Tag Archives: CCSU

….Not Tonight!

By Braxton Gray, aka Word Sword

Source: Tim Wise.com
Source: Tim Wise.com

If ever there was a time in life that the Word-Sword wad wished that he was white, it was defiantly not on this previous Thursday night at Memorial Hall at Central Connecticut State University. What could make me so fearful as to renounce ever sharing that hollowed privilege even for one night? Well, it was on this night that the guest speaker for the Bridging The Gap event, Tim Wise, called white folks to task for crimes (real and imagined) against people of color.

Source: Tim Wise.com
Source: Tim Wise.com

Wise spoke a brand of  truth to a group of people (some of which had either never heard of cared to hear about it) that not only raised their coattails but spanked their asses in a sometimes graphic nature. Wise spoke about racial, gender, and wealth inequalities — such as how and why black people are fearful of the police. The things that  Wise spoke of should be  familiar to readers of these past posts submitted by the Word-Sword. We have been investigating these topics since this blog’s inception: inequality in employment and pay, opportunities in education, choice of residence, inequality in incarceration and arrest, and the list goes on.

Wise spoke for the still heretofore “invisible” men and women (some of whom look like him) who remain voiceless even while shouting because the

Source: Tim Wise.com
Source: Tim Wise.com

privileged have closed their ears.

Wise spoke the words for people such as previous guest speaker and fellow activist, Bishop Selders (who was arrested again today for protesting in Hartford) These people try to get white folks to, as motion picture The Matrix exhorts,  “take the red pill’ and wake up to the , way this country conducts its business. Wake up to the inequality that Donald Trump and the 1 percent don’t and won’t talk about. Wake up to equitable ways to distribute the vast wealth of this land of ours (all of ours from the Native Americans to the newly arrived refugees whom may be of a different religion).

Wise spoke for the Black Women not asked to speak for themselves, for the Black kids receiving a lead “Christmas present” from his local law enforcement “protector.” Wise spoke for the nights and days that lie between now and true equality.

Source: Tim Wise.com

Source: Tim Wise.com

 

 

A Snapchat nation won’t work

black-lives-matter-1By Signe Lambertsen

“Black Lives Matter,” white privilege, income inequality, campus unrest, unemployment rates, drug-related arrests and jail time, are but a few of the topics that guest speaker Tim Wise unfurled at the audience during this year’s CCSU “Bridging the Gap – A Dream Deferred.” The event was the culmination of this past semester where many  CCSU communication classes  focused on (among other things) the above-mentioned topics. Having continuity in the overall subject matter gave us students the opportunity to engage in critical thinking and prolific discussions all across campus.

Wise’s speech lasted over an hour and he then engaged in more than an hour of questions. The time flew by.

Wise began his speech with an admission that, even after his more than 25 years as an activist for racial equality, he, “shows up in these spaces in full recognition that my body fits this aesthetic of being a white, middle-aged male,” often speaking to an audience that is not. “It’s not lost on me that I’m the one standing here. But until we give weight and breathe to a black woman who can say what I am about to, with more validity than I can ever possibly have, we are not free.

Somehow, stating the fact of his “whiteness” allowed us, the audience, to recognize and acknowledge that we also entered this event with our own biases. It seemed to allow us to settle in to his topics without assuming that he was focusing his rhetoric from the point of view of a white male but rather as a well-researched, long-term activist who articulates often difficult subjects nationwide.

Many of his topics revolved around privilege – specifically white privilege. By definition, white privilege is “a set of advantages and/or immunities that white people benefit from on a daily basis beyond those common to all others. White privilege can exist without white people’s conscious knowledge of its presence and it helps to maintain the racial hierarchy in this country.” “The biggest problem with white privilege is the invisibility it maintains to those who benefit from it most. The inability to recognize that many of the advantages whites hold are a direct result of the disadvantages of other people, contributes to the unwillingness of white people, even those who are not overtly racist, to recognize their part in maintaining and benefiting from being white.”

Speaking as a white female and a self-proclaimed anti-racism advocate, I found myself clapping and sometimes cheering as he poignantly wove his rhetoric into a memorable storyline. I took notes of quips that I wanted to look back upon as I continue my own quest of understanding what being “white in the room” means. But over the past few days, as I really started thinking about it, I can’t help but remember how he labeled us “a Snapchat nation, whereby our attention stays focused for about 10 seconds and then is completely forgotten.” That is how we deal with history. Nothing he said is new but, as a white person, I have the privilege to pay attention at will. My goal is to do better than that – for myself, for my children, and for my nation.

Welcome to the Wealth/Income Inequality Blog

IMG_3393On this blog, you can read the work of some incredible CCSU students who are spending the fall of 2015 studying the causes and effects of wealth and income inequality through the prism of race.

Ferguson. North Charleston. Baltimore. None of those places just happened, and none of those places are all that different from New Britain, except perhaps in size.

We hope you learn from our blog. We hope you come back again and again. Mostly, we hope to get a conversation going.

And we hope you’ll consider attending our Bridging the Gap event on Dec. 10, where we’ll have food, activities, and displays of students’ work from the semester, as well as Tim Wise as our keynote speaker.

You can find out more about last year’s event here.

Photo by Spenser Sedorey