just post it here as a picture (lifted from the AA Facebook page), at full size for maximum effect:
1. It is cultural appropriation.
If you are defending this billboard as a “good message” that is doing “important work” and is “not at all racist,” you need to read up on cultural appropriation and maybe you’ll understand why the NAACP and other people are offended when you take key images from someone else’s cultural heritage to serve your own purposes. If you already know all about cultural appropriation and are a cultural appropriation expert but don’t think this qualifies as “someone else’s cultural heritage” or “serving your own purposes,” consider this: