American Humanist Society Strips Richard Dawkins of 25-Year-old Award For Comparing Rachel Dolezal to Trans People

Brittany M. Hughes | April 20, 2021

The American Humanist Society has withdrawn an award it bestowed to Richard Dawkins some 25 years ago after the famed evolutionary biologist dared to ask the difference between a man identifying as a woman and a white person identifying as black.

In a tweet that got him no small amount of pushback, Dawkins, a famous British atheist and Oxford scholar who’s become somewhat known for his rather blunt way of phrasing philosophical questions, threw out:

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.

He later attempted to soften his statement by claiming he did “not intend to disparage trans people” or align with "Republican bigots." 

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.

But one should always remember that no matter how many "Republican bigots" one throws under the bus, Cancel Culture comes for everyone. By the time Dawkins attempted to walk back his original statement, the damage was done – at least for the American Humanist Society, which quickly stripped Dawkins of the “Humanist of the Year” award they’d give him all the way back in 1996, saying he was “attacking Black identity” while accusing trans people of being “fraudulent.”

Related: Gay Campground Under Fire For Banning Trans Men

"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 organization said in a statement. "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. His subsequent attempts at clarification are inadequate and convey neither sensitivity nor sincerity."