- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 20, 2021

British evolutionary biologist and famed atheist Richard Dawkins has been stripped of his “Humanist of the Year” award following tweets comparing transgender people to Rachel Dolezal, a White activist who self-identifies as Black.

The American Humanist Association announced in a statement Monday it was withdrawing the award given to Mr. Dawkins in 1996 after it determined he was “no longer deserving of being honored” by the organization.

“Regrettably, Richard Dawkins has over the past several years accumulated a history of making statements that use the guise of scientific discourse to demean marginalized groups, an approach antithetical to humanist values,” the association said.

Mr. Dawkins sparked a backlash on Twitter after he tweeted on April 10: “In 2015, Rachel Dolezal, a white chapter president of NAACP, was vilified for identifying as Black. Some men choose to identify as women, and some women choose to identify as men. You will be vilified if you deny that they literally are what they identify as. Discuss.”

Several hours later, Mr. Dawkins clarified he was asking the question for academic purposes and not stating his own opinion on the matter.

“I do not intend to disparage trans people,” he wrote. “I see that my academic ‘Discuss’ question has been misconstrued as such and I deplore this. It was also not my intent to ally in any way with Republican bigots in US now exploiting this issue.”

The American Humanist Association slammed Mr. Dawkins‘ tweets as insensitive.

“His latest statement implies that the identities of transgender individuals are fraudulent, while also simultaneously attacking Black identity as one that can be assumed when convenient,” the association said in its statement Monday. “His subsequent attempts at clarification are inadequate and convey neither sensitivity nor sincerity.”

Ms. Dolezal, a self-proclaimed Black woman, resigned as president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP in 2015 after it was revealed she was born to White parents. The controversy sparked a national debate on racial identity.

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