Who is Tim Wise? And thoughts on racism and bigotry in Idaho

Racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Tim Wise is oneof the nation's great fighters against it.

Tim Wise.jpgTimothy Jacob "Tim" Wise (born October 4, 1968) is an American anti-racism activist and writer. Since 1995, he has given speeches at over 600 college campuses across the U.S. He has trained teachers, corporate employees, non-profit organizations and law enforcement officers in methods for addressing and dismantling racism in their institutions.

In White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, 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 ways 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.

In the spirit of anti-racism, below is my follow-up to a story from March 26, 2011.

Simply put, I was asked to leave a party in Boise, Idaho because I am Black. Some people claimed the incident never happened. Here are the details.

A columnist wrote:

About a month ago, a good friend of mine in Boise shared a disturbing and awkward incident he experienced. After being invited with five other friends to a private party, he was turned away after arriving, because he’s black. While there are worse things than being uninvited after arriving at a party, the incident was symptomatic of an underlying insecurity or animus based on race.

As my friend recounted the event, “The underpinnings of unfair discrimination are obvious.” Indeed they are obvious, and they speak volumes about the dearth of character and lack of humanity of the one who objected to his presence. My friend, Michael Strickland, who gave me permission to use his name and relate his experience, elaborated, “Racism is a cancer — it spreads.” Indeed it can, unless we proactively work to curtail it.

I genuinely hope everyone perusing this column is as repulsed by the insensitivity, abject stupidity and classless actions of one person against Michael as I am. I would further hope that each of you forward this column to anyone you know who may manifest similar tendencies to ostracize, diminish or exclude anyone based on something as superficial as physiological differences. Unlike some who harbor a somewhat fatalistic view of racists, presuming that they cannot be changed, I will forever be a believer in the fundamental goodness and teachability of mankind, regardless of socio-economic or cultural shortcomings that have stunted our growth regarding racist behavior.

A further discussion of racism is warranted here. Included below are some of my responses to my critics.

March 27, 2011 at 11:51 am 
The story of how I ended up in such a situation had to do with a highly unusual set of circumstances.
I was out with two friends. We went to another spot to meet one friend’s brother-in-law and his girlfriend. They were with a group of people. One member of the larger group invited “all of us” to a party at the house where he lived.

As it turns out, the inviter was a tenant who lived with relatives. One of those relatives was the one who asked all six of us to leave, and they made it clear why.

The inviter said something about a jail background for a couple of his relatives and he mentioned that they “do the white power thing.”

This incident occurred a couple of weeks in Boise. An Ada County Sherriff’s car was at the scene when we left, talking to one of the owners of the house. Police patrols know who is who and what is going on. Also, a call to their records department produced documentation of a noise compliant there, that night.

So for doubters, we can open up official channels (and the five friends who were asked to leave with me) for verification, if that will be helpful.

And again — ironically — whether anyone believes that this incident happened has absolutley no impact on the message ... There are numerous documented incidents that I am aware of, in the last year alone, that could have been used to write the exact same column.
More info on those is forthcoming.

Thanks to all who are speaking up.

I am glad that police believed the victim who said he was beaten by white supremacists at an Idaho Walmart:
Sept 1, 2010:
BOISE — A federal court has rejected an appeal from an Idaho man who was convicted of a hate crime for beating a black man outside a Nampa Wal-Mart.

And see this from Idahopress.com -
“As the defendants left the store, prosecutors said, they discussed beating the man and made preparations for and attack. Investigators allege that when the man left the store, the suspects threatened him and called him racial slurs, and Bullard asked him what country he thought he was in.”

Celebrities often experience racism:

See: Racism Rears its Ugly head as An Indian-American Woman Wins The Miss America Pageant


    Jennifer Love Hewitt
    Elizabeth Smart
    Demi Moore
    Teresa Giudice
    Amanda Bynes
    Isla Fisher
    Kendra Wilkinson
    Cell phone plans
    Kris Jenner
    Katherine Heigl