Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We're not done with it. . .we're just not

I enjoyed an amazing experience attending Tulane University's graduate school back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was a great place to study, to think and to learn. I'll forever be grateful to the university for all that I received.

Several times a year I receive an issue of Tulanian, the alumni magazine. It is always worth reading.

The Winter 2009 issue arrived not long ago. It contained a story about Tim Wise (BA--Political Science 1990).

Wise has become an expert on "white privilege."

His bibliography is growing and he delivers scores of speeches every year on the subject of racism and the continuing reality of white advantage.

To learn more about Wise, visit his website.

To experience him, take the time to watch and listen. You'll be challenged, no matter what you think, I promise.


Dean Smith said...

When Martin Luther King, Jr. opposed racism in America, he, and others, were imprisoned and beaten and abused. When he opposed the Vietnam War, he was wire-tapped, harassed and denounced. But when he opposed poverty, uniting people of all races against a common enemy in a Poor Peoples' Campaign that he was set to lead just a few weeks before his death, he became a threat to the American way of life and was assassinated.

What he understood, more than most, was that racism and war, among other societal ills, were the tools used to maintain economic slavery in America. They still are. The greatest fear of the rich is the realization that we are overwhelmingly outnumbered. We can either share and help others improve their standard of living or maintain the politics of divide and conquer. If white people living in poverty and others struggling to remain in the "middle class" could ever understandd that the greatest prejudice in America is economic. If they understood that the greatest, and growing, gulf in America is not racial, or religious, but economic, things might radically change. It's a gulf maintained, not by reason, but by fear. Jesus had it right when he warned that this gulf of our making could become eternal and we might find ourselves on the wrong side of it when God's rule prevails.

Anonymous said...

I've read White Like Me (twice). It is a very good book. His writing style is very in-your-face, but his words are true and challenging.

anonymous said...

Another great resource is "Lifting the White Veil: An Exploration of White American Culture in a Multiracial Context" by Jeff Hitchcock, which was a very eye-opening read to this upper-middle class white man.

Jeff Warren said...

Thanks, Larry. That was fantastic.

Dean, I've never seen things like you put them in your last sentence --- that we get the gap that we want. That's a very good reading (of, I assume, the parable of the rich man and Lazarus). It's a lot more powerful and subtle than a mere command to care for the poor.