Tim Wise: White Like Me Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son



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I borrowed this book from one of the teachers at my daughter s school This teacher also facilitates the diversity series that I had mentioned in my review of The Hate U Give The program will be longer this year and starts in a couple of weeks I am glad that I had a chance to read Wise s book prior to then because there is so much to discussWise is an activist who wrote this book to help white people understand how privileged their lives are versus minorities in America and by doing the right thing when it comes to certain issues such as race they can help make the world a better place He gives numerous examples of how whites don t have to worry about the same thing that blacks do such as being likely to be arrested for possessing drugs or getting pulled over for a traffic violation Wise s book was written prior to all of the police shootings of blacks that have taken place over the past few years which provides a recent example of one thing that whites don t have to worry about or really even think about in this country Wise s book covers additional territory around his first hand experiences working with poor people and presents a stark picture of what really happened in regard to Hurricane Katrina and how unfair it was to blame the African Americans who weren t able to evacuate Wise also examines himself when it comes to race and gives advice to parents on how to help raise children who are informed about the history of our nation and how certain groups of people have been treated Even though I feel pretty in tune when it comes to issues of race class and even gender I found Wise s perspective to be a real eye opener He also ends his book with messages of hope and pragmatism It s pretty simple just do the right thing Here a uote from the book that I love written to Wise by Archbishop Desmond Tutu You do not do the things you do because other people will join you in doing them nor because they will ultimately be successful You do the things you do because you are doing rightYep pretty simple The content of this book is outstanding Wise makes many a good point about whiteness and the privilege it allows for and I did take away a lot of information in reading this book Wise brings up a a lot of great points that I think white people need to hear My problem with this book was the tone Wise assumed the reader was an absolute idiot and he comes off in the book as such a dude such a bro that I had a hard time eeping up with it I loved the content hated the tone And it wasn t that what he was saying was hard for me to hear no A lot of the topics he raised are things I d thought about and have even studied It s just that when I read a book like this I want to put it down feeling inspired not like I was just berated for being born white I understand that he was trying to point out how we re all a little bit racist no matter how hard we try to suash it but someone who s going to pick up his book is generally not going to be someone who needs a lecture about what a jerk they are for being white for 200 pagesWhat turned me off the most was his epilogue on Katrina a 10 page bitch session about how I don t now what really happened there about how I still think race didn t play an issue in the awful events that took place in New Orleans in 2005 His assumptions on my ignorance left me frustrated and annoyed Frankly as I watched the television news coverage in 2005 which Wise complains about for several pages I was well aware that race was an issue I ve seen the newspaper clippings of a black woman holding her child and a loaf of bread with a caption explaining how she was looting and the other newspaper clipping of a white woman doing the exact same thing with a caption explaining she was searching for food With a new preface and updated chapters White Like Me is one part memoir one part polemical essay collection It is a personal examination of the way in which racial privilege shapes the daily lives of white Americans in every realm employment education housing criminal justice and elsewhereUsing storie.

BOOKS BOOK White Like Me Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son By Tim Wise – ecogenlife.org

O provide for her child I get it Race was the bigger issue than the hurricane a fact I new as soon as I saw the news coverage I really didn t need a letter from him explaining it all to me accusing me of sticking my head in the sand or pretending like it wasn t an issue He could have explained it differently without insulting my intelligence OK majorly important book here Let s please take a moment and give Tim Wise the ridiculous amount of respect he deserves for advancing the dialogue on white privilege I want to give this book 5 stars just for its existence I settled on 4 because I don t now if it s a brilliant book but it s without a doubt a provokingly honest book I hope that readers will come away from it as I did not guilt stricken but with a greater sense of empathy and mindfulnessGrounding an exploration of white privilege in his personal narrative is obviously an intentional choice that raises the bar for all of us to examine race and privilege in our own lives And an accessible rather than scholarly text No problem here That being said I felt it sort of went back and forth between treatise on white privilege and this is a memoir so excuse me for a mo It is rare for me to read a book twice I can count those books on one hand I have read this book twice not because I enjoyed it I didn t I read it twice because it is importantBrief autobiographical sketch growing up in Somerville MA way before it was cool to live there I had many black friends By the time I went to junior high school high school then college I had none None of that was on purpose it s just the way it happened While I went to college I learned from my predictably liberal college professors about all the ists and isms of America racism sexism heteronormity misogyny classism you name it Of course I may have learned it all but I promptly forgot it and here s why the nowledge had no applicability in my world It was interesting like Speer knowing the borders of the Late Roman Empire or how a neuron functioned but it wasn t something that I ever had cause to use in my day to day life Everyone Inew was largely like me white working class or middle class heterosexual with a few exceptions and to me normal That s what normal was to me people who looked and spoke and acted and lived as I did Fast forward to the United States Navy where for the first time in my life I was actually with people who were not white Northeastern Catholics I lived worked played and fought in very close uarters with a lot of black people or if you prefer African Americans Sitting in a dark room for twelve hours at a time with nothing to do but talk or living in the very very difficult environment of a deployed warship you get to now each other uite well During those days for the first and only time in my life I had candid discussions about things like race and class I learned a lot My horizons as they say were broadenedThen I forgot all about it Why I came home White Middle class Straight mostly Catholics Friends Family Co workers Normal When I became a teacher in 1999 one of the first classes I had to take was called Diversity and Multiculturalism or something like that You can picture my eye rolling Oh great PC bullshit attitude when I first sat down with my fellow graduate students including the young lady who would later become my wife We went to class for about three weeks before my first day in the Boston Public Schools at Dorchester High School which was about 95% minority that is black Hispanic Asian etc I felt as though I had landed on Mars Everything I had learned about in college everything my black friends had told me about in the military and everything I was currently learning about in my Oh great PC bullshit class was absolutely ass ickingly. S from his own life Tim Wise demonstrates the ways in which racism not only burdens people of color but also benefits in relative terms those who are “white like him” He discusses how racial privilege can harm whites in the long run and make progressive social change less likely He explores the way.

