Monday, August 21, 2006

Wisdom of the Wise
















Right On, Brother!


I’m always encouraged by white Americans who are audacious enough to publicly and earnestly call their privilege into question. As a result, I’ve become a HUGE fan of anti-racism activist, Tim Wise. Recently (well, admittedly, not THAT recently – I’m a little late to the party) Wise wrote an open letter to Sheriff Jack Strain, the unapologetic bigot who brazenly threatened to harass anyone in St. Tammany Parrish with dreadlocks or “chee-wee” hairstyles. Strain repeatedly discouraged any New Orleanian “trash” from setting up shop in St. Tammany Parish. But, as Wise amusingly points out, Strain needn’t work himself into a lather over “trash” that blows in from the Crescent City because St. Tammany has enough garbage of its own – garbage that isn’t identified by predominantly African-American hairstyles.

Not long ago, I wrote a post celebrating the efforts of an amazing young man and the seemingly limitless potential of human beings. Wise’s article reminds me that there are plenty of awesome people out there speaking, writing, blogging and dialoguing, and who are pretty remarkable in their own right. They deserve to be heard (and read).

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16 Comments:

At 7:40 AM , Blogger Changeseeker said...

Tim is the bomb! Have you read White Like Me: Reflections of a Privileged Son? It came out early last year and I subsequently used it as one of the books for my Racial and Ethnic Relations course. Tim kindly gave my first book (on race) an early read and great review, so I'm holding onto that until I find its niche. :^)

 
At 9:45 AM , Blogger mr jao said...

thanks, i really needed that...

 
At 10:57 AM , Blogger Another Conflict Theorist said...

Changeseeker: I have read White Like Me. I'm just now getting into his book on affirmative action. How many books have you written?

Mr Jao: You're welcome. I think we ALL needed that.

 
At 10:42 PM , Blogger Clifton said...

Mr. Wise would be astonished at the number of people who defended Mr. Strain tooth and nail in St. Tammany.

 
At 7:40 PM , Blogger Another Conflict Theorist said...

Cliff: I'm sure he'd be disappointed but not surprised. He's made confronting racism his life's work. He of all people should know how desperately folks defend privilege.

 
At 4:11 PM , Blogger Clampett said...

"the party) Wise wrote an open letter to Sheriff Jack Strain, the unapologetic bigot who brazenly threatened to harass anyone in St. Tammany Parrish with dreadlocks or “chee-wee” hairstyles."

Isn't that illegal?

I suggest a class-action lawsuit in civil court.

BTW, Tim wise isn't 'white', he's Jewish.

Very interesting considering that Jews are among those oppressed.

 
At 4:06 PM , Anonymous viece said...

That letter was amazing! It is so refreshing to see someone not of color speaking out on issues of color. Sometimes, even though i have very close white friends, I feel very alone in the racism battle. Seeing him put those stats in print is invigorating. I found myself saying "YES!" and "HA!"

 
At 7:36 AM , Blogger Another Conflict Theorist said...

Clampett:
"BTW, Tim wise isn't 'white', he's Jewish."

Wise refers to himself as white. I'd wager that most folks with whom he interacts view him as white and not Jewish.

Viece: I thought the letter was totally refreshing also. He's got plenty more where that came from. Check him out at www.timwise.org

 
At 10:46 AM , Blogger Changeseeker said...

I have finished one (on race) and am working currently on two others (on capitalism and women who didn't act right respectively) besides my blog. None published as yet, but will be, I'm sure, if I just keep doing the next right thing. It's hard to do the marketing while writing, teaching, etc., but it'll come.

 
At 7:55 AM , Blogger Changeseeker said...

Uh, hel-lo? Much as I love Tim Wise, isn't it time to post something else? (And I thought I was slow these days...come on, ACT. If I can do it, I know anybody can.)

 
At 3:52 PM , Blogger Another Conflict Theorist said...

LOL. You're right. Been having a rough time of it lately. I've got something on the horizon - probably this weekend.

 
At 2:50 AM , Blogger Clampett said...

"Wise refers to himself as white. I'd wager that most folks with whom he interacts view him as white and not Jewish."

ever here the phrase 'don't get caught up in appearance'?

Are jews 'white'?

 
At 8:16 AM , Blogger Another Conflict Theorist said...

"ever here the phrase 'don't get caught up in appearance'?

Are jews 'white'?"

This in itself would be a fantastic discussion. Tim Wise considers himself white, so I'd say that he's acknowledging the fact that the overwhelming majority of people who look at him, and other American Jews, see him as a white person.

As for whether or not Jews are white, I would imagine that the majority of them, particularly here in America, both practicing and non, choose the white category on the Census questionnaire.

 
At 11:45 PM , Blogger Mahogany Elle said...

If we could only get him in Michigan, where the nouveau white citizens council is trying to make sure us blackies have no prospects for higher education. For every 10 Ward Connerly-prone folks, we need like 20 Tims. Great post ;)

 
At 12:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

cmon man, i love this site...i've been separated from my computer for a little while and just recently checked back with the site...why no new knowledge?

- Mr. Jao

 
At 12:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and of course by knowledge i meant articles(my b)...i guess just about anything said here is knowledge really...

_Mr Jao

 

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