Saturday, October 3, 2009

Check out this article in The Sun about Tim Wise, a white southerner who has made it his life's mission to work toward a more racially just society.

Here's a bit about Tim from the article:
"As a white Southerner, Wise is somewhat unique among antiracism activists. African American scholar Michael Eric Dyson has proclaimed Wise “one of the most brilliant, articulate, and courageous critics of white privilege in the nation.” Over the last decade Wise has spoken at more than four hundred colleges and universities, including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and Columbia. He’s also appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows and has helped train law-enforcement officers, corporate executives, government officials, and journalists to spot racial bias in their work. Wise is the author of four books, including Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections from an Angry White Male and White like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son (both Soft Skull Press). Earlier this year City Lights published his latest, Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial, which debunks the idea that we live in a “postracial society.”
Here's a snippet from the interview that follows:
Cook: What is your response to people who say race is a social construct, an illusion, and that they don’t “see” it?
Wise: It is a biological illusion, but it’s a social fact. There were no witches in Salem in 1692, but women died because people thought there were. There may not be separate races of humanity, but skin color has been given social meaning that affects people’s lives. It’s a sign of privilege for whites to say they are going to view people of color only as people. If I don’t see their race, I’m not going to see their lives as they really are. I’m seeing them as abstract “human beings,” not as people who’ve had certain experiences. I’m going to miss or misunderstand how their experiences have shaped them.
Wise has some pretty interesting perspectives; the whole article is worth a read.


Anonymous said...

I suppose people think they are beyond racism when they state they don't see race. How can you not see someone's browness or whiteness? The texture of their hair or the shape of their facial features? How can you ignore the first sign of someone's cultural experience?

Olugbemisola said...

love this: "If I don’t see their race, I’m not going to see their lives as they really are." thanks for the link!

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