Eye openingly true BAM Welcome to America white boy So when I first read this book a few years back I was startled at how the author s experiences as a white person so closely mirrored my own I had learned but promptly forgot of course about white privilege even as I experienced it every day Even typing those words makes me uncomfortable because I The Ring Of The Dove know how horrifically unpleasant this topic is to discuss White privilege is the benefits you have in our society simply because you are white Without going on and on about it understand that there are enormous piles of shit that you as a white person never ever have to deal with as you go about your daily living Because we do not have to face these things they are invisible Because they are invisible we tend to think that they do not existThey doI was very moved and disturbed after my first reading of White Like Me I thought to myself man I don t have any black friends or even any black acuaintances I live in an all white town my co workers are all white When I take vacations go food shopping eat at a restaurant make a stop at the bank or the library or the movies everyone is largely white I do have a few gay friends and relatives but for the most part that s as diverse as it gets in my world Again none of this happened on purpose It justhappened So of course and you can see where this is going after a little while I forgot Again Sure I have black students and Hispanic students and gay students and disabled students and but there is no relationship there beyond ME TeacherYOU Student Perhaps I am a bitnowledgeable than many of those with whom I work about issues related to poverty and things like that but that s something we deal with as work issues not something personal A few weeks ago a person I admire read and reviewed this book reminding me in my little white bubble that the world as I experience it is not the world that a great many other people experience it I am white educated heterosexual Christian employed insured healthy and live in a town with no crime good schools and a lot of police Normal right Not so much Race and the legacy of our nation s past is the 800 pound elephant in America s living room We ll do anything to avoid talking about it because when we do talk about it it tends to get ugly and mean Perhaps as you are reading this review you feel yourself growing angry or perturbed Perhaps you are thinking about ways to counter what I ve said Feel that snarly dyspeptic wave sweeping over you right now That s what I m talking about and trust me it happens to me too I have no idea what the solution to the problems in our country are with regard to race I do The Lost Literature of Medieval England know from my own experience that as a member of the ruling majority it is easy to ignore the whole thing I alsonow that because of the way my life and work and living arrangements are structured it s not hard to take for granted the many many benefits I have as a white person in America Likewise it is entirely too easy to skip over the problems that many non white people face on a day to day basis I don t see them right They must not be there and even if they arewellpersonal responsibility or some other bromide It is easy on other words to forget Trust me I now I forget all of the timeThis is the part of my review where I am supposed to write But THIS time Oh this time except most likely that would be a lie or perhaps a distortion of the truth Not much changes for me in my world except perhaps my perceptions of it I can only hope and pray that this time I will remember and do what I can when I can for who I can to push back against this giant elephant that s set up shop in my beloved America s living room Because really we don t have forever to figure this out Forgetting has a pric. S in which whites can challenge their unjust privileges and explains in clear and convincing language why it is in the best interest of whites themselves to do so Using anecdotes instead of stale statistics Wise weaves a narrative that is at once readable and yet scholarly analytical and yet accessible.

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti racist writers and activists in the US and has been called the foremost white anti racist intellectual in the nation having spoken in 46 states and on over 300 college campuses including Harvard Stanford Cal Tech and the Law Schools at Yale Columbia Michigan and VanderbiltFrom 1999 to 2003 Wise served as an advisor to the Fisk University Race