Tag Archives: Tim Wise

Who’s got the power?

Walmart Spending CycleBy Josh Kimball

It’s funny, because when someone tells you they have been struggling with racism for a long time, you automatically assume that person is someone of color.

Having a white man struggle with racism is downright laughable and that laughable man fighting the tyranny of racism is Tim Wise. This brings into mind the “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” where King discusses his disgust with complacency. King makes it clear there will never be a right time to seek change, that it will always be an inconvenient time. Wise is an example of someone who is not complacent, where millions of Americans – including myself –

find it convenient to just say let’s just wait, things are getting better.

Either you are on the side of justice or not- no neutrality.

Whites fighting for blacks and men fighting for women, this is the only equation for success. Ridding our country of racism will not happen without ridding our country of discrimination in general, that includes discrimination of women. There is a point in everyone’s life where they just can’t take anymore, be that criticism, abuse, discrimination, or serving at the lower end of the pay scale. Everyone knows there is a problem, but no one wants to do anything about it, or if they do, they do not have the tools to go about it.

Wise is white, but he has gained credibility on something that some say he has no right speaking about. This idea of implicit bias is something that every single American citizen struggles with every single day, and it’s not our fault. We have been programmed like R2D2, except our programmer was racism, and unlike most robots we do not realize we are robots. We either choose to act on, but the more we educate people on these embedded flaws the better off we will be.

It’s no secret that the wealthy in our country abuse their powers, yet nothing happens. The majority of Americans agree that things need to change on a political level, yet nothing happens. I discussed lobbyists in an earlier blog and how important limiting their role within the political process would be. There are a lot of people who don’t know what a lobbyist is and or what they do. People complain that policies do not benefit them or anyone else. The sad thing is they are benefiting someone. The people who are benefiting are powerful corporations that had lobbyists inject a bunch of money into political campaigns. Not only do zoning laws separate the wealthy from the poor, so do the amount of opportunities afforded to whites, I mean the wealthy.

Wise brought to the surface the ugly history of white privilege and opportunity. He pointed out the systematic inequalities brought forth by the U.S government that limited the economic well-being of minorities over generations. Many minorities cannot earn a living wage in this country due to decades of limited opportunities still present today. This living wage means enough money to maintain a normal standard of living. As Wise pointed out, Walmart is the biggest redeemer of food stamps for their own employees. Think about that for a second. This means that the company is paying so many of their employees so little that the majority of them are still on government aide. Where are all of Walmart’s profits going, you ask? Six Walton (owners of walmart) heirs have the same collective wealth as 127 million Americans. The Walton family has more combined wealth than the combined wealth of 42 percent of American families. The Waltons have more wealth than almost half of our country. Guess who spends a lot of money swaying politicians?

The teachings of Tim Wise

By Nicolette Johnston

 

Author Tim Wise gives his speech titled "What do White guys know about race and gender?" on Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at Kellogg Center. The speaker series was hosted by the Women's Resource Center. Justin Wan/The State News

Tim Wise is an activist addressing the issues of race and inequality in the United States. His experiences with race started early on, as his parents decided he would attended primary school in which most of his classmates and teachers were people of color.

He was able to realize that although as an individual he did not judge others according to their race, that he had reaped many benefits as a child growing up with white privileges.

He is a strong believer that if we are ever going to address racial issues in our country, we must first accept the idea that those who are “white” often experience advantages due to their race at the expense of others who may be “brown” or “black.

Even with an African American President, there is still a racial divide

1963_march_on_washingtonThere is no doubt that the United States has come a long way from the racial segregation and discrimination in the past, but it still does exist. Tim Wise explains a phenomena called “white privilege.” As a person of color, one would see its affects multiple times a day. However, those who are white have the privilege of ignoring racial issues. Since these issues do not seem to pertain to them, they tend not to acknowledge them. Further, since they benefit from being white, they may not even see the issues in which those of color face on a daily basis.

 “Why do black people run from the police?”imgres-1

Tim Wise explains that if you haven’t had enough personal interaction with black people in order to understand this question one woman asked him, then you are not mature enough to partake in the conversation.

SAD… BUT TRUE.

If he reviews the facts, Wise explains that black Americans are four times more likely to be arrested for drug related offenses such as possession of marijuana. Further, that they are five to nine times more likely to be incarcerated for it.

WHY?

Wise blames these results on the disproportionate implication of drug laws. As more young men acquire records for drug- related offenses and felonies, it makes it harder for them to do the things that those with white privilege have an easier time doing. It takes an effect on their ability to find jobs and housing and to take part in voting. The proclaimed war on drugs has managed to take down entire communities that have high concentrations of colored families while other “white” communities experience the same type of drug- related issues.
imgresThis is the type of SCAPEGOATING that our country is inclined to practice. If we blame others for problems that they didn’t even create, we no longer have to deal with the real issues at hand. Wise finds the inconsistency astounding, as those who are “white” continue to make excuses for the problems they face in our country. For instance, “black people have taken all the jobs.” Yet, “black people are lazy and never want to work.” It makes no sense, but still seems to be a popular opinion of many in the country who just don’t understand their white privilege.

So, where is the EQUALITY?

The United States is a country in which African Americans age 22-27 are 2.25% more like to be out of work. Further, a typical white household headed by a dropout has TWO TIMES the net worth of a household headed by a black graduate.

Racial discrimination and segregation has not disappeared. We cannot be colorblind because in order to fix the issues we face we must be able to see color as well as the advantages and disadvantages that accompany race. Tim Wise explains that although this is a dangerous time, it is also a promising moment to deal with injustices. Only then can we experience a nation in which EVERY HUMAN BEING is considered an EQUAL.

SEE FOR YOURSELF!

WATCH TIM WISE’S DOCUMENTARY “WHITE LIKE ME”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NynTIaCM988

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